Canada's largest classic pinball arcade opens in Cornwall, Prince Edward Island |  Salt Wire

Canada’s largest classic pinball arcade opens in Cornwall, Prince Edward Island | Salt Wire

Cornwall, Prince Edward Island – In September 2019, Seven Graylands and his partner sat in their new home without heating, personal belongings or furniture.

The couple had just made the two-week trip from Mission, BC, after selling their home and moving to PEI

Their personal belongings, loaded into three shipping containers, ran about two weeks behind them, leaving only their clothes, cats and a small Boler trailer strapped to the back of their truck.

“We didn’t have a bed or anything, so we camped at home,” Graylands said. “We bought an air mattress, we bought some heaters, and we used paper plates. It was minimalistic, and it was really fun. I mean there were some really cold nights, but it was part of the adventure.”

Despite a rocky start to their life on the island, Graylands’ optimism about moving to PEI has not quelled as he moved to the island with a mission in mind – to open Canada’s largest pinball arcade, Seven’s Pinballorama.

“We’ve come to the conclusion that PEI is probably a good place for big pinball arcades because, as far as I know, there’s no public PEI pinball,” Graylands said.

“I have a really unique set of games, not the standard kind of new Stern machines. They each have unique things going on with them that pinball players find particularly interesting, but for your average player who doesn’t know much about pinball, there is enough here to keep them interested. “.

Located in the North River neighborhood of Cornwall, Seven’s Pinballorama will feature 40-50 classic pinball machines from the 1930s to the 1990s.

Seven Graylands, owner of Seven's Pinballorama, says he is looking for unique and exotic machines with different items and obstacles on popular and valuable machines.  He says his collection of pinball is currently around 74-76 machines.  - Cody McKeachern
Seven Graylands, owner of Seven’s Pinballorama, says he is looking for unique and exotic machines with different items and obstacles on popular and valuable machines. He says his collection of pinball is currently around 74-76 machines. – Cody McKeachern

The idea is formed

Graylands has always had an interest in video game machines, but the idea to create a classic arcade pinball came about after the opening of a new pinball retail store in Mission, he said.

“We were all excited because we saw them moving these machines and we thought it was an arcade,” Graylands said.

“We were looking at these new machines, and I’m thinking, I never thought of owning a pinball machine. Maybe that’s kind of cool, but their cheapest machines were like three thousand. So, I thought no, I wouldn’t pay three thousand for something I don’t know if I was going to play next week.”

Instead, Graylands began searching for Kijiji and quickly found a cheap machine – a 1987 Hardbody pinball for $800.

“We played shit out of it. And then, a few months later, I got a second one and then a third. In the end, I had about eight,” Graylands said.

“I just ended up meeting up with a bunch of local folks at a game of pinball. They really liked my set because it was so unique and had all these different things. So at that point I was, well, if people like pinball, screw it up, we’ll buy Only the machines and we open an arcade.”

Seven Graylands, owner of Seven's Pinballorama, says that in addition to collecting machines, he repairs and paints them.  Some paint repairs require minor touch-ups, while others, such as the one shown in the photo, require a complete paint overhaul.  - Cody McKeachern
Seven Graylands, owner of Seven’s Pinballorama, says that in addition to collecting machines, he repairs and paints them. Some paint repairs require minor touch-ups, while others, such as the one shown in the photo, require a complete paint overhaul. – Cody McKeachern

Graylands found a site to open his new arcade, but when he was about to sign the lease, a new bylaw was passed, banning the arcades in Mission.

No longer able to open his arcade, and yearning for a change of pace of life, Graylands and his partner begin to contemplate a move, which is when PEI was born.

“My friend, she is a master of literature and used to come to PEI every two years for the LM Montgomery Conference and Talks,” he said.

“The last time I went I was able to work it out so I could come with her. I just spent three days driving around the island in a rental car and checking in. We met back in the room one night and I said, ‘Yeah, if you want to move let’s do it. “.


“We have concluded that PEI is probably a good place for big card games and pinball because, as far as I know, there is no public pinball game on PEI.” – Seven Graylands


The opening of the lanes on PEI also came with its own challenges, mostly due to COVID-19, which has delayed the project for more than two years. However, in February, after talks began about reopening the island to travel and tourists, Grayland said it was a good time to try again.

“I started searching in February for spaces and found a couple of really great spaces, but there were issues with them, like no bathrooms etc,” he said.

In the end, though, he came across a listing for former dining room space at the location of Pizza and Donair Hub Cornwall.

“Before COVID-19, we were having parties there, people were booking the entire place for parties, events and things like that,” said Depancho Garg, co-owner of Pizza and Donair Hub. “But once COVID-19 hit, dining was shut down and people changed from takeout to fast food and delivery.”

Garg said keeping the dining room closed meant they didn’t need that many staff and could focus more on takeout and delivery orders, so they closed it permanently.

He said they still have a smaller dining room, which they will keep open because they are expecting a busy summer.

“We will keep it because from what I can see, Pinballorama, it will be busy because it is such a unique thing. People are excited about it,” he said.

Graylands and Garg both said they look forward to a potential collaboration between the companies. Graylands said what it looks like isn’t clear at the moment, but it could mean special offers or a game listing.

As summer approaches, Graylands is rushing to finish some of the remaining projects and renovations in the driveway space before holding a slight opening near mid-June.

He said the arcade will run on a pay-to-entry system, costing $15 for two hours of gameplay on all available devices; However, the first few weeks of opening it will probably be cheaper to help it work out kinks with the machines.

Since the games were announced online, Graylands said reception from local residents has been positive.

“Everyone I just spoke to was excited,” he said.

“One guy was here the other day, she looked inside and saw the machines being installed. She was trying to trace a certain address down. She said she found them in the states, but they were expensive and shipping difficult.”

“I asked her what the machine was, and she was so excited to find out that I actually owned this machine.”

Cody McEachern is a business reporter for the Salt Wire Network in Prince Edward Island. Tweet embed



2022-06-06 11:07:58

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