The door locked behind them.
The room was dark, luminescent skulls watching them. The residents gathered round, excited to hear the first clue, to let the games begin.
“We had a lot of people come out… so that was really exciting,” said Shannon, a co-op student at Cedarvale Lodge Retirement Residence in Keswick. “It was really fun.”
Cedarvale Lodge’s first attempt at an Escape Room was a huge success, with about 20 residents joining in. Shannon, a student in the therapeutic recreation program at Georgian College, came up with the idea with Emily Curcuruto, Cedarvale Lodge’s lifestyle consultant.
“I have a lot of family members and friends who have gone to escape rooms and absolutely loved it, so we thought it would be a good idea to bring into the home,” Shannon said. “The residents were super pumped.”
Escape rooms arrived in America from Japan around 2012, and quickly gained popularity. Today, there are over 20 escape rooms in Toronto.
A real-life action adventure game, escape rooms lock players in and challenge them to solve riddles and clues in a race against the clock. Most games last under an hour, with the key out of the room as the grand prise. Cedarvale Lodge’s escape room featured pirate Captain Jean Benoit-Aubery, whom residents had to help find her lost treasure to escape the room.
“No one had done an escape room and they had no idea what it was about,” Shannon said. “So it was a treat for them to come and see what it was like and they all enjoyed it. I had people come and tell me on Monday that they had such a good time on Friday, so that made me really happy.”
Residents began in the ship’s dark mess galley and had to work their way through the riddles and to the bow of the ship. Eventually, they were led to the key, which was tied around a pirate telescope.
At the end of the challenge residents gathered together and shared the spoils - Captain Jean Benoit-Aubery’s treasure chest cake, which was delicious.