Can you escape at Claustrophobia?

Ottawa problem solvers, puzzle lovers, game enthusiasts and those looking for fun, there is a new challenge in town for you at Claustrophobia. What is Claustrophobia you ask? There is the obvious and literal dictionary term of “an abnormal fear of being in enclosed or narrow places ( However, Claustrophobia is also a new escape room game located in the Hintonburg neighborhood of Ottawa.

The Rise of Escape Games

Escape games are more of a new age and modern phenomenon taking he world by storm. These games are a physical adventure where groups of people are locked in a room. They have to work together to piece clues and solve puzzles to find keys to unlock the door(s) to freedom. Time limits are given and the game is set up with a cryptic plot. Since the original concept was started back in 2006 by a bunch of system programmers (, escape games can be found in many cities across the world.

Picture of a magnifying glass alluding to the fact that you will have to think like a detective in an escape game.
Test your problem solving skills with your team to try and escape.

Claustrophobia in Ottawa

The brain child behind the new Ottawa escape game is the talented and entrepreneurial woman named Jennifer Schnare. A lover of puzzles and challenges herself, she has played many escape games amongst her personal travels around the world. Jennifer decided that she wanted to open her own facility of escape rooms. Initially, she looked in Toronto, however after seeing that the market was becoming saturated with so many different ones opening up, she decided Ottawa was a good place to start. With basically an untapped market, this was the place to be. Claustrophobia opened its doors just this past March. It currently has two rooms available to be played (the Laboratory and the Hostel) with a third one opening in mid May! The Laboratory is slightly harder than the Hostel room with an escape rate of less than 10%. On average, the Hostel room has an escape rate of under 20%.  Which one are you up for?

An inside look at one of the rooms  in Claustrophobia.
Check out Claustrophobia in Ottawa.

How to Play

  • gather 2-5 people to form a team (be strategic, weighing out people’s strengths and problem solving skills)
  • book ahead of time as escape rooms usually can not accommodate walk-ins right away (or at all)
  • have an open mind and think outside the box as you are playing – not everything in the room will make immediate sense or even be related
  • work against time because you only have 1 hour to get out!
  • there is one free clue that can be redeemed to still be considered a successful escapee.
  • have fun

Was I Successful? 

So I got the chance to play a few weeks back with my family and JD.  Nothing brings people closer than being locked in fairly small quarters and having to race against the clock. I actually had no idea how my parents would like it.  JD is an escape game professional as he has played a couple of different escape games and been successful. Surprisingly, my folks loved it, as did I! We all worked really well together, and took into account everyone’s ideas. No idea was a bad idea.  We logically thought things through and built off of the clues and interpretations everyone had about the pieces in the room. We played the Hostel room however unfortunately did not get out.We did redeem our one free clue, but tried to strategically wait until we were past the half way point in the game. If we had been given 5 more minutes, we probably would have successfully escaped.

Is the trunk going to unlock valuable information to escape?
Is the trunk going to unlock valuable information to escape?

Bringing People Together

Playing escape games is a surefire way to bring people together physically and intellectually.  I can genuinely say this as I have played escape games both with my family and with co-workers.  For those looking for a fun team building experience that is both different and fun, try an escape game.  People’s true leadership styles and teamwork really come out. Next, I need to go back and try the Laboratory room and see if I can crack the clues for a successful escape.

What's inside the books? Secrets to escape or are they a decoy?
What’s inside the books? Secrets to escape or are they a decoy?

Claustrophobia is located at 984 Wellington Street West in Hintonburg.



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  1. I’ve been meaning to check this out for weeks now! It’s such a cool idea and I’ve never done anything like it before. But it sounds super fun!
    Thanks for the reminder, I’ll make sure to book an appointment.

    1. Hey Kelly!

      You will certainly have a great time.

      I am going to go back and try the new Bunker room that is opening :).

  2. The third room, Bunker, is already open! How did you find doing The Hostel with 4 people? Do you think having a fifth person (the maximum allowed) would’ve been beneficial? You should check out the other two escape game companies, Escape Manor and the newest one, Jigsaw!

    1. Hi Shoshanna!

      I played at Escape Manner in the Wine Cellar. My coworkers and I were unsuccessful. Have not tried Jigsaw yet.

      5 people would have been crowded potentially in the hostel, but it could work. I really want to try the other two rooms at Claustrophobia.

      What is your favourite place so far out of the 3?

  3. I’ve actually only tried Escape Manor. My group tried the Prison Break and Asylum rooms. Prison Break was a challenge! We were unsuccessful too, for both rooms.

    I’ve tried more in Toronto though. And I must say I feel the escape room companies in Toronto provide more value for your dollar. I think because Toronto is so saturated with these companies that they constantly need to up their game to remain competitive.

    1. Some people have such a natural gift for being able to solve these types of puzzles and games, however it does not come as easily to me as it would others. What was your favourite room there? Toronto has a lot of venues that offer escape rooms too!

  4. Have you tried the rooms at the Diefenbunker or the Museum of Nature! A totally different experince but in a good way! More of a scavenher hunt though, IMO.

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