PORT HAWKESBURY: A local musician is looking to bring a different kind of fun to town.

Liam Brophy was one of three finalists in the Start-Up Port Hawkesbury competition last year with his pitch to open Island Enigmas, an escape room and game shop. Despite not taking home the top prize, Brophy impressed enough people with his pitch that plans took shape and he is now close to opening on Granville Street.

“My sister in-law designs escape rooms in Ottawa,” said Brophy, noting a plan to open an escape room a few years ago didn’t pan out. “After that, we had talked about it a few times but the right opportunity never came up. Then when the Start-Up Port Hawkesbury program came out and we decided this was a good time to approach it in a different way.”


By different, Brophy decided to attach a tabletop gaming shop and space to capitalize on the growing popularity of gaming, noting combining the two ideas will help make Island Enigmas viable.

The new business will feature two escape rooms, with one titled the observation room, meant for two people to navigate in the dark, and “The Dragon’s Lair,” where adventurous folks have an hour to solve riddles and maybe leave with some of the dragon’s treasure.

“Depending on how bookings go, around every three or four months, we’re going to switch the rooms up,” he said. “There’s going to be a theme change so everybody can come and play again.”

On the gaming side of things, there will be games available for sale, as well as a gaming space where people can play.

“We want it to be available to everybody most of the time and then we’re looking at something where people can rent it out and have their own sort of party or get together here,” he said. “There is lots of space for it. We just want to make sure we have enough space for any regulars so we don’t exclude people when it’s being rented out.”

Brophy thanked a number of bodies, including Eastern Strait Regional Enterprise Network, InRich Community Business Development Corporation, and the Town of Port Hawkesbury, all of which he called instrumental in getting his business off the ground.

Following January’s Port Hawkesbury Town Council meeting, Mayor Chisholm-Beaton said she is pleased to hear Island Enigmas is opening.

“So we already have the winner and the runner-up who are going to be opening their doors in the near future. So it’s certainly a wonderful indicator that the Start-Up Port Hawkesbury initiative was a tremendous success,” said Chisholm-Beaton at the time.

As of press time, Island Enigmas is set to open on February 14.