Treasure hunters are a likable breed: Surly pirates combing tropical beaches for buried chests, or eccentric historians scanning British fields with metal detectors.
Now Toronto has a modern means to satisfy the hunter’s itch, right downtown. And you can do it during your work break.
“The idea is to run a number of public treasure hunts in the Toronto area, all free to the public,” explains Jim Cloughley, co-founder of Leisurerules Inc. “The business model is fueled by sponsors who are trying to drive foot traffic or web traffic to a specific location.
“Our new hunt is called PATH, and the winner gets $100,” adds Cloughley.
PATH is named after downtown’s indoor path system. That’s where the clues are, though the final object is somewhere outside. The first clue will be announced on the leisurerules website Monday at 7 a.m., online and on Twitter.
When you find all the clues, you’ve got a puzzle to unscramble. The answer is a public object. Be the first treasure hunter to take a picture of the object and post it on the site to win. The last hunt was for different letters to be unscrambled on a puzzle board.
The answer was the address, 115 King St. W. where there were ice sculptures of bears. Taking a picture of those bears was the way to win. For this kind of hunting, digital cameras are a must.
Interest has been rising steadily since the company started six months ago.
“Less than a hundred people took part in our first hunt,” says Cloughley, “but now there are over 800 people signed up. At first we were appealing to individuals who wanted something different to do on their lunch hours. But now there are people teaming up, making treasure-hunting groups. And families who are looking for something to do on the weekend are making their presence felt.”
These hunts will continue to mesh further with technology, introducing GPS systems. But Cloughley says he’s careful to not let the tech element get too overwhelming. However, some people are just too enthusiastic to deter.
“At noon exactly on Monday through Friday, we release clues,” says Cloughley. “The hardcore treasure hunters are there every time. They sometimes try to wrangle additional clues. Our last contest had 40 correct answers. Some people just guessed, I’m sure.”
• To get your hunt on, go to leisurerules.ca to register.