A unique virtual reality experience has been launched at Calgary’s Southcentre Mall.
VRKADE is the newest tenant at the mall and it specializes in both educational programs and experiential entertainment for individuals and groups.
“At VRKADE, we are dedicated to curating quality virtual reality experiences for all ages in a safe and enjoyable environment,” said Jason Van Hierden, CEO of VRKADE Inc. “We believe in harnessing the power of community to connect with each of our guests on a personal level and we truly value Southcentre Mall’s shared commitment to creating community spaces where people can engage in meaningful experiences.”
SOUTHCENTRE MALL’S NEWEST TENANT, VRKADE, HOPES TO BE A SAFE SPACE TO RECONNECT IN PERSON POST-COVID SHUTDOWNS
VRKADE provides a variety of virtual experiences using cutting-edge technology. A number of unique virtual escape rooms are available as well as a big library of single and multi-player arcade games. Educational camps and field trips are also offered for children from ages 8 to 16.
“As a hub for the local community, Southcentre is excited to introduce Calgarians to VRKADE and the immersive experiences it has to offer,” said Alexandra Velosa, Marketing Manager, Southcentre Mall. “We know that families and friends are looking for safe ways to reconnect in person and we hope that as they begin to explore what their new normal looks like, they will have the opportunity to discover VRKADE’s extensive repertoire of fun and educational virtual activities.
“Malls are more than just a place to go shopping. They have become a community hub and that is what we are trying to reflect with Southcentre and our unique retailers in the mall. It’s about bringing our community together and giving them opportunities to enjoy, have fun, relax and now these days in a safe way.
“For us, it was about bringing something different and unique that will not only bring people to the mall but it gives them an opportunity to experience something different and unique. Virtual reality is not something you find in every single mall in Calgary.”
Officials said people can expect to have access to their own curtained-off area to provide privacy as well as spatial guidance while using virtual reality headsets.
VRKADE is based in Calgary and has six locations — three in Calgary, one in Lethbridge (the original location), one in Nanaimo, and one in Abbotsford.
CALGARY-BASED VRKADE HAS PLANS FOR FUTURE EXPANSION
Jessica Smith, part-owner of the Southcentre Mall location and Director of Operations for VRKADE’s corporate office, said the company has plans for expansion.
“We do sell franchises and we do have current plans to continue to expand corporately. We do continue to get lots of interest and continue to grow. We do definitely have our eyes set on that,” she said.
“We’re a virtual reality company that offers entertainment and education. As a core part of our company we offer entertainment to anybody that is interested in doing a fun activity. You come into our stores. We have individually set up curtained off areas. You get your individual booth with your headset and controllers. We walk you through the set up where we explain everything to you and support you into getting into games. We can connect you with friends and family and single and multi-player games. You can actually in a multi-player game see one another and interact with each other. It’s like you’re right there next to each other but you could be at different locations. So it’s very cool.”
The Southcentre location has 17 full stations and a party room. It is in 2,730 square feet of space. The education component includes summer and spring camps and personal development days during school. There are a wide variety of programs that include things like kids building their own atoms to flying to and landing on the moon.
Southcentre Mall, which is part of Oxford Properties Group, has over 160 stores and services, including Calgary exclusives like Crate & Barrel, Restoration Hardware, and western Canada’s first Sporting Life.