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Makerspace North is piloting an escape room experience—until 11.10.19

By Samara Caplan and Laura Gauthier on October 13, 2019

Laura and Samara spend their days as non-profit unicorns and fill every spare minute exploring the world of musical theatre as BFFs (that’s Broadway Friends Forever).


Did you know that, in addition to being musical theatre fans to the nth degree, the BFFs are also escape room champions? Meaning, of all the ones we’ve done together, we’ve escaped. It’s official. We even drove to Oshawa once to do two back to back Harry Potter-themed escape rooms.

Also, Samara might be the biggest fan of Hallowe’en you’ve ever met. So, when we heard that the fine folks at Makerspace North were doing a pop-up escape room in time for Hallowe’en, we were in! Ahead of the opening, we interviewed Adam Wilk, Space Director at Makerspace North, all about it. He definitely wins for the coolest job title!

Check back soon for our review of the escape room. This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Photo: Laura Gauthier/Apt613

Apt613: Tell us what Escape Makerspace North is all about. Why a pop-up?

Adam Wilk: Escape Makerspace North is all about solving the mystery of a missing tenant at the community Makerspace. It’s a spooky-inspired experience filled with puzzles with a creative-inspired spin.

A pop-up is a great way to try something new and see if the format resonates with Ottawa. At Makerspace North, I am trying to encourage big ideas and crazy projects. Lead by example, right?

What made you decide to put this on? Where did the idea come from?

History time! I moved to Makerspace North four years ago as a tenant. I remember coming in late on the weekends and being generally spooked by all of the dark corridors, old warehouse vibes, and weird sounds around City Centre. I remember thinking, hey, this place is kinda creepy, somebody should do an escape room here!

Four years later, I’m now in charge of the direction of Makerspace North. So while we are really focused on building creative entrepreneurs in Ottawa, we are also looking for new ways to showcase what we are all about. And who doesn’t like a bit of fun?

What makes this different from other escape rooms in Ottawa?

The format is unique. Escape Makerspace North is a quick tour of our warehouse, culminating in your group getting locked in and having to escape. We have designed the puzzles to be pretty unique—we utilize everything from laser-etched goods, sound puzzles, audio/visual puzzles and more.

This room is geared towards a casual audience, so you don’t need to be an escape room pro to enjoy it. We think our unique puzzles will entertain regardless of your expertise.

The experience is built around a simple story. The tenant of the space you are checking out has mysteriously disappeared, so his spot is up for grabs. As you and your team explore his workshop space, you learn more about his past, his unusual disappearance, and the dangerous situation you are in.

Photo: Laura Gauthier/Apt613

The tenant of the space you are checking out has mysteriously disappeared…

If it’s successful would you make it open all the time? Or do more pop-ups?

Who knows! If it works out, it would be great to host more experiences like this. If there is a demand for escape rooms promising extremely unique puzzles like this, then maybe we can host it again.

It’s possible that we open the venue up to a more permanent installation. That could be a lot of fun!

Who is the target audience?

Escape Makerspace North is recommended for adults, in groups of four or so. The focus is on cool, unique puzzles first, and delivering a creepy experience second.

Children 12 and up should be fine, too, but some things might be a bit scary or unsettling. There are no jump scares or “gotchas,” it’s more about the unsettling theme and spooky vibe.

Could you give us details on how to book a game?

Your best bet is to head over to escapemsn.ca and book a time before they fill up. We’re only running it for two weekends, just to test the waters. Its recommended to book four people, and it’s 20 dollars per person. If you have budget restraints but really want to make it out, shoot an email to adam@makerspacenorth.com and we’ll see what we can do.

The experience will take about 45 minutes in total. Ten minutes will be a tour and orientation to Makerspace North, with 30 minutes to solve the puzzle. It’s recommended that groups hang out downstairs at Beyond The Pale to have a drink or two before and after, especially if we need a few minutes to catch up. We’re new at this, but we think we can pull off something cool.

We will contact reservations beforehand to coordinate the experience, including directions and where to meet.

Hope to see everyone soon!


Escape Makerspace North runs at Makerspace North at City Centre until November 10. Tickets are $20 each. The experience should take about 45 minutes.