Hall Of Fame Inductee
Inducted into: Player Division in 2007
Paul Shanahan was born in downtown Toronto, one of nine children, seven boys and two girls. Living on George Street, his neighbours, coincidentally, were Hall of Famer Sid Morris and former Ace Bowl owner Cec Ferby, and his boyhood friend was another Hall of Famer, Billy Hoult. Paul attended Duke of York School and went to high school at Jarvis Collegiate, located just south of the mansion that was lived in by 5 pin bowling founder and another Hall of Famer, Tommy Ryan. As a youngster, Paul ushered at the local theater, the Regent, that was located at Queen and Sherbourne Streets and also set pins at the local bowling centers, namely Riverdale, Towne and Karrys.
By 1951, at just 16, Paul started league bowling at Riverdale Lanes which was located on the south west corner of Queen St. at Parliament, and one of many bowling centres in the downtown core. In addition, the centre was owned by Hall of Famer Jim Beeforth, and managed by Archie Wyatt.
Paul loved to bowl. Ultimately it would be Crosstown on Monday night at Ace Bowl, Tuesday and Thursday at Olympia Edward, the Saturday City Majors League, and when Sunday sports were introduced, Paul added another league at Riverdale.
Paul joined the Crosstown League in 1952 and stayed with the league for fifty years. Originally beginning at Ace Bowl on the Danforth, the league moved to Karrys following a fire at the old Ace. The league then relocated to Fallingbrook, the new Ace Bowl on the Golden Mile, Aprile Lanes on Kennedy Road and now it resides at Brimley Bowl in Scarborough.
Paul began bowling in the City Major League in 1953 and a succession of championships and accomplishments soon followed. In 1955, his team from Riverdale won the Class A Open division of the prestigious Ontario Bowling Association team championship. Along with Paul and his brother Doug were Lorne Taylor, John Huether and Hall of Famer Corky Rumsam.
While perfect games weren't sanctioned in those early years, Paul rolled them with regularity at Riverdale Lanes. By the age of 22, in 1957, he already had twelve to his credit. In one memorable sweep, which is a bowling term for playing for money, Paul rolled 380, 450, 450, 400 and 450. Overall, this five game total is 2130, certainly the highest five game total ever recorded.
But record scores were no stranger to Paul. On October 27, 1956, the Riverdale Alleys was the scene of a new world record three game score as Bob Veaudry, Archie Wyatt, Hall of Famer Billy Hoult and the brother team of Doug and Paul Shanahan rolled 1486, 1517 and 1599 for a 4602 triple, the highest ever recorded to that date under the banner of the Canadian Bowling Association.
The City Major League was at its height, especially with the invention of the automatic pinsetter, in 1957. With all the best bowlers in the league, Paul was a member of the Pasquale team and this group won the league championships three times from 1958 to 1961. This team also participated in the opening of several bowling centres on behalf of Brunswick. As well, all events tournaments were extremely popular and Paul was a regular participant. At Allencourt Lanes, he won a triples event with Hall of Famers Helen Richards and George Smith and, in 1961, he won the first ever Bowlerama Match Play. Paul also appeared on CBC television in matches against Lloyd Sabins of Oshawa and Hall of Famer George Smith.
As provincial and national championships were now organizing, Paul began the qualifying process in 1962. His best showing was 1968, when the Toronto men's team won provincially and contested the national finals, actually bowled under two counts, the old with the counter pin and the proposed new count which eliminated the infamous "blow" pin. Unfortunately, the team lost to British Columbia.
Paul continued in league play until 2002, when he retired from the Crosstown League after fifty years. This action was necessitated more than anything by a move to Milton, Ontario and the drive to Brimley Bowl was not practical. Also in 1967, Paul met Audrey Young and they married in 1975. Together, they bowled at Olympia Edward where Paul averaged over 280 for eight consecutive years. As well, she witnessed his last perfect game, on November 26, 1997, at Streetsville Bowl, the thirteenth of his career.
As Paul is inducted into the Players Division of the Hall of Fame, his achievements have certainly been legendary as they have covered more than half a century.