Inside Toronto’s new Stranger Things experience
Complete with a real-life Hawkins Lab, demogorgons and merch galore
It’s time to grab your pals and get into the ’80s groove—Stranger Things: The Experience has arrived in Toronto. The immersive exhibit has already had successful runs in Paris, New York, San Francisco, London and Atlanta, inviting fans to take a trip to the Upside Down and live out the adventures from the popular Netflix series.
Opening at Cinespace Studios Marine Terminal in the Port Lands this past Friday, the Netflix and Fever entertainment co-production takes visitors inside Hawkins Lab and beyond for an interactive experience featuring a brand new Stranger Things storyline conceived in collaboration with series creators the Duffer brothers.
“We know that there’s such a rich fandom around the Stranger Things series, and we wanted to come up with something that would really immerse people in the world of Hawkins and feel authentic,” says Isis Arias of Netflix Live Experiences. It’s also an opportunity for fans to engage with the show’s beloved characters and to be the hero of the new story.
As visitors walk from room to room, they’re greeted by fan favourites including Eleven, Dustin, Mike, Lucas, Max and Will. Then they’re thrown into a mystery-solving quest to unlock powers of their own and help save Eleven and Hawkins.
Each room in the 45-minute journey presents a set of new challenges and tasks that are unlocked using said powers. The special effects are pretty cool, too, with life-size demogorgons terrorizing the lab. One of the highlights is the 3-D room, which introduces visitors to some unexpected guests (and a scream or two). A word of advice: stand at the front of the room for the best experience. Trust us—friends don’t lie.
After the lab portion of the tour, visitors are invited to hang out in the ’80’s-themed Mix-Tape area, which offers Stranger Things–inspired food, beverages and merch. The experience runs until June, and tickets start at $49.
Here’s a sneak peek into the ǝƃuɐɹʇs world.
The Welcome Room
First, visitors are welcomed with an information session that sets up the experience. Then, they’re organized into colour-coded teams of yellow, red and blue. Next, a member of the Hawkins Lab addresses the group with the help of a video from our friends Eleven, Dustin, Mike, Lucas, Max and Will, who explain that visitors will be called upon to use their powers.
The Challenge Room
In this colourful room, teams are tasked with completing a set of challenges, putting their powers to the test in a few tricky games (now is the time to channel a certain Eleven energy). There’s also an in-character lab technician, and visitors may witness some pretty wild supernatural occurrences. Don’t worry—it’s nothing a couple of kids (or adults) can’t handle.
After the immersive portion of the experience, visitors are invited to spend time in the Mix-Tape area, which offers food, drinks and plenty of photo ops. Chips Ahoy, chicken and waffles, cinnamon rolls, and scoops of ice cream are on offer at the Hawkins ice cream parlour, Scoops Ahoy, where the well-coiffed Steve worked in the summer of 1985.
Surfer Boy Pizza
Hot slices of pizza and corn dogs are available for purchase here, where servers bring a hint of sass, just like fan-fave delivery driver Argyle.
The Byers Room
The iconic Byers living room is recreated to make guests feel like they’ve been transported onto the Stranger Things set. The details are spot-on, with lights flashing over the letters like they do in the iconic scene from season one.
We’re all a little obsessed with Vecna, so don’t mind us as we strike a pose with the misunderstood villain.
Stranger Things–themed cocktails and mocktails like the Friends Don’t Lie and the Demogorgon are available to sip on as you explore the room.
Merch Store and Photo Booth
Pics or it didn’t happen, right? There are several playful photo ops and a photo booth to capture the moment. Fans can also grab special Stranger Things merchandise, like T-shirts, mugs and boxes of iconic Eggo waffles.