The Markham Public Library and Centre for Immigrant and Community Services (CICS) want you to get lost… in their pop-up escape room that is.

For one day, the two organizations have banded together to set up the life-size, live-action puzzle in the Markham Village Library. They’re hoping students 10 and up will spend their Nov. 25 PA day solving their way out of the locked room, which will be filled to the brim with skill-testing puzzles and cryptic clues.

“It’s become a really popular game right now in Toronto so we decided to have one in the library too,” said Haruka Yuen, youth worker with CICS.

“We’re bringing something trendy into the library.”

Staff and volunteers from CICS have been planning out the escape room since early October. Though it’s only the first year the Markham Public Library and CICS have hosted a gathering of this type together, depending on the response, it might not be the last.

“This is kind of just like a trial,” said Yuen, who is excited to see the response the inaugural event receives.

The escape room concept began in online games dating back to the early 2000s. The popular adventure scenarios eventually spawned real-life rooms which challenge participants to work together on non-linear riddles to escape.

Would-be escapees have to search for clues, link different bits of information together, interpret riddles and race against the clock to win. Every little detail and every second counts in an escape room and team cooperation is key.

In the Markham Village Library, teams of six will enter the themed room and try to find their way out in 45 minutes. Yuen is hoping everyone who participates in the free event will find it exciting, challenging and most of all, fun.

“On the P.A. Day, we want them to just have a good time with friends on family. We want to challenge themselves a little bit,”


Space for the escape room pilot was limited to about 20 participants and spots filled up in early October. Though the action-packed event is full, Yuen said children can still get on the waiting list in case participants drop out at the last minute.


For more information about the Lost in the Library escape room event, visit

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