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A ‘Sign’ of the Past Preserved: The Ridge Bowling Pin

I can clearly remember attending birthday parties at the Varsity Ridge Bowl… The leather bowling shoes, the popcorn I would snack on, the blasting music – it was a party to any kid that got to step inside and master the lanes.

I can’t say that I was a ‘striker’ by any means, but I can say for certain that The Ridge was a place that brought good times to kids, families, and people from Vancouver for over thirty years.

Driving up to The Ridge was unmistakable because of the incredible sign atop this ever-so-retro building… With the letters in neon green spelling BOWL gracing a giant white bowling pin adorned with two red stripes, your location was obvious…. the thunder of the lanes roared.

This vintage 1952 sign towers overhead at 15 feet, and was made by the Wallace Neon sign company, one of the earliest manufacturers of neon signage. The same company would maintain the sign, repainting the pin, and servicing it periodically.

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Vancouver is a city of much development and change, as we know – and The Ridge is being demolished in order to make way for condominiums. Of course there are some mixed feelings regarding this decision; however, in exciting news – we’ve got the bowling pin!

Eric Cohen, owner of RENEW Gallery (and collector of all things extraordinary) has had his eye on this pin for some time, “It’s just such a cool piece of Vancouver’s history… I’ve probably driven by that pin hundreds of times, taken my kids to birthday parties there… I knew this object had to be preserved and enjoyed… what a great sign.”

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The bowling pin has already found it’s ‘forever home’ as a private collector has purchased it – and they are as crazy about the sign as we are. Though the massive bowling pin is no easy task to move – it has required both a crane and a flatbed truck to take down and transport it, weighing in at approximately 2.5 tons.

Who knows…maybe you’ll have a lucky strike and end up driving by the bowling pin’s new home, in the outdoor gardens of one of Vancouver’s historic streets…

For now – here is some exciting footage of the ‘pin’ being taken off the roof.