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vrCAVE: Adventures Beyond Reality

Community Profiles
CKUA staff on a VR adventure. (L to R: Marc Carnes, Grant Stovel, Thomas Tunski, Brendan Cross.)

You’re in an escape room. Suddenly you’re flipped onto the ceiling. You’re walking upside down! You try a different escape room and suddenly, a massive dragon flies in.

Hold on, these are escape rooms? Where’d they get the dragon?!

It all makes sense when you learn about vrCAVE, our cool and incredibly high-tech Alberta Hotel tenant, neighbour and friend. Founded and run by two Edmonton brothers, the company creates immersive virtual reality (VR) experiences, with a focus on escape rooms.

Before you imagine people running about the Alberta Hotel with VR goggles strapped to their faces, vrCAVE is a business to business company. They provide entertainment operators with the products, technology and support to offer escape rooms that go wildly beyond the physical space.

“We’re able to add action and adventure elements you wouldn’t typically have in an escape room experience,” says Alex Rossol, CEO, who founded the company with his brother Nathaniel.

For example, in one escape room, you’re in an alchemy lab and you have to brew potions. “And one of the potions you brew flips the entire team onto the ceiling so the world suddenly becomes upside down and that’s the key to solving that problem.” In another, “you have to take down a dragon that’s flying around.”

Rossol’s personal favourite is called Time Travel Paradox. “You have the team split between two different time periods with half the team working in the past, half in the future. You can see in real time when changes are made in the past, they’re reflected in the future.”

vrCAVE was operating from the coworking spaces at Grant MacEwan before the pandemic hit. Post-isolation, they started looking around for a new space.

“We looked around at other spaces in Edmonton but nothing quite offers what the Alberta Hotel offers,” Rossol says. “It’s wonderfully renovated and up to date. It’s so clean and light, with all the sunlight that comes in. It certainly is a great building with a nice historical look to it as well.”

Secure parking next door at Canada Place as well as good building security and in-house building management are also perks, he says.

The spaciousness of their offices on the third floor of the Alberta Hotel is key to what they do. vrCAVE experiences fit a 15ft x 18ft space so they need room for designing and testing.

The brothers founded the company in 2016. Now they employ 11 full-time staff and have 10 VR experiences on their roster, used by 230 entertainment operators in 29 countries.

“People are often surprised at how immersive it is,” says Rossol. “They can’t believe, taking off the headset, that they’ve been in the same room for the last 45 minutes.”

Learn more about this cool Edmonton business on their website.

Interested in joining us at the Alberta Hotel? Learn more about our rental spaces here.

The vrCAVE team put their heads together to request this song for our listeners, “Uncharted Territory” by Sam Hulick: