07 December 2023

[Guest post] Walking Tall for Brantford

The following is a guest post from Graeme Reed.  This article first appeared in the December 2023 issue of VANISH Magic Magazine issue #113, pages 40-43.



Doug Hunt

Doug Hunt, October 21, 2023
Photo credit:  Donna Thompson



Walking Tall for Brantford

On October 21, 2023, Doug Hunt aka “Doug the Great”, made history when he broke the Guinness World Record (GWR) for Mastering the Tallest Stilts, walking 14 steps at 55 feet above the ground. In front of fellow entertainers from around the world and his community of Brantford, Ontario, Canada, Doug successfully reclaimed the record that he first earned over 20 years ago. 

Doug Hunt set a new Guinness World Record for the tallest and heaviest stilts mastered in Brantford, Ontario, by taking 29 independent steps on stilts measuring 50’ 9” at a combined weight of 137 pounds.

The most recent record was set by Jordan Wolf (USA), who walked on 54’ 1” stilts in 2022.

"This wasn't just about breaking a Guinness World Record, it was a challenge for people who live a challenge every day."
 - Doug Hunt

In the city of Brantford, “The Centre of the Universe,” as Walter Gretzky would say, besides walking on stilts and entertaining the masses, Doug is best known for his love and support of the community. Working as head of fundraising at Participation Support Services Brantford for over 40 years, Doug has always found creative ways to build awareness and raise money while empowering everyone around him.

"Some people think what we do is crazy, but when you look at the end result and what we're doing helping other people, it should be inspirational for other people to go and reach those goals and do those truly amazing things."
- Doug Hunt


The attempt occurred at the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre’s (WGSC) 10th anniversary celebrations. Inside the sports complex is a museum dedicated to Brantford’s greatest athletes. To see Walter and Wayne Gretzky's historical hockey memorabilia, you first walk under The World's Tallest Stilts. Walter Gretzky was famous in Brantford for signing autographs with his branded blue Sharpie – blue never fades. To pay homage, Doug, with the help of local sponsors, made up custom blue markers for sponsors and anyone who donated to sign his record-breaking stilts.

Among those in attendance was Nicole Lee; this is how she experienced the truly amazing day:

The Stilts
The stilts were on display when we arrived at the WGSC anniversary festivities.  These were the same stilts Doug used to achieve his 2002 record.  Except each one now had an aluminum extension approximately 5 feet in length and 15 pounds in weight.

Going Up
Two cranes, roughly 50 feet away from each other, were extended about 60 feet in the air. Attached between them in parallel, were two taut safety cables.  A third crane, an aerial lift, sat in the middle with its platform lowered.

Three cranes.

The three cranes

A team of approximately half a dozen people moved the stilts from their resting place. Someone attached the “boot ends” of the stilts to the aerial lift.  Slowly, the crane gained height and the boot ends rose towards the sky, while the opposite ends remained on the ground.  The stilts shifted suddenly on the way up and I felt my heart in my throat.  Their unexpected movement provided a visceral understanding of the stunt's inherent danger.  Eventually, Doug’s “ballet slippers” (as he sometimes calls them) were vertical and secured to a safety cable.  

It was overcast and a cool 12℃.  An organizer notified the crowd that the wind was strong 60 feet up. There were concerns for Doug’s safety.

We waited.

Shortly after 11:30 am, we were told that the wind was expected to pick-up throughout the day.  

It was now or never.

Putting on the Stilts
The platform descended to collect Doug, who was now outfitted in his Brantford Bulldogs jersey, safety harness, gloves, and ball cap.  The crane extended, and Doug carefully went over the safety rail of the platform, grabbed his stilts and slid his feet into his boots.  The two man crew on the platform laced him up.  It was time.

The Walking
Doug made several attempts to balance. Holding the cables for support between attempts, he had to be mindful of the harness and safety equipment to which he was fastened.  He worked hard against the ~20 km/h winds.

He started walking.  A few steps at first.  Each stilt was scrutinized at ground level and their movements evaluated by official “step counters.”  Then a rest.  Repeat.  It must have been exhausting fighting the wind at such a height, with an additional 80+ pounds of weight on each foot!

Try, try again.  

The sun peeked through the clouds and we saw a bit of blue in the sky.  More movement from Doug.  At 12:45pm, Doug stood tall and pumped his arm into the air in victory.  Cheers erupted from the crowd!

The 2022 record lay shattered at his tall, metal feet!


Doug Hunt

A victorious Doug Hunt!
Photo credit: Gary Foster


"This record today is a testament to him and all that he has given back to the community; it's fantastic to see the community giving back to him."
- Scott Wilkins, Rumple & Friends. 
Family and friends.

Daughter Megan, grandson Seth, Doug Hunt, and David McKee (Brantford Town Crier)

A large-scale stunt like this is only possible with community support. There is a list longer than 55 feet of people who donated their time, money, and passion to the project, not just to break a record but to raise awareness and donations for Participation Support Services Brantford whose mandate it is to “support adults with physical disabilities and complex needs to live as independently as possible.” Everything from the one-of-a-kind stilts, aerial lift, two cranes, and so much more was all donated to spotlight a truly amazing cause.  

