Archive | November, 2010

Volunteers are magic

26 Nov

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There is nothing more inspiring that watching the children from Magicana’s My Magic Hands program. I have been leading this particular program at Holland Bloorview for six years now, and I still can’t get over how amazing it is to see a young student blossom into a confident and charming performer.

Today, we had about 100 people in attendance at the hospital to see The Big Show – a show by students to showcase their favourite magic trick from five weeks of training with our My Magic Hands team. Each performer overcame nervous “butterflies” and really impressed their friends, family and, of course, their magic coaches with stellar performances! Watching these little ones transform over  week by week at the hospital is one of the most rewarding experiences I have had  as a professional magician.

However, as impressive as these children are to me, I also marvel at the power of volunteering and how it impacts participants. We create a supporting role for volunteers in the program by calling them “magic coaches” – and the coaches at Holland Bloorview filled their titles to a tee. We had four volunteers work alongside staff and magic instructors from Magicana, to coach each child through the rigour of learning their magic tricks. Volunteers dutiflly gave their time, energy and encouraging attitudes each week to support their young wards.

Getting up and performing in front of such a large group is a daunting task for most. In fact today, one participant wanted to withdraw from the show. It was heartwarming to see how coaches immediately pounced into action. They rallied behind our wavering magician and quickly melted her nervous fears, enabling her to work through the stage fright and ultimately, to bask in applause. I could not have been more proud.

The secret to our program is the high-level of dedicated volunteers that we have the privilege of working with. To all our volunteers, thank you for giving the invaluable gift of your time –  and for sharing wonder!

Julie Eng,
Executive Director

Gilda’s Club

22 Nov
David Ben

David Ben

We are delighted to announce that David Ben will be a featured performer Nov 22 at the 9th annual, “It’s Always Something!” – An Annual Evening of Comedy, Music and Dance in celebration and support of Gilda’s Club.

IT’S ALWAYS SOMETHING! benefits Gilda’s Club Greater Toronto which provides social and emotional support for anyone touched by cancer. The most STAR-STUDDED night of the year, IT’S ALWAYS SOMETHING! is an unprecedented combination of entertainment, celebrity and party. Buy tickets here.

Gilda’s Club is named in honor of Saturday Night Live comedian Gilda Radner, who died of ovarian cancer in 1989. Gilda dreamed that all people affected by cancer, as well as their families and friends, would have access to the same kind of emotional and social support that she received during her illness.

It is an honour to be a part of such an important cause and one that actively educates and supports people living with cancer and their families.



10 Nov

Camp Ooch, that is!

Magicana was back at camp over the Halloween weekend, in partnership with Camp Oochigeas and the Urban Ooch program.

Camp Oochigeas is a privately funded, volunteer-based organization that provides kids with cancer and kids affected by childhood cancer a unique opportunity for growth through challenging, fun, enriching and magical experiences.

Ooch, as the organization is affectionately known, has become an important resource for kids and their families and has grown beyond the summer days of camp. Now offering Urban Camps and Ooch in the City, Ooch called upon the magicians at Magicana for another version of “Boot Camp Magic Day”.

With such amazing participants and volunteers, how could we refuse?!

Urban Ooch 2010

Who wants to learn magic?!

On the perfect day for magic (Halloween) we learned, practiced and, believe it or not, we even performed!  23 campers ages eight to thirteen and 15 magic coaches, rolled up their sleeves, polished their magic wands and sprinkled quite a bit of whoofle-dust on Sunday in preparation for a Showcase of Magic.

These kids face immense challenges – ones that a child is not meant to see. It was very touching to see how hard campers worked despite these issues. It was even more moving to see camp volunteers (duly dubbed “Magic Coaches”) stand side-by-side with campers, cheering them on.

“The day was absolutely amazing from start to finish.  I can’t express to you the gratitude I feel for your generosity and passion in the work you did with our campers.  It was a really special thing to see them all get up in front of a crowd and perform at the end of the day, what an amazing experience for them.”

Chrissie Arnold
Ooch City Program Manager

Magicana thanks Julie Eng for leading this program and a special thanks to James Alan, Joe Culpepper and Suley Fattah for donating their weekend to make Ooch happen. We are proud to partner with such an amazing organization as Camp Ooch and look forward to our next outing together.

Charles Reynolds

5 Nov
Charles Reynolds

Charles Reynolds 1932 - 2010

It is heartbreaking to report that Charles Reynolds passed away on November 4, 2010. He was an amazing individual with a wealth of knowledge and experience; and a dear friend to Magicana. Charles was one of the inaugural guests of our 31 Faces North Conference which began in 2003. He was a 31FN Guest of Honour in 2005.


31 Faces North 2003. From left to right: John Carney, Jay Marshall, Charles Reynolds, John Thompson and Tommy Wonder

Charles was born on September 9, 1932 in Ohio and over the years studied television, theatre and photography. After moving to New York City, he eventually became the picture editor of “Popular Photography” magazine and became the Chairman of Photography Department of the School for Visual Arts.

Charles was also a fine magician. He befriended many legends of magic including Dai Vernon, Roy Benson and Charlie Miller. He was also the consultant to  Doug Henning for Henning’s television specials. Charles also consulted for Siegfried & Roy, Harry Blackstone Jr. and countless Broadway productions.

Charles was a warm, sharing and generous soul and leaves behind his beloved wife of forty years, Regina. He will be greatly missed by many.

Thank you to Levent for sharing details of Charles’s life.
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