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The top 7 room escape games in Toronto

Posted by Natalia Manzocco / August 8, 2014

escape games torontoEscape games in Toronto bring a massive gaming trend from Asia to our home turf. The real-world games imprison participants in a room with friends (or strangers); you're then forced to hunt for clues around the game environment, using logic and teamwork to free yourselves in a race against the clock (games tend to last under an hour).

That model lends itself to a range of settings - from murder mysteries and jewel heists to horror-movie scenarios and post-apocalyptic worlds - but, thankfully, some of them are a little less dour. Thanks to the sudden influx of escape games in the city, you've got your choice of which alternate universe to get lost in. (Claustrophobes, proceed with caution.)

Here are my picks for the top 7 room escape games in Toronto.

Real Escape Game T.O.
Located in the Foundery building on Bathurst, Real Escape Game is a single-scenario race against time that's been played around the world, from Japan to China to the U.S. The game was one of the first to arrive on the scene in Toronto, and though other game rooms have since arrived that offer more rooms with different scenarios, ">our reviewer says it kept her on the edge of her seat for the entire hour. Tickets must be bought in advance and come to roughly $30 with tax.

Escape Games
Located just a stone's throw away from Downsview Station, Escape Games bills itself as the largest escape facility in North America, at 10,000 square feet. It may also be one of the most intense, with a heavy focus on realistic props and settings. Their range of escape-game scenarios includes a prison escape, a diamond theft, and a Mayan ruin exploration; more are on the way, including a haunted house in Japan and a post-apocalyptic hospital. Admission will run you $16.95 to $22, depending on the date and time; note that they ask you to either come in groups of two or four depending on the time.

De Code Adventures
Brain-teaser lovers, take note: this Mississauga escape gaming outfit rate their games not only by difficulty, but what kind of reasoning skills you're called upon to use for each puzzle; additionally, you can also influence difficulty levels by requesting hints. (If your neurons are still all fired up after your challenge ends, they also host a board game cafe!) The standard admission is $29.99 per person.

Locked-In
Across from the Pacific Mall, this complex of escape rooms skips the Saw-style horror and creepitude of other escape rooms for a few whimsical 45-minute challenges: there's a version where you escape from an after-school detention hall, a poker-themed level, and - be still, my nerdy heart - a Super Mario room. Pricing per person is $20 Monday to Thursday and $25 Friday to Saturday.

Mystery Room
Mystery Room is just a five-minute walk away from Escape Games - escape-room fans, looks like Downsview Station is your new ground zero. Mystery Room's games are ordered by level of difficulty, so newbies and old hands alike will have the opportunity to get the pants scared off of them: Options include a prison scenario, a haunted hospital, and something called "Satan's Lair". They're open past midnight week-round, which can only increase the creep factor. Bring a group - rates hinge on how many people you bring, from $46 for two ($23 each) to $136 for eight ($17 each).

AT Escape
Yonge and Sheppard's AT Escape is one of the cheapest escape room experience on the list, at $18 plus tax per person, but don't think that automatically translates into a loss of quality. They offer five rooms, including a library lock-up, a sealed toy room (curse those meddling kids), a bunker, a jailbreak scenario, and a bio-lab plagued by out-of-control micro-organisms, with one more - a hall of mirrors - on the way.

Great Escape
North York's Great Escape features a couple of the creepier scenarios on this list, including escaping from a cannibalistic tribe and breaking out of a serial killer's garage (though it's entirely possible they just tip their hand a little more on the spoilers than some of these other escape rooms). There's also a race against time to diffuse a bomb, as well as a labyrinth level that only 3% of people have successfully completed. They certainly beat the competition price-wise; admission is $15 per person.

BONUS

Freeing Station Canada
With escape rooms in China, India, Singapore, Italy and Macau, Freeing Station is set to expand its Canadian offerings to Toronto this September (there's already a successful location in Richmond, B.C.). Follow their Facebook page for updates.

Photo by ben_a via the blogTO Flickr pool.

Discussion

38 Comments

Bob bobertson / August 8, 2014 at 11:04 am
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I think Mystery room has fake reviews. I was on the Facebook page and saw some negative reviews, but everything was really positive. But the positive reviews are from people not even on the country, and all of them like and vote for the same things, despite being from different countries. Pretty suspect.
Chris / August 8, 2014 at 11:12 am
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I can't compare to other rooms but I did "Real Escape Game" on the long weekend and it was definitely worth the money.
Natalia replying to a comment from Ryan Henson Creighton / August 8, 2014 at 12:17 pm
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We don't do paid promotion in articles.

The piece has been amended to indicate typical games run under an hour, not about an hour.

