Marcus Niebler is thinking outside the box for a new venture.
Niebler is the co-owner of Escape From Reality, a gaming and escape room business in South Porcupine.
Tuesday, council approved selling a surplus property on Highway 101 East to Escape From Reality Inc. for $16,500.
Located near Moose Creek, the five-acre property will be used to create a unique attraction called The Realm.
"The plan is to build a tourist attraction for people all over the world that want to come to Timmins and adventure,” he said.
The Realm will be a blend of live action role playing (LARPing) and the escape room business. People will complete quests, with tasks unlocking different areas of the property.
“It’s complicated if you’re not a role player, but if you’re a role player you’ll see the genius in people coming together for an awesome weekend experience,” he said.
The property is zoned Rural and the business is permitted under that.
Niebler's goal is to work on developing The Realm this summer and have it operational for summer 2022.
For the first several years, he said the plan is to have non-permanent buildings such as yurts. People will also be able to use local hotels and visit the property to complete the weekend quest during the day.
“The plan is to get The Realm property to a capacity of handling 100 people per weekend,” he said. “With the economics, that would allow me to bring up a celebrity each weekend.”
The Realm is an idea that Niebler starting thinking about a couple of years ago.
At an escape room conference, the question about where the industry could go in the next decade came up.
Virtual reality, said Niebler, will be in houses and he believes the future is in player reality.
The Realm will be in addition to the Escape From Reality location in the old CIBC bank in South Porcupine.