National Bowls Day is a celebration of the sport of bowls that takes place all across Canada. Whether you celebrate with your club members, or your community as a whole, it’s a day dedicated to the great game we all know and love. 

While 2021 is not our typical year thanks to a little thing called “Covid-19”, the resilience shown by Canadian lawn bowlers over the past year is definitely worth celebrating any way we can. 

In the past, successful Bowls Day events have included  fundraising events, tournaments or competitions, while other clubs chose to market their club (and the sport) to the greater community, with an aim to attract new members. Read on for some tips and tricks to best take advantage of National Bowls Day.

Lots of Creative Ideas! 

Since the first National Bowls Day in June 2017, clubs have brought their own creativity and innovation to the celebration. While BCB aims to set clubs up with the tools they need to host and promote their Bowls Day events, the enthusiasm and outside-the-box ideas from clubs have enabled their success.

In-person events

For those whose local health authorities allow face-to-face celebrations, here are some unique ideas based on previous years.

  • Neighbourhood Pancake breakfast & Learn to Bowl activities
  • Bowls, Burgers, & Brew social
  • Family Day with activities for parents and kids! 
  • Invite your local radio station to come on-site with their local promotional games and prizes 
  • Expecting a crowd for future years? Consider hiring a videographer to capture the excitement for a promo video you can use on your  website/Facebook (don’t forget to have your participants sign the Bowls Day media release form)
  • Dress in your favourite sports jersey for the day
  • Dress in red and white for NATIONAL bowls day
  • Chamber of Commerce / service clubs / corporate challenges — invite your local service providers to a friendly challenge amongst themselves
  • While likely not possible for 2021, there are lots of food ideas for future years!
    • BBQs — burgers, hot dogs, sausages, corn on the cob, and more
    • Pig roasts
    • free ice cream  
    • themed beverages  
    • Snacks, snacks and more snacks! 
    • roast beef buffets  
    • birthday cake, breakfast cake, coffee cake…lots of cake! 
  • Put up decorations for an extra special festive atmosphere for your Play & Social leagues, add a theme for the mid-game tea/coffee break   to add to the fun
  • Invite your local dignitaries (Mayors, MPs, etc.) to come down and see the positive impact the club has on the community
  • Invite local children’s groups for a team-building event — Scouts, Brownies, local sport teams, cadets, school bands and more!
  • A local festival lands on the same day?  Have your club event added as an official part of the agenda! 
  • Music makes it a party – are any of your members amateur DJs?  Put together a fun playlist of favourite songs to play throughout the event
  • Neighbours with another sport club?  Consider combining forces and staging a shared event;  Bowls, Croquet, & Tennis = 3 sports in 1!
  • Invite your local media and stage a Media Skills Challenge
  • Hold a regular charity event? Consider changing the date to Bowls Day to maximize your publicity. 

Virtual Events

For those whose restrictions do not allow in-person gatherings or for those dreaded rainy days, here are some fun ideas to celebrate virtually.

  • Online trivia with prizes
  • Virtual cook-off
  • Online pancake breakfast — have a contest for the yummiest looking meal on the screen!
  • Virtual drinks and snacks party with everyone dressed in their favourite club gear or shirt from a past favourite bowls event
  • An online bowls bingo game
  • Online video-submissions of members’ favourite bowls memories that can be shared.
  • Pick Bowls Day for the date of your online volunteer appreciation event
  • Hold a photo contest! Challenge your members to take a “selfie” in their club shirts in an unusual and fun location (abiding by pandemic restrictions of course!) 

Make Your Celebration a Success!

So how do you ensure that your Bowls Day event is successful? We’ve found that it is the out-of-the-box type of events that tend to have the most success. Almost every club holds an Open House every year, and it can be challenging to have it stand out amongst the competition of other community events. If previous years are any indication, those who use Bowls Day as an opportunity to try something new, something different, something exciting, tend to have the most success.  

Don’t forget about your volunteers either! For an extravaganza of bowls-fun, it will likely take a fair amount of effort by your club’s volunteers. In order to make this an annual event, be sure to recognize and reward your hard-working volunteers for their efforts. Whether it’s free food, gift cards, framed certificates, or something else, if you want to have volunteers filling the role next year, make sure you recognize and reward them appropriately!

Share your Success!

Regardless of what you’re able to do, try to think out-of-the-box to get people excited about Bowls Day. If you’re only able to do something virtual this year, let us know so we can share your ideas with other clubs! Leave a comment here, post on social media and tag @BCBBowls or email Bowls Canada at

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