Let me know if there's anything else I can help you with.
Locked-in Room Escape / August 8, 2014 at 12:24 pm
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Locked-in Room Escape is currently running a 40% off promotion: our prices on weekdays are $12 and weekends are $15 after the discount! Please visit our website www.locked-in.ca for more details.
Darryl / August 8, 2014 at 01:14 pm
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While I haven't had a chance to do an escape room in Toronto yet I did visit one in Niagara on the weekend (surprisingly they own escaperoom.ca) and had a blast. Family and I didn't manage to get out but still enjoyed the experience.

Looking forward to trying some of the local ones. Such a great concept.
mark / August 8, 2014 at 02:09 pm
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There is also a room escape place in scarborough called Mission45 room escape, there has been lots of players played at this location already, and they just opened two new themes with some high tech stuffs.
Mike / August 8, 2014 at 02:45 pm
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I went to Locked In and tried the Classroom (easiest difficulty). "Easy" is relative and it was still difficult and required some brain power. We escaped in 44 mins! Will be going back to try their other rooms soon. Also very interested in trying other places to see how they compare.
Di / August 8, 2014 at 02:50 pm
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We went to AT Escape few weeks ago. Failed to break out the jail room :( The room is so realistic and I love how I have to constantly work on my brain. Will go back to try the Biolab room soon.
TomE / August 8, 2014 at 03:21 pm
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Ryan, surely even an incorrigibly argumentative pedant like yourself can surely:

1) Count to 7
2) Realize that as #8, Freeing is clearly being mentioned as a related "coming attractions next month" tidbit for room escape buffs
3) Conclude the "Top 7 in TO" in fact omits the Freeing bonus trivia, contrary to your now twice-blurted contention

I realize your position as Distinguished Chairman Of The Association of Room Escape Games places you under a great deal of stress, what with your deep personal investment - but seriously, try to keep it together?
Natalia replying to a comment from Ryan Henson Creighton / August 8, 2014 at 04:10 pm
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These are the most promising Toronto and GTA-based escape games we came across in our research on the topic, and no, I haven't visited all of them. I'd be thrilled to hear your picks.
EscapistTO / August 8, 2014 at 04:21 pm
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I keep an updated list here:

http://www.reddit.com/r/toronto/comments/2arh3a/toronto_room_escapes/
TomE / August 8, 2014 at 04:32 pm
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Since you asked, Ryan, here's my top 5 ways to write a "Top 7 Restaurants" list for you:

1) Average out the year-end reviews of the city's top critics
2) Use known industry rankings/metrics
3) Profile up-and-comers based on promise/buzz in a new niche/space or the reps of their new star chefs
4) Ask readers to vote on their top 7 fave spots
5) Go to every single restaurant in Toronto and pick the 7 best ones

There'd be different kinds of validity to a piece based on any one or combo of these approaches, but you're probs way too caught up in this personal brand of pedantic antagonism of yours to agree.
Sam / August 8, 2014 at 06:15 pm
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Hi, I'm one of the owners of Prison Breaker located at Kennedy/Steeles. It's a shame we didn't make this list =(. But....I hereby cordially invite you, Natalie to come and try the experience at our location. I trust you will not be disappointed!

I hope you'll get the chance to sample most, if not all, of the available room escapes games in the GTA. I've been to a few myself and even as an owner of one, I'd say that we each have our own unique ways to provide the most entertainment to our customers so it's a difference experience wherever you go.

Hope we get to see you soon!

Cheers,
Sam
TomE / August 8, 2014 at 09:36 pm
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Keep it together Ryan, it was you that threw out an apples and oranges comparison like restaurants vs. tiny nerdy little niches like escape games (no, there's no Zagat or Michelin stars for something like Toronto room escapes, nor a canon of famous go-to industry critics - big shocker there). A lot of "these" lists on here also actually ARE reader polls, even if this one wasn't.

In any case, your point has been made - your crusade here need not sink to outright petulance where you stamp your feet waiting for posts to be renamed.
Sophie replying to a comment from Ryan Henson Creighton / August 8, 2014 at 10:47 pm
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Hey Ryan, you know they're usually always hiring.
Why don't you apply, since you're so hyper critical of what's currently being posted.
Shawn / August 8, 2014 at 11:00 pm
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Thanks for featuring some of the room-escape places. We really put our hart and soul into our facility and it is a dream for us to see it become a reality. We really wanted to bring the best from what we saw from Europe and Asia to Toronto while making more than just escapes. We have some cool ideas in the pipeline and can't wait to showcase our newest technologies and ideas. Natalia, give us a call and we'll set something up for you and your friends so you can give us a shot this way no one can say you aren't informed =)

Sincerely,
The Entire Team at Escape Games Canada
Ryan's sister / August 8, 2014 at 11:17 pm
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I've never seen someone get so emotional over an article. Loosen up a bit Ryan
Shawn replying to a comment from Shawn / August 8, 2014 at 11:46 pm
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Heart*
Ryan Henson Creighton replying to a comment from Sophie / August 9, 2014 at 01:54 am
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Hey Sophie - BlogTO offered me a gig writing technology pieces for them a few years ago, but i don't write for free. Looks like some do.

