After a lot of thought I’ve decided to add a blog to the Battle City Tactical Laser Tag website. This will help to get important information about events and specials, feature some awesome group experiences I’ve had, and I may even add some crazy experiences my team faces.
I figured the best way to start this blog is an introduction…
My name is Justin and I am the owner of Battle City. I opened the business back in 2019 after operating an Escape Room business called Break Out Zone in Oshawa for a few years before. My professional background prior to this included working with police, victim services and managing emergency services for a university in Toronto. I’m also involved in group home and foster care programs.
I grew up in Oshawa and moved around the GTA for many years for work, before landing in Whitby for a while. I moved back to Oshawa when I re-opened the outdoor venue for Battle City; so I would say I’m a true Oshawanian lol.
Operating my own business (laser tag and escape rooms) has been one of the best experiences of my life, but at times it has been difficult with so many road blocks. Trying to get through the red tape of permits and zoning, dealing with negative competition and the nightmare of commercial landlords. On the positive side I have been able to meet so many people and offer them an experience to remember.
Battle City started as a new venture, expecting to open for March Break in 2019 at the Oshawa Centre in the old Sears Hardware building. The mall accepted the proposed business plan, confirming everything was good to go as per the plan (including zoning). As we stepped closer to opening I submitted an application to the City of Oshawa for a permit to put up our signage, which is when I was advised by the city that the building was not zoned under the Ontario Building Code for an “amusement” type business. I was in disbelief, as mall management advised me that the building was zoned for the required use. After a very long and expensive process of obtaining additional permits, visits from architects and engineers to create blue-prints of the building, making changes to the building and more, I finally received thumbs up to open in May 2019. The struggles didn’t end here as mall management decided displaying our laser tag equipment in pictures, advertisements or even as silhouette graphics on our signs went against their policies, so we had to change how we presented our modern and state-of-the-art tactical laser tag experience. Following several months of issues with mall management it was decided Battle City would relocate to another location, closing the Oshawa Centre venue at the end of December 2019. As my team prepared to open our new location 3-months later the government announced provincial lockdowns due to covid. Luckily, Battle City was able to operate outdoors so after taking a well deserved break our Mobile Laser Tag service was launched in the late summer of 2021. As covid started to slow down I made the decision to open a new venue and after looking at many, decided on our current outdoor location in North Oshawa across from the Oshawa Airport.
Our current venue has been a great success for Battle City, but still with a lot of issues. The property was not maintained very well and a lot of work was required to make it what it is today.
As the battle moves forward I continue to keep my head up, keep moving forward and staying positive so that I can continue to offer my family, friends, neighbours and community the best laser tag experience available.