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This article was published 20/3/2018 (750 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Cineplex is bringing back rec room parties.
Winnipeg will soon have its first Rec Room, billed as the country’s newest social playground for grown-ups. It is set to open at Seasons of Tuxedo, a retail space at Sterling Lyon Parkway and Kenaston Boulevard, anchored by Ikea and Cabela’s, in late 2019.
The concept from movie theatre company Cineplex is to bring all the best features from past and present recreation rooms out of the basement, upgrade and modernize them and put them under one gigantic roof.
"At Cineplex, we’re out to change perceptions about who we are, to become more of an entertainment company," said Cineplex spokeswoman Sarah Van Lange.
The Rec Room promises a 40,000-square-foot space with amusement games, classic games such as air hockey, pool and ping pong, new entertainment such as virtual reality games, luxury bowling and axe throwing, a licensed sports bar and a theatre for musical bands, theatre and comedy acts.
It also includes plenty of culinary options. About half the space is dedicated to food, both sit-down dining and fast food.
Everything is there — except movies.
"We announced a location at St. John’s, N.L., in the same complex as one of our movie theatres (the Avalon). The first question a journalist asked was, ‘When is the (existing) theatre closing?’" Van Lange said.
It isn’t. "When we’re opening, people often think the Rec Room is, in fact, a movie theatre, but it’s really an entertainment destination," she said.
The Rec Room was rumoured to be setting up across the street from the Scotiabank Theatre by Polo Park shopping centre. Van Lange could only say the South Kenaston shopping area was chosen, because it’s an established retail complex, it’s growing and it has other large tenants. "We see lots of traffic coming our way," she said.
The Rec Room will be a very open concept, with 40 to 50 giant screens throughout. People wanting to play the games are outfitted with radio-frequency identification wristbands that operate electronically, after purchasing game tickets. Credits earned are tracked on RFID wristbands and can be redeemed at an onsite store for prizes, Trophy Case.
It will have two types of food offerings. One is a full service restaurant called THREE10. Its name derives from the three territories and 10 provinces in Canada. The large menu lists dishes like skillet macaroni and cheese, bison lasagna, a gourmet burger and wood-fired olives.
There is also the quick service food. It will have a full "poutinerie" with everything made in-house, pizza by the slice and a doughnut bar.
The Rec Room will host everything from kids parties to corporate events.
While the Rec Room hopes to appeal to all ages, its foremost target is millennials, ages 22-37. "We’re finding that particular audience loves experiences and Instagrammable moments and the Rec Room really lends itself well to those," Van Lange said.
Cineplex opened its first facility in Edmonton in September 2016 and response has exceeded targets, Van Lange said. A second location has already been built there, and the first one in Toronto opened last summer.
Cineplex is investing heavily in its chain of Rec Rooms, with each costing in the $8-million to $10-million range. It plans to erect 10 to 15 across Canada within a few years. Following that, it hopes to open a different but similar concept called "Playdiums," featuring more games and targeted to teens and families with simpler foods.
Updated on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 at 6:58 PM CDT: Final edit