Whitehorse's only bowling alley is revamped and ready to roll

Five years ago, Whitehorse's only bowling alley faced an uncertain future.

The well-aged Mad Trapper Alleys in Riverdale was in a state of disrepair. The shoes were ripped and tattered, the lanes uneven and the paint in need of a new coat or two.

Owner Steve Kwok was tired. After 15 years at the helm, he had no interest in fixing things up and was ready to close the doors forever.

Now, though, the business has undergone a complete renovation.

"We were looking for a miracle and we found that miracle" - Steve Kwok, owner of Northern Lights Bowling


New lanes have been installed, new balls ordered and new shoes shined.

The lanes even have a new name, and this Friday the doors open on Northern Lights Bowling and a new era of bowling in Whitehorse.

CBC/George Maratos

"We were waiting for a miracle and a miracle happened," said Kwok. "I didn't win the lottery but I did find two new partners from China that were interested in bowling and living in Canada.

"I told them, 'if you guys want it, you have to for the whole nine yards, because I've run out of Band-Aid solutions.'" 

Kwok admits he never wanted to close the bowling alley in the first place. After all, he met his wife at a bowling alley, and watched his son fall in love with the sport and finish second at the national championships one year.

He also mentions the countless people who frequented the bowling alley over the years. 

CBC/George Maratos

"It's the only one in Whitehorse and I've put so much sweat and blood in the alley and I'm attached to it," said Kwok. "It's just like another child, it's so hard to give it up."

Before agreeing to the extensive renovation, Kwok had to make his wife a promise.

"I told her I won't spend as much time at the alley, that will be the job of the new partners," said Kwok. "I'm just going to help them out."

Word of the revamped bowling alley has already created a buzz in town, despite not being open yet. The mayor even dropped by for a sneak peek.

"So many people are happy ... when I tell them the lanes are opening, a big smile comes to their face," said Kwok.

"That makes me smile. I've lived in the Yukon for 40 years and it's nice to know this will be around for a long time."

CBC/George Maratos