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Magic at SickKids

18 Jan

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Before we dispersed for the holidays, we had our first My Magic Hands workshop at SickKids with the adolescent medicine program.

The mission of SickKids is, “to inspire our communities to invest in health and scientific advances to improve the lives of children and their families in Canada and around the world”. Using our My Magic Hands program, we hope we successfully used magic as a teaching vehicle to improve the quality of life of young adults by building up their self-confidence and public speaking skills.

We received positive feedback from both the participants and their coaches/supervisors and look forward to future outings together in 2013.

A Year in Review

20 Dec

This year definitely passed us quickly, but not with inactivity! We still have a couple of secret projects up our sleeves, but for now, let’s take a look at the magical happenings of 2012.

My Magic Hands

Our little magicians were busy this year, as we reached a total number of 14 sessions for our My Magic Hands program. We reached a total of 252 kids through the combined efforts of our Magicana staff and 59 volunteers.

This year we partnered up with Valleyfield, Howlett Academy, Holland Bloorview Kid’s Rehabilitation Hospital, Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Toronto and Camp Oochigeas. Together, we delivered fun and educational sessions and workshops that used magic as a teaching vehicle to build confidence and self-esteem while developing creative problem-solving and public speaking skills. Each session challenges our students to perform at their Big Show, and this year, we performed in front of over 500 audience members!

Over the summer, we conducted two workshops in partnership with the Leacock Foundation for Children’s reading program, LEAP. We had a great time working with students from Rose Avenue, First Nations Public School and Derrydown Elementary School. We also had a successful run with our two special summer programs for Holland Bloorview’s Child Development Programs: Helping Hands and Hand 2 Hand for children affected with cerebral palsy and other challenges in the brain injury rehabilitation therapy program.

Our program’s focus on performance art helps strengthen each client’s less dominant hand throughout the camp. It was incredibly rewarding to see their hard work and progression in this accelerated summer session. We congratulate all our magicians and their ‘magic coaches’ for such an outstanding job!

Senior Sorcery

This year, we a hit a record of 52 Senior Sorcery shows for senior centres and residences. Magicana subsidizes these shows for centres under budgetary constraints to ensure that magic can be shared throughout the Greater Toronto Area and beyond! Performers went to St. Catherines, Barrie and even in the beautiful banks of Big Rideau Lake to perform a show!

We hope we created memorable feats of magic and excitement for seniors and residents and look forward to bringing magic to new centres in the new year.

Tony Eng Youth Fund

We are delighted to report that the Tony Eng Youth Fund was able to provide bursary awards this year. First, we granted Sawyer Bullock an award to attend the CAM convention (Canadian Association of Magicians) in Hamilton Ontario back in April.

We also funded the very first Tong Eng Memorial Lecture for the 2012 Tri-City 3 of Clubs Convention organized by members of Ring 183 – Tony’s hometown Ring in Victoria, BC – who arranged to have Joe Monti deliver a special 2 hour lecture for the convention. By all accounts – and in particular by talent coordinators, Murray Hatfield and Eric Bedard – Joe’s lecture was refreshing, funny and very-well received. We are thrilled to have had an opportunity to participate and congratulate Ring 183 on a great job.

We are also reviewing submissions we received for Magi-Fest Youth Scholarship 2013. Final decisions will be announced after the holidays.

Luminato 6

For our third year of bringing magic to Luminato, we presented the Mind Over Matter magic series bringing three master magicians – Banachek, Richard Turner and Juan Esteban Varela – to Toronto.

All three, in their own unique presentations, addressed how magic is essentially delivered and perceived through the power of the mind. Needless to say, each magician “blew minds” away and we were delighted with the series.

Magic Collectors Weekend

In May, we hosted the 43rd Annual Collectors Weekend in Chicago where we honoured guests, James Hagy and Richard Kaufman. It was a jam-packed weekend of lectures, talks, and reflection.

With the advent of more and more magic history conferences being organized, we have opted to move to a biennial format with our next Magic Collectors Weekend slated for 2014.

Magicol

We had rave reviews come in from our two Magicol, A Journal of Magic History and Collectibles, issues this year: No. 182 “Alma” (the special Australian magic edition) and No. 183 “Joy of Posters” (our Poster Issue).

While we are a little behind, rest assured we have our forthcoming two issues queued up, so keep your eyes peeled for the latest news!

New Websites

And last but not the least, we have been very busy re-launching new websites to accomodate our growing membership and evolving programs. Please feel free to explore our new homes in the cyberspace. We always appreciate any feedback you can give us.

  • Mystery & History: the new site for the latest Magicol news and updates.
  • Tony Eng Youth Fund: the one stop hot spot for young magicians to see what opportunities and bursaries are available in their area.
  • Senior Sorcery: Now with its own blog! See what’s new in senior health and read up on reviews we’ve been getting from pleased centres and residences.

