Pokemon Go better than Tinder, says new Ottawa couple

As the Pokemon Go game picks up steam in Ottawa some players have their eyes on more than just Pikachu. They're forming relationships with other players who share their love for the digital pocket monsters.

'You have to get out of the house to play so you don't have a choice but to talk to people'

Patrick Toutain said he tried other dating apps with no luck and ended up meeting Chelsea Lemire through Pokemon Go. (CBC News)

Some Pokemon Go players in Ottawa have their eyes on more than just Pikachu with one enthusiast comparing the game to Tinder - a popular dating application.

As the smartphone game picks up steam in the city relationships are forming between players who share a love for the digital pocket monsters.

"I've tried Plenty of Fish, I've tried Tinder, OKCupid nothing no luck whatsoever and then right away with Pokemon Go I met someone," said Patrick Toutain.

The 26-year-old Algonquin college student said he first noticed his new girlfriend 23-year-old Chelsea Lemire on a chat board about the game about two weeks ago. They met up to play at Dow's Lake and said they have been inseparable ever since.

Don't have to worry about breaking the ice

"A lot of us grew up with it so to meet somebody else that kind of had the same childhood growing up with it you instantly connect," said Lemire.

"And also you have to get out of the house to play so you don't have a choice but to talk to people," she added.

The game, which officially launched in Canada on Sunday, involves players hunting for pokemon in real life spaces. The mythical monsters appear onscreen when users hold up their smartphones in various locations at various times of the day. Before Sunday, Canadians had to find workarounds to play the game north of the 49th parallel.
Confederation Park is a hot spot for Pokemon Go players who gather in the shade while they hunt for rare Pokemon (CBC News)

Toutain and Lemire joined at least 100 other players at Confederation Park on Monday for a gathering that a gaming expert said is becoming more common.

Expert not surprised

There's a feature in the game that draws more pokemon into public spaces, explained to Vicky McArthur, a professor in the Institute of Communication Culture Information and Technology at the University of Toronto.

McArthur said these 'lure parties' are an opportunity for people to catch rare pokemon, and as it turns out, the eye of other players as well.

"Maybe this is kind of a niche that dating apps can't quite meet," said McArthur.

"It's one of the most downloaded apps across I'm not surprised that it's found this other market that maybe wasn't currently being met."

With files from The Canadian Press