Derek Lovell inside one of Horror Escape's rooms on Broughton Street.

New haunted escape rooms open in Victoria

A Toronto man is combining his love of haunted houses and a unique entertainment opportunity in a new escape room.

A Toronto man is combining his love of haunted houses and a unique entertainment opportunity in a new escape room opening in Victoria next month.

Horror Escape includes several rooms that will fit groups of six or seven people. Each group will be locked in a room and they have 30 minutes to find clues to escape the room before time is up.

“There’s the booming concept of escape rooms. We’ve mixed the typical haunted house attraction with escape rooms to have a year-round attraction,” said Derek Lovell, who created Horror Escape after selling his house in Toronto and moving to Victoria five weeks ago to start the business.

Unlike Epic Escape, an escape room in Bastion Square, Horror Escape is not only about getting out, but recreating the same feeling one would have walking through a haunted house.

“The sets are really detailed, we’ve got the horror vibe, it’s a fully immersive experience with sound and lighting,” said Lovell, a haunted house enthusiast.

There are two fear options: “scaredy cat” for families and “terrifying” that features a scare actor twice a week.

“The core value here is just getting people interacting again, get away from the iPads and interact with each other,” added Lovell. “We want to see people laugh and scream and scream and laugh.”

The sets are modelled after rooms in the late 80s — one room called Gacy’s Place is named after serial killer after John Wayne Gacy, who murdered dozens of men and hid them in a crawl space in his home, and a barn.

Lovell hopes the unique experience will help resurrect Victoria’s entertainment scene.

“We just trying to bring the entertainment scene back to Victoria because it seems like there’s a little bit missing,” he said.

“I was just researching things to do in Victoria. There’s a lot of sightseeing and whale watching, but there’s no attractions were people can go and spend some time after dinner.”

Ken Kelly, general manager of the Downtown Victoria Business Association, said the business community often talks about adding new attractions in downtown Victoria.

“We need another attraction, we’ve had the wax museum go, Undersea Gardens go,” he said. “People are always looking to support and enjoy new aspects in the city. We’ve always got to continue to invent and redefine ourselves. Maybe this new business is helping to redefine who we are.”

Horror Escape will open its doors on Canada Day. For more information, visit


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