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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.

Big Brothers, Big Sisters AND BIG MAGIC!

20 Aug

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Magicana held a magic day camp for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Toronto this past Weekend, Saturday, August 18.

We salut the BBBST’s philosophy of mentoring and its life-changing effects to empower and motivate youth to reach their full potential.  The mandate of My Magic Hands has always been to use magic as a metaphor in problem-solving and creative thinking while, building self-confidence and self-esteem.

As a result, we find that our volunteers, or “magic coaches”, really are the secret ingredient in success for  participants as they learn magic feats throughout the day. The one-on-one attention, focus and encouragement is educational but most of all the bonding that is built between Bigs and Littles is what this day was all about.

Congratulations to all our participants and to their Bigs for sharing wonder with their Littles!

Happy Holidays

15 Dec

Happy Holidays

Hard to believe, but here we are at the end of another magical year. When we look back, it’s even harder to believe we had time to fit it all in:

My Magic Hands

We just finished last week our last of fourteen sessions of My Magic Hands, watching the outstanding performers from Lawrence Heights Middle School (coached by their “buddies” from Havergal College) and from Holland Bloorview Kids Rehab Hospital . Both shows were really extraordinary – reminding the audience how powerful the magic of mentorship and self-esteem really is. Congratulations to all our new graduates and to their coaches.

We broke new records with My Magic Hands, presenting the program to the entire Grade Five year of Queen Victoria Junior Public School (over 100 students in four classrooms) over eight weeks. The traditional end-of-session Big Show became A Very Big Show, where each Grade Five class presented FOUR simultaneous shows to the lower grade students. It was extraordinary effort by both student magicians and their teachers.

In partnership with the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), we also presented a new program, Magic ‘n Movies – a week-long camp mixing magic and movie making into one fun-filled program.

We were also thrilled to have our third outing with Camp Ooch’s Urban Camp – a one-day camp (workshop) hosted in the city. For five intense hours, Ooch campers were taught some magic secrets. The goal was to teach  thirty campers magic routines so they could put on their version of A Big Show for friends and family at the end of the day. WOW, it never ceases to amaze the energy that this group can generate! The show was terrific.

Over the summer, we conducted three magic workshops in partnership with the Leacock Foundation for Children’s reading program, LEAP.

We also brought two special summer programs to Holland Bloorview’s Child Development Programs: Helping Hands and Hand 2 Hand. These  workshops encouraged young people to strengthen their “helping” hands. In particular, Hand 2 Hand  – a new program working with clients diagnosed with Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy – allowed us to use our experience to explore new arts-driven activities to bring therapeutic benefits to clients. It was a very rewarding summer!

Senior Sorcery

We also completed  35 Senior Sorcery shows for senior centres and residences. Magicana subsidized a number of shows for centres under budgetary constraints to ensure magic could be shared throughout the Greater Toronto Area.

Festivals, Performances & Conferences

We consulted (Ross Petty’s The Wizard of Oz, the Wickedly Wacky Family Musical), we collaborated (Luminato Fesitval) and we produced.

In fact, Magicana presented four new shows this year: Natural Magick, Vodavil, and Toast of the Town in conjunction with Luminato Festival of the Arts; and Piff Paff Poof during March Break.

In May, we hosted the 42nd Annual Collectors Weekend in Chicago and honoured guests: Dr. Gene Matsuura and Ray & Ann Goulet.

Exhibitions & Publications

In November, we launched a new online exhibition: Everything Erdnase exploring the many variants of  The Expert at the Card Table.

Finally, we released two new publications:  A Cut Above by Msgr Vincent Foy in April, and Erdnase Unmasked this past month. We are just one issue away of producing four issues of Magicol, A Journal of Magic History and Collectibles. If the elves in the workshop can help, we will have our final 2011 issue, No. 181, at the printers this week.

Thank you for being a part of our journey. Without the generous support of our donors and sponsors, none of this would have been 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 16 and reopen January 3.

Magic + Film = Challenge Week

20 May

After an exciting outing with the Toronto International Festival (TIFF) and the March Break Magic ‘n Movies partnership, Magicana redeveloped our annual Challenge Week Magic Camp (May 4 – 6) for the students of The York School. The mission of Challenge Week is to challenge the mind, body and spirit through authentic experiences which extend and enrich student learning. And that we did!

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In partnership with TIFF, we started the week learning cool magic tricks. Then, we injected the magic of the movie making process. Students learned to write a script; to pitch it to the group; followed by  casting, directing and filming the script. Everyone had a role to play in front and behind the camera.

Then, we learned the importance of creating texture and learned how to edit the films. From there, we learned more magic – armed with the new knowledge of moving making – to start the planning for a live performance scheduled for the end of the week.

Students learned the power and differences (and pressure) of creating a live performance versus a filmed one. They also realized that both can be highly successful once we integrated planning and added interesting (magic) moments.

As their lead instructor, I was very proud of the work that students created and the magic that resulted. Many thanks to the outstanding Mrs. Dionisio and Ms. Zhao and to all my fabulous students at TYS. I hope you will continue with your magical efforts as you all showed great talents!

