World’s Largest ‘Activate’ Gaming Facility Opens at Bramalea City Centre Near Toronto [Interview/Photos]

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The world’s largest Activate, an active gaming facility, has opened at Bramalea City Centre in Brampton, Ontario – its fifth location in Canada. 

Activate consists of a series of 11 interactive game rooms where people can play arcade-style games by actually jumping, climbing and dodging. The new Activate at Bramalea City Centre is 13,000 square feet and features laser lights, glowing walls and huge high-tech rooms where people can play games like Arena, Hoops, Mega Grid and Climb.

Nicole MacPhail

Nicole MacPhail, Marketing Director at BCC, said Activate is located at the exterior entrance of the shopping centre, next to Decathlon.

“We’re finding, and I think this is a lot of shopping centres, a need for more I’d say retail-tainment. We want to really pull our shoppers off of their phones and get them back into the mall,” she said. “So something like Activate Games gives our shoppers a reason to come to the mall, hopefully a motivation to come out and shop but also to experience something different. 

Image: Activate

“Activate really is something cool . . . We see immersive events but this is basically like you’re almost in an immersive video game when you’re actually participating and playing as opposed to people who spent a lot of time sitting at home playing video games. This is now bringing people out of their homes to actively participate in the game itself.

“I think it’s a really nice social activity to have and it’s a great form of exercise. There’s lots of different levels you can go through so you can kind of do it as a social activity or you can come and really get competitive and do it as a super fun workout.” 

Bramalea City Centre is the largest shopping centre in the City of Brampton, and the fourth largest in Ontario. The two-level shopping centre offers 1.5 million square feet of retail shopping space, showcasing a tenant mix of over 300 stores and services including Aritzia, Decathlon, H&M, Browns Shoes and Sephora.

Recently, besides Activate, the shopping centre has also seen the opening of JD Sports, Stokes and WLKN.

MacPhail said that through the pandemic people got comfortable being at home and being able to order things from home.

“Shopping centres are just really looking for ways to draw people out of their homes. Maybe now we’re not as much just a shopping destination but we want to be more of that entertainment destination and a place for the community to come out and meet again. I think it’s really important and we’re seeing that with a lot of shopping centres where they’re having more events or reasons to come to the mall,” she said. 

Image: Activate

“Our traffic levels are doing really, really well. We’re seeing people returning to the mall and we’re seeing our sales matching with that. It’s really positive to see that people still want to come to the mall and people are shopping when they’re coming to the malls. We’re seeing some really positive results.”

Activate also has locations in Burlington, Scarborough, Edmonton South and Winnipeg.

It offers high-tech games that test a team’s physical and mental agility across a wide variety of real-life challenges. Once inside, people can choose from hundreds of combinations of games and difficulty levels, each lasting one to three minutes. An electronic wristband tracks the score and progress throughout a person’s experience. A minimum group of three people is needed to play, as games are played in groups of three to five.

Kris Mutcher of Colliers International represents Activate Games for their rapid expansion efforts internationally, and Paul Courchesne in Ontario, with plans to open one location per month in 2023 across Canada and the US.

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Mario was named as a RETHINK Retail Top Retail Expert in 2024.

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