An OG ’90s Baby Re-Lives Her Childhood at Nostalgic Pop-up Experience HideSeek

By Stephanie Philbin

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Our wind-down recommendations are a great way to forget about a grueling work day. This week, jump into the ultimate ball pit of your childhood dreams.

When: On now until June 2, 2019

What it is: HideSeek is a nostalgic pop up experience inspired by childhood memories.

Where it’s located: 1305 Dundas St. West. Toronto, ON M6J 1X8

Why visit: Plain and simple: to feel like a kid again! This pop-up experience is created to evoke excitement every time a guest steps into each of the 12 interactive rooms—and does it ever. From inflatable couches to a slinky room, this experience will have you wondering why you ever wanted to grow up so fast.


Created as a “Real Life Recess,” HideSeek was developed to remind us that no matter what age we are, we all should take time to de-stress and play.  Each room has a different theme and interactive sensory experience. While half a dozen similar experiences have made their way to Toronto, none had the consistency and vision followed through quite like the team at Hideseek.

From Frosted Flakes to blow up furniture or glow-in-the-dark stars to re-imagined high school bleachers, there’s something for everybody.


The minute I walk in the door off Dundas Street West, the experience begins. AQUA’s “Barbie Girl” is playing through the speakers and the ambiance was set before I even entered the exhibit.

When you start, guests enter into a hallway full of butterflies that look exactly like the colourful butterfly clips I used to wear (and love) as a kid. Everything in the experience is made to be touched, photographed, and admired but I warn you not to experience it all through a phone lens or you will miss the details.  Of course every room is made to get the most #instaworthy pictures but I urge you to experience the room first, take it all in, catch the feels and then do it for the ‘gram.

The first room is full of chrome bubbles of every imaginable size on the ceiling, walls and floor, which can be bounced, thrown around or kicked. The most sensory experience follows this which leads into a long hallway of beaded curtains (arguably ’70s style) that can be best described as an immersive sensory overload. Between the sound of walking through all of them and having to touch all of them to navigate through, you will want to go back for more.

Instagram will load in the frontend.

I don’t want to give all the rooms away but if you like the colour pink, you will be in heaven like I was and if you are a fan of ball pits, I would buy your tickets immediately.

The entire hour I was in HideSeek, I had a giddy smile slapped across my face and forgot any stresses from the outside world. When speaking with the creators, they said that the feeling of play and carelessness was so important to them because as an adult there are so many serious things that happen in our lives so to have that organic fun careless play even for an hour is something they would love for everyone to experience.  

They go on to say that with childhood nostalgia everyone had different childhoods so it was hard to recreate universal memories and they were more focused on reinventing a feeling. It’s all about recreating that carefree bliss and remembering what it was like to play, have fun, and to be silly.

I’d say after having to be dragged out of the ball pit because I didn’t want to leave, they achieved their goal.

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