About Vancouver Mysteries: Vancouver Mysteries is a locally-owned, top-rated, award-winning game company that designs and operates mystery-themed games that can be played outside, indoors, or online. Longtime member of Destination Vancouver, member of the TripAdvisor Hall of Fame (awarded the Certificate of Excellence for five years in a row), and, most recently, winner of a Business Distinction Award from the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade (November 1, 2022).
Vancouver Mysteries began in 2014 as a way to explore Vancouver in a new way, with four outdoor games running daily year-round that are popular with both locals and tourists for family fun, birthdays, date nights, and team-building activities. Outdoor mystery games are 100 per cent unique outdoor adventure experiences built in Vancouver for Vancouver. Customers book their game online or over the phone and then receive instructions before, including the secret start location to meet a Game Operator in character as a special agent, detective or “Agent X”. They start the mystery story and provide everything needed to solve the mystery including tools, artifacts, clues, and a map.
In 2019, Vancouver Mysteries added a portable game with escape room-style challenges. The Case of the Hotel Detective has been solved in hotel suites, offices, homes and at special pop-up events in Whistler and Vancouver. Vancouver Mysteries now has two portable games: portable escape room, The Case of the Hotel Detective and the “in-person” version of the murder mystery game, Black Skull.
In 2020, Vancouver Mysteries started offering virtual games. As of 2022, they have three unique virtual games only available from Vancouver Mysteries: gameshow Super Trivia, circus party game Big Top Werewolf and murder mystery Black Skull. All virtual games are fully hosted. A Game Operator is online with you the entire time in character as an agent, game show host, or circus character.
Vancouver Mysteries acknowledges that games take place on the traditional, unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples – sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh), and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) nations.
The company has a commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion, meaning they operate by a policy of acceptance and respect for all. They are a rainbow-certified business, LGBTQ+ friendly, and a transgender safe space.
Vancouver Mysteries’ mission is to provide a consistent five-star fun experience to every player while also breaking from stereotypes in the mystery genre and respecting the communities where our games take place.
Tell us about yourself?
Tanya Bennett lives in East Vancouver with her two children and her dog, Doctor Watson. She collects mystery and detective pulp fiction and loves film noir and tabletop games.
If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
If I could go back two years, I would tell myself to spend more time with my mom because she passed away in 2021.
What problem does your business solve?
I love how our games encourage people to work together to solve mysteries – everyone brings something different to the team: different skills, knowledge, creative thinking, and deductive reasoning.
What is the inspiration behind your business?
I have always loved mysteries and adventure. I loved the Choose Your Own Adventure books when I was a kid, and my favourite T.V. shows were Wonder Woman, Buck Rogers, and the Hardy Boys.
What is your magic sauce?
Our team is made up of talented local performers who interact with players during the game in real life, whether in person outdoors or during a portable game or in a Zoom room for virtual games. As a small business, we all play different roles. Since Vancouver Mysteries builds its own games, you may meet one of the game designers during your game (or even the owner).
Other companies license an app and bring it to Vancouver or sweep into town with an outdoor crime-solving game or city hunt for one day and then move on to the next town. Those are fun too! But not the same thing. Vancouver Mysteries outdoor games are real-life adventures set specifically in Vancouver – you don’t download an app or look at screens while you play, and the city plays such a big role in the games that the only place you can play them is in Vancouver.
What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?
We have two new games launching this year and intend to expand our brand to more cities over the next five years (if you want to help bring mystery games to your town, get in touch!).
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
We paused operations on March 15, 2020, and then re-opened in May 2020 to smaller groups to meet health restrictions. We continue to work towards recovering from some very tough years but look forward to a successful 2023.
How can people get involved?
If you are looking for a unique way to explore downtown Vancouver, a team-building activity, or a fun online activity for friends, colleagues or family, we hope you’ll book a Vancouver Mysteries game. You can book your game online at www.vancouvermysteries.com/book-a-vancouver-mysteries-game. Our Experience Managers are here at Mystery Headquarters, ready to help you seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. We can help pick the right game for you, answer your questions, and even book you in by phone, text, or email. We have helped set up surprise birthday games, wedding proposals, custom endings at bars, mystery dates, and more. We can recommend nearby bars and restaurants and also offer special pricing for large groups, non-profits, and field trips. We also work with other businesses: ask us about pop-up mysteries at your venue, promotional partnerships, contests, and more.