March Break Magic Camp for Kids

15 Feb

Are you 9 to 12 years old? Do you love magic? Ever wanted to know how to make movies? Then what are you doing this March Break?

Make Movie Magic with Magicana and TIFF!

We are partnering with Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) to deliver a combined Magic and Film March Break Camp March 14-18, 2011. It’s designed for young people 9 to 12 years old and runs every day from 9 AM to 3PM. Details and registration can be found on the TIFF website or by calling the TIFF Box Office: 416 – 599 – TIFF (8433).

We will combine the fun of  learning and performing magic tricks with the magical process of making a movie. During the week, kids will be taught and coached to perform and present magic tricks while simultaneously learning how to storyboard and  film their magic tricks. (You will even learn post production magic!) The goal is to present their final movie clip for friends and family.

Do not miss out out on this limited-space event! Call TIFF (416-599-TIFF) to register your magic movie maker now.

In-Depth Card Magic

27 Jul

A Workshop for Serious Card Students

Since we announced our Summer Lecture Series in Toronto, we received requests for more in-depth and hands-on workshops. Thanks to the popular demand, we’re pleased to announce this special, limited-seat event:

RAFAEL BENATAR
Card Magic & Card Technique Workshop

Sunday, Aug 15 @ 1PM – Montreal

Tuesday, Aug 17 @ 7 PM – Toronto

$75
Reserve your seat
50% sold

“Rafael has a real flair for presentation and his sleights are smooth as silk. He is well read in card magic, has a fine appearance and a charming personality.”
-Michael Skinner

Personable, intelligent and creative. I most certainly recommend seeing his lectures and reading his published material.
-Herb Zarrow

Learn the ins and outs of elegant card magic routines from Rafael’s working repertoire and get terrific advice on and finesse for essential card techniques such as controls, changes, and the handling of double cards. Find out how to improve the magic you already do through more thoughtful use of structure, misdirection and timing. More details.

See you there – bring your cards!

Don’t miss these upcoming lectures…

Aug18 @ 6:30 PM – Rafael Benatar & Gaëtan Bloom

Aug 22 @ 2:00 PM –  Jim Steinmeyer

See them all and SAVE:  The Pass

Montreal Magic Jam

23 Jul

An All-Day Magic Extravaganza

Montreal Magic Jam
August 15, 2010
Grand Plaza Montreal Centre-Ville Hotel

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A one-day Montreal extravaganza.  Advance Tickets available for only $60, but only until August 1.

Elegant & Charming Master Magician Rafael Benatar

Exquisite card technique combined with perfect use of psychology,  misdirection and timing.

The Furiously Funny Gaëtan Bloom

Diabolically divine magic from one of the most original and creative performers in the world.

New Sensation Cheng Lin

The underground hit of last year’s CAM Convention. David Blaine calls him “an inspiration”.

Lecture prices go up on August 1st, so reserve your spot today.

Go to MontrealMagicJam.com to grab your ticket.
For additional information, please contact Grant McSorley

Card Magic & Card Technique Workshop

On Sunday, August 15,  Rafael Benatar will also be presenting an intimate, hands-on, interactive workshop featuring some of the superb card magic from his working repertoire. Learn the finer points of his artistic card routines and invaluable finesse for fundamental technique such as the top change and his legendary handling of double cards.

This 3-hour workshop is strictly limited to ten participants. Click here to register now.

TORONTO Lectures

Featuring Rafael Benatar, Gaëtan Bloom & Jim Steinmeyer August 18 & 22 – Click here to register.

Gee 20: A treat for Toronto

16 Jul

I consider Jim to be the most brilliant mind in magic.

Doug Henning

Jim Steinmeyer banner

Three days after we announced that “The Man Behind the Curtain” would be lecturing in Toronto, 20% of tickets immediately sold. Jim rarely lectures and this is his first in Toronto. Join us in Toronto on August 22 for our lecture with the one and only Jim Steinmeyer. This is a limited-seat event so we encourage you to buy now.

Gee 20 Lecture

In his lecture, Jim will be sharing some of his favourite close-up and stand-up pieces from his “Conjuring” Columns in Genii and MAGIC Magazines as well some new, unpublished items. The lecture will focus on practical material useful in a wide variety of situations.   Read more.

Sunday Aug 22 – 2PM – at Magicana

Register now!

Jim Steinmeyer

Jim is the celebrated creator of countless deceptions, from tiny “Impuzzibilities” to grand illusions employed by leading performers like Lance Burton, David Copperfield and Doug Henning.

He is also the author of several important books on the history of magic and great magicians including Chung Ling Soo, Alan Wakeling and Howard Thurston.

Bundle & Save

Don’t forget our fantastic double lecture with Rafael Benatar & Gaëtan Bloom. Get The Pass for all three lectures and save $15.   Read more.

Save the Dates

12 Jul

Stay tunedMAGIC, MAGIC and more MAGIC!!

You will not want to miss a grand opportunity to see some fabulous magic on:

Wednesday, August 18 (6.30 PM); and

Sunday, August 22 (2.00 PM)

Mark it down if you want to see outstanding magic lectures.

Stand by… more info coming 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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