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The Hottest New Activity in Ottawa: Archery Games

By Andrea Lie

Archery has been on our “to-try list” for a while now. We had the perfect opportunity to do so this weekend at the newly opened Archery Games, located at 1860 Bank St, Unit #3B near the corner of Bank Street and Walkley Road. 

My nieces, aged 10 and 12, had some prior archery experience while my 11-year-old daughter and I had none. We channeled our inner Katniss Everdeen and Once Upon a Time’s Snow White and headed to the facility.

We were greeted and asked to sign waivers, and we learned about what would happen in the next 75 minutes. The previous group’s game was well underway so we got to witness the arrows flying and the game in action. We were happy to learn you don’t need experience because you are given time to hit practice targets and learn how to properly hold your bow. Everyone’s first few tries were flops but we got the hang of it and began hitting the targets.

Brian Seto, Marketing Director and Co-Owner, explains, “It’s understandable to be nervous about being hit by an arrow but you soon realize it doesn’t hurt.” Any apprehension of it hurting is put to rest when you learn that the tips of the arrows are padded with marshmallow-shaped pads. You are offered an arm guard for your bow-holding arm to protect your skin from the recoil of the elastic band and you wear a paintball helmet during game play at all times. Inspection of the equipment is done regularly to ensure safety of the competitors and the Games Master explains and enforces the rules during the game.

While the girls and I were waiting I could see them eyeing the competition. They were a bit concerned about playing against adults. However, once the games began, I learned this was not a game of brawn, but a game of speed and skill. They had the advantage of hiding better behind the pillars and moving quickly. We played different games and learned new rules for each, switched teams and actually won a few. In the second half of the game we all began to be a bit more aggressive in our play. The taunting between us began and we laughed the entire time. 

Parents are always looking for new and fun ideas for birthday parties and this would be a crowd pleaser! There are large tables which can be used for food and cake and the birthday girl/boy will receive a free t-shirt. At present, you must be 10 and up to participate in the action at Archery Games which is largely due to the ability to be strong enough to fully draw the arrow. If you have a younger group, Brian invites you to contact him to try it out first. This activity would also be a great team-building experience or an active date night!

Each session costs $24 + tax and duration is 75 minutes total. You need 8 players minimum for a game and the maximum is 20 players. You can book yourself, a few people or reserve an entire game online. You’ll need clean running shoes and clothes you can move easily in – there is a lot of quickly trying to dodge arrows!

Let’s just say that my nieces and daughter told me that when I’m writing this article I should say only good things and that it was AWESOME from beginning to end. They have challenged their aunts and uncles to a game so we’ll be heading back. So there you have it - straight from the mouths of the youth – they recommend it! 

Thank-you to Archery Games for this fun experience. It was so fun!

Disclaimer: we got to try Archery Games for no cost. All opinions are my own AND my kids! :)