Article by Dr. John Aveline
The V&D has overseen the Sport of Bowls in the Lower Mainland since early 1930's and, despite various vicissitudes over the years continues to be a very capable organizer of bowls as well as being the 3rd largest bowls organization in Canada (only Ontario Bowls and B.C are larger; the V&D, with almost 2,300 bowlers, has more members than any of the other 8 provinces - in fact, over half of the bowlers in BC are in the V&D and about 1 in 6 bowlers in the entire country.
The current Vancouver and District Bowls Association has just turned 80, but the history of district bowls goes back further than that. Sometime in the 1910's the clubs in the lower mainland organized themselves into the Lower Mainland Lawn Bowling Association. This was soon disbanded in 1925 when it considered superfluous. At that time, there were 17 clubs in B.C., 15 of which were in the lower mainland (the only ones outside were Powell River and Victoria. So, the B.C.L.B.A. looked after organized bowls in the Vancouver area. In the intervening 7 years’ bowls exploded throughout the province and by 1932 there were 33 clubs and all the new ones were outside the V&D. It was time for the Vancouver area clubs to look after their own affairs.
As a result, the individual bowls clubs in Vancouver and the surrounding area once again organized themselves into a district and the Vancouver and District Lawn Bowling Association was (re)born. At the time, almost of the clubs were in Vancouver proper. In those days, the table officers consisted of a President, 1st and 2nd Vice Presidents, Secretary/Treasurer and 2 Umpires. There was a succession set up as can be seen by the progression of individuals through the offices. Typically, someone would serve as Umpire for 2 years and then move onto the 2nd Vice, then 1st Vice and, finally, President. In those days and for several decades after, the position of President was more a reward than a task - a privilege you earned for having served and worked on the board for several years. In that first year, there was so much enthusiasm for the V&D that every position was contested by more than one candidate and elections were held until one person had a clear majority.
The V&D also had two working committees; the Match and Social Committee, who organized the V&D events as well as any visits by groups from outside the province, and the Prizes Committee, who arranged the prizes for V&D events. This latter task was bigger than it is now because many of the V&D events were sponsored (The Hudson Bay Rinks & The Birks Singles, for example) and cash prizes were not allowed. Any cash prize would have automatically meant that the recipient was no longer an amateur, but a professional.
You might wonder about the umpires changing so regularly. Were there that many qualified umpires back in the '30's? Actually, there were no qualified umpires - umpire certification did not exist back then. Umpires were elected and the candidates were simply bowlers who had a good knowledge of the Rules of Play. That made a good criterion for serving on the board. You couldn't get on the board until you had bowled long enough to be conversant in the rules.
In 1932 the Vancouver Club (aka Little Mountain) swept all three V&D events; the Men's Singles (Birks), the Men's Pairs (O.B. Allan) and the Men's Fours (Hudson Bay). This was such a remarkable feat that winners went to a studio and had their photos taken for formal framing.
In 1996, the Vancouver Lawn Bowling Association and the Women’s Dogwood Lawn Bowling Association merged to form the present-day Vancouver and District Bowls Association.
V&D Events: A Brief History
Article by Dr. John Aveline
The Vancouver and District has held championship competitions even before the current V&D was in existence. Over time events have come and gone, while some have endured for decades. The following is a brief account of each event.
Men' Fours - Hudson Bay Trophy
Men's Pairs - Thomas Sanderson Trophy
Men's Singles -
Henry Birks Senior Singles Trophy
Senior Men's Fours -
Commodore Recreation Trophy
All senior events were originally open to men 65 years of age or older. This has since changed to 60 years and older (probably in an effort to expand the potential field to help with sagging entries.
Senior Men's Pairs - H.C. LePatourel Trophy
Senior Men's Singles - J. Inglis Trophy
Novice (Semi-Ready) Singles
Women's Fours - Thomas H. Kirk Trophy
Women's Pairs - Sanford J. Crowe Trophy
Women's Singles - Daily Province Trophy