“You have 45 minutes. Good luck.”

With that, you and your friends are locked in a room. Your only hope of escape is to search the room for hidden clues that will eventually lead you to the key.

Welcome to Escape Manor – a new Ottawa entertainment business that puts you smack in the middle of a brain-testing puzzle, a live-action version of the virtual escape room games you can play online.

The clues can be anywhere, from writing on a wall to an object hidden in a book shelf to the very table you're leaning against. First you have to find them, then figure out what they mean.

“Everything is in play. Everything you lay your hands on. Everything you lay your eyes on might mean something to lead you to the next mystery,” says co-founder Billy Rogers. “Which leads you to the next mystery which leads you to the next mystery to eventually find a key to get out.”

Located in a non-descript office building on Queen Street, Escape Manor is the brainchild of Rogers and three other young, local entrepreneurs. They hope to capitalize on a trend that has proven popular in other cities in recent years. Theirs is the first escape room-style venture in Ottawa.

“We're open to the public next weekend. We're actually already sold out for the first two or three weeks," says Rogers.

For now, Escape Manor includes two different rooms. One is a death row prison cell where you start out handcuffed to the bars. The other is the cellar of a murderous winemaker. The owners also have plans for two more rooms in the near future.

The cost is $21 per person per room. Bookings can be for 2 to 6 people. There is a lounge with puzzle games and refreshments in which players can await their turn.

Once people go through Escape Manor they are, of course, encouraged to keep its secrets so as not to spoil it for others. “The first rule of Escape Manor is not to talk about Escape Manor,” says Rogers.

That’s assuming you can discover any secrets in the first place.

You have 45 minutes…