Hide and seek in the urban jungle

Manhunters play a game of cat and mouse on Victoria streets

Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson

The narrow alcoves hidden in the back alleys of colourful Chinatown provide an ideal setting for one of the biggest games of urban hide-and-seek Victoria’s ever seen.

ManHunt – described as a mix of tag, parkour and hide-and-seek – celebrates its 100th game Sunday (March 13). 

Organizers hope more than 100 players will be running, dodging and hiding around Centennial Square, Market Square and Chinatown.

“It’s getting to be pretty popular because it’s so much fun,” said Eric Anderson, who organized the first game nearly three years ago as a way to meet new people.

“I’d played a game of ManHunt in Vancouver right before I moved to Victoria. Everyone enjoyed it and I met some great people there.”

Now, 99 games later, Anderson’s social circle is bigger.

Open to regulars and newcomers, ManHunt has simple rules: All players wear a yellow armband. The game lasts 45 minutes. Last man standing wins.

Anderson says the best strategy for the game is to move around as much as possible so you’re always on your toes. And what’s the best way to avoid being tagged?

“Everyone plays a little differently, but I try and do things that people don’t expect. I like to dodge a lot and hop fences that I’m not sure what’s on the other side,” he said. 

“There’s a lot of deception involved, like hiding under an umbrella in the rain to look like pedestrian, or sitting in a bus shelter reading the paper. It’s a good mix of being tricky and being quick.”

The 100th hunt kicks off at 3 p.m. in Centennial Square with rules and waivers, as well as a game of rock, paper, scissors to determine who’ll start as the manhunter. The game is open to all ages.

Previous hunts have taken players through Beacon Hill Park, Upland Park, the University of Victoria and Mayfair Shopping Centre.

“We haven’t had a single problem. Everyone comes out with the best intentions, which is to just have fun playing a good game of ManHunt,” Anderson said.

For more information search ManHunt Victoria on Facebook or visit www.manhuntvictoria.blogspot.com.

kslavin@saanichnews.com