My criticisms are legit, and it amazes me that you and others don't see a problem with a "top [whatevers]" article written by someone with absolutely no experience of [whatevers].
Ella .O.L. / August 9, 2014 at 02:03 am
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I wonder where Ryan Creighton went guys?

Probably back to taking advantage of his child's work...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hE0K5W7_omI
reader / August 9, 2014 at 01:41 pm
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Ryan actually has a very good point...but the problem is, no one cares enough. Hence these type of comments back at him...

I agree, you can't really call it a top 7 when you haven't even been to them all.

I think the reddit post in the comments is the best one, unbiased list of all of the locations.
Sophie replying to a comment from Ryan Henson Creighton / August 9, 2014 at 04:37 pm
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"BlogTO offered me a gig writing technology pieces for them a few years ago, but i don't write for free. "

Why not?
Doesn't look like you're doing anything much more important.
There's a reason your "clients" are little one-off projects. You produce incredibly weak content.

OH Your attitude is fucking gross.
Ryan Henson Creighton replying to a comment from Sophie / August 9, 2014 at 04:52 pm
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Sophie - This is how you react when i criticize an author for creating a "top 7 in Toronto" list with zero knowledge of what she's covering? My attitude towards that is "fucking gross"?

i can only guess that you're a friend of Natalia's, and are coming to her aid here. If you'd like to post your full name so that i can Google you and take a desperate, uncalled-for pot shot at your work, be my guest.
EscapistTO / August 10, 2014 at 02:28 pm
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Ryan brought up a good point in a hostile way that wasn't conducive to discussion. There isn't even a bomb defusal room at Great Escape!

If anyone wants recommendations, or just to talk about room escapes in general, feel free to email me at EscapistTO@gmail.com

K-L / August 11, 2014 at 08:06 pm
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http://bellejar.ca/2014/08/11/an-open-letter-to-the-ttc-please-remove-these-posters/

"I am not some trope that should be used to scare people in a haunted house. I am a for-real person, who struggles daily with an illness that colours nearly every aspect of my life. The same goes for every other person living with mental illness. We’re not the punch line to your “crazy” joke. We’re people coping with very real, sometimes deadly illnesses and that alone is a hard enough row to hoe without tossing mental health stigma on top of everything else."
Tommy / August 12, 2014 at 09:44 pm
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How about Prison Breaker? Opened longer than locked in and it's right beside Pacific mall. Go check it out. This list is whacked...people paying to get on this list for advertisement? Some of these people must be desperate.
Sam lee / August 13, 2014 at 02:31 pm
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Bob Bobertson, there's a time when mystery room offered discount for people giving them 5 stars..no wonder we feel the reviews are fake. People pay for advertisement and good recognition in this world..simple..
Jon / August 17, 2014 at 12:12 am
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If you want a more indepth look at escape games, check this out

http://cjnoms.blogspot.ca/2014/07/cj-play-escape-games.html
Pete / August 18, 2014 at 04:23 pm
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Wow Jon, I didn't think this post was that bad until I read how good your review was from that link...great job!! You just made this post look so bad hahaha
Fanny / August 19, 2014 at 01:11 pm
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I see you've deleted my comment so I'll say again that the next time you plan to create a top 7 list you ought to have first hand experience in what your are reviewing rather than randomly draw names of a hat. This list ain't reliable at all if you never even tried the places.
Christina replying to a comment from Fanny / August 22, 2014 at 07:11 am
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Great post, Jon! You definitely gave a thorough look at al the games

I completely agree with Fanny...this post was absolutely terrible and it's quite clear the poster has not had any first hand experience with these games..
Shawn replying to a comment from Tommy / August 27, 2014 at 03:46 pm
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Hi Tommy,

We didn't pay to get on the list but I agree that Jon's assessment is far more accurate and he's actually tried a lot of them.

EscaperExperience / September 12, 2014 at 04:21 pm
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Hey guys, i started a blog about my experience with my wife. Please Visit

http://torontoescapegames.wordpress.com/

Hopefully this will help you !
Jason / September 29, 2014 at 02:53 pm
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Anyone been to Breakout @ 388 Spadina Ave 2nd Fl?
http://www.breakoutcanada.com
Crystal / October 2, 2014 at 03:58 pm
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I am obsessed with this kind of game. I am so surprised that BreakOut Team Adventures around Scarborough Town Centre is not on here. I played on the day they opened with a group of 7 people and it was mind blowing! I mean they seriously think outside of the box, so different than other kind of escape games. It was creepy but I loved it!
if you guys wanna check them out: wwww.breakoutadventures.ca
houdini / October 7, 2014 at 07:04 pm
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How do I find these places?
Olive / October 19, 2014 at 11:15 am
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Great article.
Cassie / October 23, 2014 at 12:21 pm
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Exit Strategy is a new escape the room challenge that has just opened in Burlington! Book online www.exitstrategycanada.ca

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