… And thanks to you!

We would like to take this moment to thank our donors and sponsors whose generous funding allows us to provide service to our local neighbourhood and the magic community at large. Without your support, none of this would be possible.

So, as it has been such a magical year, we are now taking a little break for the holiday season. Our office will be closed December 24 and reopen on January 2.

Last call for the Magi-Fest Youth Scholarship 2013!

5 Dec

You only have a few weeks left!

Submit your essays now for a chance to win a bursary to attend the Magi-Fest 2013 convention at the Crowne Plaza, Dublin, Ohio from January 24 to 26, 2013. Deadline for submission is on December 10, 2012, 11:59 PM, EST. 

Magicana’s Tony Eng Youth Fund and Magi-Fest are partnering up to deliver Magi-Fest Youth Scholarship 2013.

The Columbus Magi-Fest is one of the oldest and most significant magic gatherings in the world. It is an 83-year old tradition that has fostered and helped develop the careers of young magicians. The festival includes youth-only events in which international headline performers work directly with young magicians on their acts. Additionally, lectures, shows and workshops are held where attendees can learn about the experiences and knowledge of  professional magicians.

To apply:

We invite passionate young magicians to submit a short essay (500 words or less) on why they would like to attend and what they hope to gain from attending this event. In addition to the essay, you will also need the following to qualify:

  • to be a Canadian aged 12 to 17 years old;
  • to have parent/guardian consent; and
  • to be in possession of valid passport(s) –  a must have for both travellers upon application.

All qualifying submissions will be reviewed by a blind panel of judges (judges will not know names nor ages) and a winner will be selected. Winners will be notified by phone and email.

Do it now!

If you meet the above requirements, then send us an email (info@magicana.com) including your name, age, city of residence, telephone number and a short essay on why you’d like to attend and what you hope to gain from going to the 2013 MagiFest. To be a qualifying submission, we must be able to contact your parent or guardian so be sure to include their telephone number!

For more information, please visit this link.

Congratulations to Genii’s 75th Birthday Bash!

10 Oct

Genii Bash

We’d like to congratulate the stellar team behind Genii’s 75th Birthday Bash for delivering an outstanding magic convention.  The Genii’s 75th Anniversary Birthday Bash was held at the Florida Hotel and Conference Center in Orlando, last October 4, 5 and 6 2012, with a final count of 800 plus attendees!

Featured events included Magicana’s Artistic Director, David Ben making a rare convention appearance by lecturing on the Coin Magic of Ross Bertram and performing  in the parlour show with Max Maven, Chad Long, Eric Mead, and Rob Zabrecky.  And those were just two events of the jam-packed Genii Bash schedule. Starting at 8 AM right up to midnight lectures, the magic never stopped – it was simply  filled to the brim with lectures and performances by so many of our favourite magicians.

Were you there?! We were very happy to see so many of our dear friends and to meet many more new ones! It was truly a great convention that rightfully honoured one of the oldest, independent magic magazines.

Everyone’s buzzing about their favourite moments of the weekend. If you’d like to contribute, you can write about your favourite moment in our comment box below. 

Happy Birthday Genii!

Magic, Secrets and Wizards…. Oh My!

7 May

Forgive the lag in the postings, but HOLY MOLY have we been busy!

First, we congratulate, once again, our Tony Eng Youth Fund Winner, Jennifer Antonioof Winnipeg. She won an all-expense paid trip from Winnipeg to Kitchener-Waterloo to attend this year’s Canadian Magician’s Association’s (CAM) 2010 convention. Read all about it here.  We are thrilled that this talented young lady was able to attend a national conference, accompanied by her father, Richard, thanks to the generous support of Kent Wong of Edmonton, the CAM and all the supporters and donors of the Tony Eng Youth Fund.

Next, we were delighted to be contacted by our long-time partner, The York School, to provide magic for the annual Grade 7 and 8, Challenge Week, this week May 3 to 7.

Each year, 13 to 15 York School students are secreted away to an undisclosed location and given an intensive, introductory program to performing magic. This year, in addition to the chockful schedule, we also added new guest speakers, ‘Vladimir Eisengrim’ of The Paranormal Show and magician, Scott McClelland. The shocking and bizarre magic was a great lesson to underscore to our students that knowing the secret is a small part of performing great magic! In addition to learning some crafty magic, students also learned valuable tips and tricks of the trade to being great presenters. We hope these life-skills will serve our students in the future.

Congratulations to this year’s York Challenge Students. They not only survived ‘Boot Camp Magic’ by Magicana, but they also successfully performed six shows for the Lower School at York and for the senior residents at The Belmont House! No small achievement! We applaud this year’s graduates for meeting this difficult challenge with energy and enthusiasm. May the magic continue on in your Magic Hands!

