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10 Canada-Based Team-Building Companies to Shake Up Your Virtual Meetings

Looking for some out-of-the-box ideas for team bonding or a virtual meeting break? These Canadian companies offer a wide variety of creative options.

Abbey Road Entertainment Virtual Casino Nights
Abbey Road Entertainment provides virtual casino nights.
Screenshot: Courtesy of Abbey Road Entertainment

While more Canadians may potentially return to offices in the near future, the need for team-building activities—particularly when employees have been physically apart for so long—is more important than ever. Virtual team building is not only a great way to break up a meeting; it's also a fun way to connect team members from various regions and unlock new opportunities to strengthen company culture.

Here’s our round-up of Canadian organizations delivering virtual services that can bring your team-building activities to the next level. 

Catalyst Canada
The Canadian chapter of Catalyst Team Building has hosted over 3,750 events since February 2020, and has developed over 170 total team-building activities—including 24 virtual options. These include remote well-being and mindfulness exercises, 60-second improvisation games, a feature film-pitching challenge, a Greek mythology-themed business strategy competition, and a series of musical jam sessions. The company also offers various introductory icebreakers and morning energizer activities to keep teams engaged and motivated during daily meetings. 

Outback Team Building 
Founded in Vancouver, Outback has evolved from a paddling and hiking expedition company to an event services provider offering custom team building, training, development, coaching and consulting programs. With 60 programs available, the company offers numerous online activities, including a virtual Clue Murder Mystery challenge and a Team Pursuit game that poses various mental, physical and miscellaneous skill challenges for participants to overcome. A new corporate social responsibility-focused activity is set to launch in 2021. 

“While there are many benefits that come with working remotely, engagement and social interactions have taken a nose-dive in many organizations,” says CEO Murray Seward. “Virtual team-building activities help re-spark those connections between colleagues and build stronger bonds. They help make up for those impromptus conversations and outings you used to have with your colleagues. They help you keep social while social distancing!”

Conundrum's Virtual 'Exit Plan' GameConundrum's virtual “Exit Plan” game provides an exciting escape room challenge.Screenshot: Courtesy of ConundrumConundrum 
These Toronto-based team-building experts provide virtual quiz, escape room, scavenger hunt, murder mystery and mixer activities via custom mobile apps, with options to include online hosts and event staff. Its popular “It’s Hip To Be Square'' quiz game was designed to give teams the feel of a traditional trivia night out; the “Exit Plan” virtual escape room game invites groups to work together to solve clues and puzzles; and next month’s new “St. Paddy’s Day Scramble'' mixer event will offer fun, festive Irish-themed challenges. Outside of the Greater Toronto area, the company offers indoor and outdoor in-person events at venues in Blue Mountain, Hamilton, Ottawa, London, Niagara Falls and Calgary. 

“Companies have realized that connecting people that are geographically separated in a fun, engaging way is very beneficial to overall team morale,” says co-owner Lynn Ferguson-Pinet. “Platforms delivering engaging virtual events are also expanding daily, which will provide us with even more opportunities to create new and engaging adventures that would not have been possible pre-COVID-19. We anticipate that once things return to 'normal,' virtual events might comprise as much as 20-25% of our overall business.”

Retreatify 
This Toronto-based technology start-up, which specializes in curating corporate retreats and events, launched a virtual activities and workshops service to help colleagues maintain relationships and boost morale during quarantine last April. The service enables companies to organize a variety of events, from 10-minute energy-boosting sessions to immersive multiday workshops designed to enhance productivity and provide a social outlet for employees throughout their work week. Virtual activities available through the platform include workshops led by TED speakers, yoga and meditation sessions, home workouts, games and trivia challenges, musical performances, wine tastings and leadership seminars. 

Abbey Road Entertainment  
Based in North York, this team has evolved from a karaoke and casino table rental service to a full-service event management company. Online events can be customized for team-building days, corporate gatherings, group fundraisers, and conferences or seminars. Virtual team-building programs include trivia, bingo or game show nights, painting and caricature art activities, illusionist shows, mixology demonstrations and lavish Las-Vegas-style casino nights. 

“The two most important pieces for a successful virtual activity are the interactivity and sociability for the guests,” says CEO Mark Katz. “[Our Virtual Casino Experience] checks both those boxes, allowing the guests to schmooze with each other in smaller groups and be continuously playing and engaging at the casino for some great prizes. Other potential segments that can be incorporated include live magicians, DJs and Flair Bartenders.”

Teambonders' Family Feud Virtual GameWith Teambonders, teams can connect for a virtual Family Feud-style face-off.Screenshot: Courtesy of TeambondersTeambonders 
More than 40 different types of team-building activities are available through this Toronto-based group of corporate event creators and facilitators. Virtual events can accommodate up to 1,000 participants, and organizers can run multiple team sessions at a time. Virtual programs include custom-themed Family Feud- and other game show-style competitions, live chef and mixology demonstrations, and team-wide talent show presentations. Teams can also book online keynote lectures or leadership skill development workshops and integrate a charitable cause component into the event.    

“I believe that live events will come roaring back, possibly in the late fall,” says chief creative officer Jake Mandel. “Hybrid-style events will bridge that gap too, but the allure of a quick, one-hour, collaborate-from-anywhere, entertaining and engaging option with no travel required will be a strong option forever. Virtual events are here to stay in some capacity, and they will get even better as the technology gets better."

Luminous Elephant
This event space hosts art classes, retreats and team-building events from Vancouver’s Granville Island. Virtual workshops are available via webinars and video conferencing from the studio’s stage. All supplies are shipped out to participants in advance, and instructors are available to stagger sessions across multiple time zones to accommodate participants joining from anywhere. Example activities include creating terrariums in vintage glass jars, a paint-your-own-Pokemon event and urban sketching sessions. 

Beyond Team Building 
A new division of Team Building Montreal Ottawa Quebec, this team pivoted from traditional in-person events to virtual offerings within a month after the COVID-19 lockdown last March. The company has since provided over 15,000 participants with more than 250 virtual programs, including International Pub Quiz, an online trivia championship, and the eMazing Race, a virtual Amazing Race-style game inviting participants to solve clues across global locations via Google Maps and 360-degree video rooms.  

“With more people wanting to continue working from home post-pandemic and the new tools allowing for videoconferencing with ease, we expect the demand for programs for co-workers from around the country or around the world, to continue,” says vice president and director of operations Marc Bartschat. “We have already had a few examples of branches playing against each other competing for bragging rights, and co-workers from Asia, Europe and North America playing at the same time.”

Slixer's Virtual Murder Mystery GameA Slixer host guides team members through a puzzling murder mystery.Screenshot: Courtesy of SlixerSlixer 
Collaborating with a global network of virtual event planners, this fun-first entertainment company launched a virtual team-building platform designed to raise the spirits of co-workers and groups in quarantine. Virtual programs include an Arctic escape survival game, a globetrotting scavenger hunt and an astronomy-themed outer space mission—plus trivia, murder mystery and escape room activities. Online events can also include custom corporate branding, media and key messages on company updates, while hybrid options enable participants to join remotely or in small groups. 

Summit Team Building
This St. Catharines-based team focuses on helping groups reach their full potential through team building, training workshops and keynote presentation events. Activities include "Here's to You," a team member appreciation forum; "Play it Forward," an entrepreneurial challenge; and "Desert Survival," a life and death escape adventure. Virtual team-building sessions run from one-to-two hours for flexible group sizes. 

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