DECA’s Newest Pop-Up Shop is an Escape Game

Christine Hibbard, owner of  Looking Glass Adventures, DECA's latest "escape room" pop-up that's opening Aug 1 at 2200 Danforth Ave.
Christine Hibbard, owner of Looking Glass Adventures, DECA’s latest “escape game” pop-up that’s opening Aug 1 at 2200 Danforth Ave.

From guest blogger Tina Scherz:

Looking Glass Adventures is DECA’s latest pop-up shop set to open Aug 1st. But if you’re excited to visit this new store, we have a little twist for you: you’ll have to make an appointment. The first of its kind along Danforth Ave, Looking Glass Adventures is an escape game where participants must solve a series of clues and puzzles to unlock the door. It’s a real life adventure game right in our hood!

Located in the basement of Bell’s Martial Arts at 2200 Danforth Ave, Christine Hibbard and her team have been busy renovating, setting up the game and getting everything ready  — all behind closed doors. Details of the set-up have been kept under wraps, so as not to reveal too much.

Christine only recently discovered the phenomenon that is escape games, visiting her first one in February with a friend. She quickly became hooked and has since participated in games across the city. She knew she wanted to bring the experience closer to home, having lived in the neighbourhood for 20 years, and she committed to finding a space along Danforth Ave.

Her persistence paid off: the pop-up shop project was thrilled to introduce Christine to Tristan Bell of Bell’s Martial Arts, who had an empty basement he wanted to fill, and as an added bonus, he got the concept.  “Tristan has been so amazing, while I had to explain the business plan to many property owners, Tristan is a puzzle/game guy, he was onboard right away,” Christine says. “He’s even put up with my drywall dust.”

So you might be asking yourself: what’s involved in an escape room game? Participants have 60 minutes to escape from the presented scenario (in this case a locked room.) If locking yourself in a basement room makes you nervous, Christine assures me that she has designed this game with families in mind. Hints are available to help you get through the adventure via a two-way radio, and the story line on which the game is based is not scary or gory. Of course, there are some surprises — it wouldn’t be a true adventure without them  — and you will have to bring your problem solving skill with you. Thinking outside the box is required.

Looking Glass Adventures will be open evenings and weekends throughout the month. Games must be pre-booked from their website: If you want to book a game during a time slot that isn’t listed on the website email Christine directly to make arrangements. What a great way to spend a hot/muggy afternoon or evening this summer — did I mention the room is air-conditioned? This activity also makes a great team building initiative, and Christine is in the process of tailoring the game for kids’ birthday parties.

The pop-up project is thrilled to welcome this newest business to the hood. It is sure to draw people to our area from across the city, which means more people on the street, supporting this and other local businesses  — exactly what the pop-up project set out to do.

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