Finally, we are thrilled to announce that Magicana will be hosting the 41st annual Magic Collectors Weekend in Chicago, where we are honouring Mike Caveney and George Daily.  We are only five days away from the big event, which will be held May 13 to 16 at the Westin O’Hare in Rosemont (Chicago).

If you have a slight (or, is that sleight?) interest in collecting magic, magic’s history or great magicians of the past, you may want to consider joining the Magic Collectors Association. Magicana is the new administrative body taking care of the MCA, its membership and its quarterly publication of Magicol – a serial journal that has been produced and shared with members for fifty years.

So, all in all, the last three weeks have been very busy, but also pretty magical!

We will have more news about Lumainato and the Masters of Magic Series (June 17 to 20), so, be sure to check back soon.

The Year in Review

11 Dec

In 2009, Magicana shared a lot of wonder:

My Magic Hands

We completed 14 rounds of My Magic Hands engaging 200 participants, over 100 volunteers! Participants provided their versions of The Big Show to over 800 community members. Thanks to the generosity of our donors and sponsors, we were able to provide the program to over 180 participants free of charge.

We provided our magic classes to a wide range of community and family agencies across the Greater Toronto Area, including:

Without a doubt, the program would not be possible without our volunteers, affectionately referred to as our “Magic Coaches”. Thanks to our partners, we were able to create and build upon important relationships between our volunteers and participants. A quote from one of our volunteers:

“My favourite moment during My Magic Hands was when my buddy turned to me randomly to say, “I love learning magic with you.”

Volunteer at the Welcome Inn in Hamilton

In The Community

Magicana also provided 42 shows for over 2,000 community members through our Sharing Wonder and Senior Sorcery programs.

These programs focus on bringing magic to those who may not necessarily have access to live magic shows, with a particular concentration on servicing isolated senior centres. The sad reality is that many centres do not have adequate budgets to provide fees for live entertainment. Magicana’s Senior Sorcery program contributes by asking centres to “pay-what-you-can” and in exchange, we arrange magic shows – and funding assistance, when necessary. A quote from a senior’s residence:

“I just wanted to take a minute to tell you what a wonderful performance you gave at our retirement home. It was very well-paced, with just the right combination of storytelling, sleight-of-hand and humour … I have received many compliments since.”

Susan Blye, Activities Director at The Briton House

We were thrilled to add new magicians to our roster of performers including Mark Lewis and Wij the Magician. These gentlemen – along with Magicana performers Julie Eng and James Alan – provided magic, laughs and of course, wonder.

Sharing Magic with Magicians

Throughout the year, we produced several magic lectures and workshops by visiting magicians including John Carney, Norman Beck, David Soloman and Richard Turner. We also hosted our annual conference, 31 Faces North, which was co-hosted by Allan Slaight. This year at 31 Faces North we had two guest of honours: Michael Weber and Bob Sheets. Mr. Weber was also the recipient of the Jay Marshall Award, voted as the most contributory participant by his peers.

Our Tony Eng Youth Fund sponsored several young magicians as we reported in previous blogs, and we were delighted to see a formal partnership bond with magician, Kent Wong and the Canadian Association of Magicians for our latest contest, a chance to win a FREE trip to the 2010 CAM convention in Kitchener-Waterloo including return airfare and hotel accommodations. We are indebted to Mr. Wong and to the CAM for their sponsorship and commitment to youths interested in magic.

This fall, Magicana became the stewards of the Magic Collectors’ Association (MCA) taking over the responsibility of publishing a quarterly journal, Magicol, and producing its annual convention, traditionally hosted in Chicago. Magicana is delighted with the new role and is currently conjuoring many other surprises for MCA members. Membership is open to anyone and is available here. Join now!

Entering the Blogosphere

David Ben Blog Tricks & TweetsThe Magical ChatterboxSharing Wonder Blog

Finally, we got it together to bring you more blogs! In addition to our own Sharing Wonder Blog, Magicana is delighted to now provide at the encouragement of the Johnson Family, The Magical Chatterbox, A Blog by Sid Lorraine.

We were also delighted to support our Artistic Director, David Ben, in his effort to write a weekly blog, Tricks & Tweets.

Thank you!

Well, that’s just a small sample of our activities summary and we invite you to visit our blog archive to learn more about the exciting things we were able to accomplish this year.

We are so thankful to all of you, our faithful blog readers, to keeping us motivated to maintain this steady stream of updates.

We are very excited to announce that in 2010, Magicana plans to share even more wonder! We have many secrets up our sleeves from publications to public performances. Our blog readers and eListers will always be the first in the know.

So for now, we will sign off for the year and wish all of you a very happy holiday season and we look forward to sharing wonder with you in January!

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