The Orillia-Opoly board game is available this week exclusively at Walmart.
The game based on Monopoly is set in Orillia with familiar locations on the board such as Bass Lake Provincial Park, Lakehead University, Blue Beacon Marina, and many others.
The game was created by Canadian-owned and operated Outset Media who acquired the rights to make Monopoly-themed games over two years ago. Since then, the company has made games to celebrate neighbouring communities such as Barrie and Collingwood.
“We started with larger cities such as Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, and Calgary, but our best-selling game in the first 12 months was Sarnia-Opoly,” said Jean-Paul Teskey, senior vice-president of Outset Media.
“It seemed like mid-sized communities embraced the idea far more than larger communities, so we now have 150 different communities across Canada that we are doing this with, and I just thought Orillia would be a perfect fit given the size of the city and the fact that people often vacation there.”
Teskey says local businesses don’t pay to land a spot on the board. Instead, Outset Media has a team that works out of Victoria who researches the cities they model games after.
“For this game in particular, I’m based out of Toronto and I have family in Orillia, so I was somewhat familiar with the area,” Teskey said.
Orillia residents can expect to find many homegrown local businesses, parks, and landmarks on the Orillia-Opoly board that is, of course, modelled after the iconic Monopoly board.
“It’s not just West Street, Front Street, or Colborne Street that are featured, we feature Studabakers Beachside Restaurant, for example. We try to make the game very custom for people who live in Orillia or vacation there,” Teskey said.
Teskey says the feedback from other city-themed games has been positive.
“Monopoly is the best-selling game of all time, people love playing it, and to be able to play a game that everyone in the family knows how to play but with locations that they live right around is really unique,” Teskey said.
Only 700 Orillia-Opoly games are made at a time, which makes it a rare collector’s item for Orillians. The game is priced at $29.97 and can be purchased in-store or, eventually, online.
“It’s only available for a limited time and each year we come up with new locations to feature, which makes it an interesting, limited-time buy,” Teskey said.
Orillia Mayor Steve Clarke says he 'loves' that the Sunshine City is being featured on a world-renowned board game.
"This is a very unique way to showcase our city and the area to those outside, and for our citizens to play the game and feel pride about Orillia. We are so fortunate in that we have so many wonderful landmarks in our community," Clarke said.
Clarke says he looks forward to playing the game himself.
"I very much look forward to sitting down, playing the game, and pretending to let members of my family win. Ok, the reality is, they will have to be the charitable ones," Clarke said with a laugh.
"This is a good news story at any time, but especially good news during the throes of a pandemic.”