At the end of June, twelve of us gathered in Toronto for our second annual company retreat.

The first retreat in Mexico last year taught us several valuable lessons, and this year we were able to take it up a notch. We rented a large house near our favorite coworking space downtown, the CSI Annex. There, we booked a conference room and spent the first half of each day bonding over coffee, getting some work in, and generally doing what we each do in our home offices and coworking spaces—but with undeniably better company.

While we made a pretty detailed schedule for the week, the afternoons were left open. After coworking, some people continued working on their projects, others played video games (Diablo III, FIFA 2015, and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare were the hits of the week) or went shopping on Queen Street. In the evenings, we regrouped for team dinners at locally acclaimed restaurants like La Carnita and Terroni. One night, Larissa and Heidi made southern style shrimp and cheesy grits for the rest of the team with locally-sourced ingredients.

shrimp_and_grits

The evenings were also packed with fun activities. The first night everyone was in town, we went to a board-game pub called Snakes and Lagers to play Cards Against Humanity and Boss Monster (depending on your preference).

On a separate occasion, we tried our hand at an escape room. If you’re not familiar, escape rooms are real-life adventure games. Popularized in Asia, the concept has since migrated to North America. They’re fun, but challenging, too. The success rate of the one we attended, called “Escape from the Mysterious Room”, was a measly 3%. Though we came close to solving the puzzle, the timer ran out before we made our way through the final few clues.

At the end of the week, we also celebrated James’ birthday with a barbecue…and a party bus which took us to Dave and Busters!

james_wow

Yeah, James, we were excited, too!

We’ve already begun to plan the third annual retreat for 2016. Our goal for next year is to enable the whole team to join the fun by subsidizing flights and choosing a reliable, central location.

If you want to say hi next time you’re in Toronto, or you have any recommendations for what we should do while our team is in town next year, mention @phuseca on Twitter, or leave a comment below!

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