River Heights Lawn Bowling Club

Association News

September 26, 2016

There is mention of a River Heights Community Club being organized as early as 1919. In 1935, a new sports venue was built in River Heights for lawn bowling, an extremely popular sport in Winnipeg and Western Canada that had been a part of local organized athletics scene from the late 19th century. This building was planned and built with City of Winnipeg funds and was intended to provide modern, comfortable facilities for the members and visitors of the lawn bowling club. The general designs of these early clubhouses were cottage-like, one-storey structures meant to match the relaxed leisurely activities of the sport. The exterior designs were very modest in order to keep final costs down and minimize the need for repairs and the River Heights clubhouse is an excellent illustration of the style. The building features a superstructure clad in rounded cedar siding except at grade where the plywood walls are exposed. The building is covered with a hipped gable roof.

Lawn bowling was an extremely popular sport throughout Canada in the late 19th century. Its popularity in Winnipeg grew as its population did in the early decades of the 20th century. By the time the River Heights LBC was organized in the early 1930s, there were an estimated 23 clubs operating in the City of Winnipeg and approximately that many more throughout the province. The River Heights Club grew rapidly, with an annual membership of over 150 in the 1960s. Although membership has declined since then, it is still one of Winnipeg’s seven active outdoor lawn bowling facilities. The River Heights Lawn Bowling Club has been an important part of life in the area for over 75 years and is a well known landmark in the neighbourhood. It stands as the oldest and most intact lawn bowling clubhouse in the City of Winnipeg. c. City of Winnipeg Historical Buildings Committee May 2011.