If the thought of jumping into a giant ball pit and sliding down a firepole has you feeling nostalgic about your childhood, then a visit to Toronto’s biggest indoor playground and obstacle gym may be sensory overload.
From the outside, the building that houses Pursuit OCR looks like an ordinary office space. But the moment you step in and see the bright retro check-in area—that has a free Skee-Ball machine, might we add—you know you’re in for a kick-ass time.
According to Pursuit OCR, we don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing. And that was the theme behind the gym’s massive overhaul. After originally opening in 2015 in a 10,000-square-foot woodworking studio, owner Wil McLean had spectacular (and sort of trippy) visions for the newest edition, a one-of-a-kind warehouse that opened in Etobicoke late in 2018.
If the bright tropical changing rooms don’t set the tone for the day, standing in the middle of the 30,000-square-foot space is sure to impress. For only $20 per person, you can stay all day long, run through the obstacle course as many times as you’d like, and discover the warehouse’s many secrets and attractions along the way.
Though this spot can be considered an adult playground, we can tell you from experience that it’s a full-on fitness adventure. Whether you’re pushing through the weighted punching bags or gliding down the 20-foot neon slide, there is never a dull moment — and you might not even realise you’re working just about every muscle in your body as you jump, pull, and run.
If you get lost along the way, don’t sweat it. There are no rules about completing the course in order which means you can sprint towards whatever your heart desires, like the “laser” maze, the tire wall, the monkey bars — you name it. But if you’re really up for a challenge, you can attempt to run up their giant concrete skate ramp, often referred to as a “warped wall”. With three different heights, the odds might be in your favour but only a handful of people are fast enough to grasp the top of the ramp and clamber up in victory.
Nothing, however, will prepare you (or your Instagram) for the excitement of jumping straight into the four-and-a half-foot-deep ball pit, the largest in North America. And the struggle is real when attempting to make your way out of the 100,000 orange plastic balls without sinking.
If the revival of your youth wasn’t solidified by running wildly across the open space, you can live out all your Mario Kart dreams on Pursuit’s custom tricycle track. Whether you’re racing friends or riding solo on the low-riding, sport trikes, you won’t be disappointed by the infamous neon tunnel (a favorite for shooting music videos — ask DJ Shaun Frank or Sage Harris) and drift ramps. Amidst the rock climbing walls, ropes, firepoles, and so much more, this is arguably the coolest part of this indoor playground, and it’s hard to ever want to stop — but, unfortunately, the gym closes at 10pm on most days.
However, if you want to come back the next day, and the next day, and the next day, that’s fine. Now that we’re adults, there’s no one to tell us we can’t have recess—and get fit while doing it—every day. With that in mind, we’ll see you at the playground!