Imagine getting on a bus filled with complete strangers where nobody on board has any idea where they're going? Or what they'll be doing for the day? This is the premise behind the Xcitelife Mystery Experience, and on Saturday 30th Jan 2016 this actually happened to myself and twenty four other people. And it was awesome.
The mystery started at 2pm when we all boarded a bus for an unknown destination. We bonded together as we shared stories of the host, the only common connection we all had. Oh sure I recognized a few other people but I'd never spent any length of time with them. The first half hour of the trip we all shuffled seats, shaking hands and socializing, getting comfortable with the other Xcitelifers. We were about to experience something unique and possibly life altering, and so we all wanted to know our neighbours in case our lives depended on being able to call out their names in some unforeseen situation ahead... You never know with Xcitelife; anything is possible!
The host gave everyone their Mystery Xperience gift bags right at the start of the trip. These SWAG bags contained black and red Xcitelife t shirts, and a pair of strange looking safety glasses, gourmet chocolate bars from Qlicious, dried soyabean snacks and a granola bar made with hemp seeds that was quite unlike anything I've ever tried before.
Everyone put on their t shirts immediately and suddenly we were all taking pictures of ourselves wearing the back and red 'X' emblazoned shirts with an ever increasing trepidation about the future. We posted pictures of ourselves in our facebook feeds with captions like, "Xcitelife Mystery Xperience has started!'
When organizers passed out photo release forms and legal waivers it only served to further heighten the drama. Some tension was released when the bus pulled over and the host uncrated a box of different size plastic guns that shoot Nerf bullets! For the next twelve minutes there was a Nurf gun war with suction cup tipped bullets flying everywhere... This is why there were safety goggles in the gift bag!
The Mystery was partially solved when the bus made its first stop at ESCAPE GAMES CANADA and the crew became aware they were about to find themselves in situations which required they a timely escape. The giant one storey building located at 15 Kodiak Cres Toronto is filled with traps and puzzelling situations which are steeped in history and lore.. The business is less than two years old and has won international recognition for its unique adventure 'escape' games. They have a much celebrated haunted house puzzle game, and a jail scenario, but our group selected The Mayan Curse in which we started at the base of a lost Mayan temple and had to lift the curse of an ancient god to escape the tomb. I won't spoil it by related what happened inside but suffice to say we did not succeed in escaping the tomb. I vowed to return and conquer one of these someday.
Xploring GTA Sports Plex
The second stop the bus made was at the GTA Sports Plex at 8301 Keele St, Concord which is a very large facility filled with all manner of indoor sports competition sized playing fields. It is really something to behold; there's a massive soccer field here, and basketball courts, badminton, rugby, and even archery butts. We were there to play Bubble Soccer and Archery Tag which are two of the most popular pages on the Xcitelife website, and that's probably because they are affordable attractions that are fun as hell.
During lunch the crew was serenaded by guest DJ Heather Van Vyper who played funky beats to accompany the tasty treats on the buffet table.
Play De Record provided all the DJ equipment, including smoke machines and lasers that were used in the last Xperience. There was a delicious chicken dinner, potatoes and two types of salad for lunch. There was also lots of laughs as we watched Bubble Soccer play offs while the Xcitelife admin set up the Archery Tag arena.
Archery Tag at GTA Sports Plex is Thrilling Xcitement
After lunch we played Archery Tag at GTA Sports Plex in the hardwood basketball court at the back of the complex. Xcitelife took Archery Tag to a whole other level, there was music, laser lights and the room was filled with fog. Two teams formed and shot these strange marshmellow foam tipped arrows at each other until there was just one man left standing!. I tried to be that man but my legs and arms werent up the task - I would need serious training to survive as an archer for any legth of time in this thrilling arena.
Mystery Xperience Ends With Good Vibes
When it was all over,it still was not over. As we Xcitelifers disembarked back in that remote parking lot, instead of getting into our cars, we found ourselves behing herded away toward a nearby together on the shores of Lake Ontario to make a prayer circle and send good thoughts into the future.