-by Linda Stinson

Tucked away on a quiet street in the former Brooke part of Owen Sound, is the city's only lawn bowling green still in use. Several evenings a week, members of Roselawn Bowling Club gather to play a game or two of bowls. Neighbours and passers-by can hear the shouts, laughter, or groans as a great shot is made, or missed.

The game has similarities to curling, bocce ball, and alley bowling. The bowls used are not completely round but elliptical, and are weighted to give them a bias or a curving path. The object of the game is to roll the bowl as close as possible to a smaller white ball called the "jack". One bowler can play individually against another player or in teams of 2, 3 or 4. The game is played outdoors on short grass (similar grass to a putting green), with the lawn or green being divided into several rinks.

Many Owen Sounders will remembe rthe St. George's Lawn Bowling Club that was behind St. George's church, near Strathcona school. The club, founded in 1903, was closed after fire destroyed the clubhouse in the late 1990's. The Roselawn club has been around for almost as long, and is celebrating its 95th anniversary this year.

Originally called the Owen Sound North Lawn Bowling Club, it started out in 1920 as 2 rinks on the north side of R. J. Layton's store at the the corner of 4th Avenue West and 18th Street. From the beginning, the club accepted female members, which was unique in those days. Two years later, the club purchased the current property at 1555 5th Avenue West and built the new green. The current clubhouse was built in 1928; at that time the club boasted over 100 men and 70 women as members. The name was changes to Owen Sound Roselawn Bowling club in 1940.

The number of members is much smaller today; however, enthusiasm for the game is evident to those who come to watch. The game is suitable for all ages and current members range in age from their 20's to their 80's. An annual membership costs about the same as a couple rounds of golf, and new members get a discount. A Junior membership for those 18 and under is also available.

The club is inviting the public to come and join them on Saturday, July 4 between 12:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Watch bowlers participate in a "jitney" (an ad hoc game), or get a free lesson and try it yourself. Children welcome. Hot dogs, cake and ice cream, and beverages will be available for 95 cents each.

For more information, call 519-416-6747 or visit"