"This guy is passionate about everything he does. He thinks (about) everything in a positive way… this guy is kind of like a magnet; everyone wants to work and be with Doug."
- Dave Levac, Team Manager

While Doug reclaimed the record at 14 steps on October 21 at the WGSC, the official submission is 16 steps at 55 feet high, achieved on October 17th, 2023, at Brantwood Farms in front of a small public audience. Congratulations to Doug Hunt of Brantford, Ontario for reclaiming his Guinness World Record of Mastering the Tallest Stilts and being truly amazing.

Silo height.

The silo.

Training with Coach Tom.

Training with Coach Tom

Group outside silo.

A winning team!


Congratulations Doug, on this amazing accomplishment! 

To learn more about Doug Hunt, visit his website at DougTheGreat.com and follow him on Facebook, and Instagram.    

Thank you Graeme for sharing this wonderful article!

To learn more about Graeme Reed visit his website at GraemeReedMagic.com and follow him on Facebook, and Instagram.






06 December 2023

Derrick Chung: Inspirational Canadian Magician

Third, in this year's Inspirational Canadian Magician Showcase, is Derrick Chung!

Derrick Chung: Inspirational Canadian Magician

Derrick Chung: Inspirational Canadian Magician.

Derrick inspired me by being open and available to many of my long-winded questions, queries and inquisitions.  He has a vast knowledge of card magic, a memory like a steel trap, and great taste in effects.  His book, The Nacho Card Notes, has a few of my favourite treats in there, including a delicious recipe for Queso to go with the aforementioned nachos.  As one of the organizers for The Montreal Magic Club, as well as for Shane Cobalt's Patreon group, I've been leveling up my magic through many lectures and Zooms he has helped bring about.

Submitted by George (@kid_oldman_magic)



Congratulations Derrick!  Keep up the great work!

To learn more about Derrick, visit his website at DerrickChung.com and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  


Thank you George, for your excellent submission!

To learn more about George (@kid_oldman_magic) follow him on Instagram.

2023 Inspirational Canadian Magician Showcase

2023 Inspirational Canadian Magician Showcase featuring (in order of publication):

Paul Romhany
 Derrick Chung 


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05 December 2023

Alexandra: Inspirational Canadian Magician

Second, in this year's Inspirational Canadian Magician Showcase, is Alexandra!

Alexandra: Inspirational Canadian Magician

Alexandra: Inspirational Canadian Magician.

Over the last fifteen years, Alexandra has been Greg Frewin's main assistant, the backbone of his show. But guess what? As of 2023, she's embarked on a fascinating new journey as a magician, and let me tell you, she is fantastic. Just last week, she pulled off an incredible feat
– she fooled none other than Penn & Teller.

This isn't just a career change; it's a captivating
transformation. From assistant extraordinaire to a magician who can leave even the masters of magic in awe. It's not every day you witness
such a remarkable shift, and I can't wait to see where Alex goes.

Submitted by Lee Asher

Watch Alexandra on Penn and Teller's Fool Us at the November 9th upload at the Greg Frewin Theatre YouTube channel:



Congratulations Alexandra!  Keep up the great work!

To learn more about Alexandra, visit the Greg Frewin Theatre and follow her on Instagram and TikTok.  


Thank you Lee, for your excellent submission!

To learn more about Lee Asher, visit LeeAsher.com and follow him on Twitter, and Instagram.

2023 Inspirational Canadian Magician Showcase

2023 Inspirational Canadian Magician Showcase featuring (in order of publication):

Paul Romhany


Niagara Falls: Greg Frewin is back in action!

From the November 29th Instagram post by the Greg Frewin Theatrical Centre:

Get ready for a grand return to enchantment! 🌟✨ The International Grand Champion of Magic, Greg Frewin, is back in action, joined by the spellbinding Christian Mascia and the captivating Alexandra. Experience a new era of magic at the Greg Frewin Theatre – where the extraordinary meets the unexpected! 🎩🔮




From the December 1st Instagram post by Greg Frewin Theatre

🎁✨ Don't Miss Out on the Ultimate Holiday Magic 🎁✨
Dive into a world of enchantment with the International Grand Champion of Magic, Greg Frewin, and the mesmerizing talents of Christian Mascia and Alexandra. 🎩✨ Join us for a spellbinding holiday extravaganza, where festive illusions and merry tricks create memories that sparkle like holiday lights! 🌟🎄




04 December 2023

Paul Romhany: Inspirational Canadian Magician

First up, in this year's Inspirational Canadian Magician Showcase, is Paul Romhany!

Paul Romhany: Inspirational Canadian Magician

Paul Romhany: Inspirational Canadian Magician.

I would love to nominate Paul Romhany.

He is the editor and owner of VANISH Magic Magazine which is the largest Magic magazine today, with the largest readership and support. He also writes and publishes Northern Peeks magazine for the Canadian Association of Magicians (CAM). He is also on the CAM Executive. 

I have performed with him and his Chaplin act on a few occasions, and he is a superb entertainer.

Submitted by Chris Yuill

We were fortunate to catch Paul's show and lecture in the spring and agree that he is an excellent entertainer.


Congratulations Paul!  Keep up the great work!

To learn more about Paul, visit ChaplinMagic.com and follow him on Facebook and Instagram.

To learn more about VANISH Magazine, visit VanishMagic.com.

To learn more about the Canadian Associations of Magicians and their publication Northern Peeks, visit CAMmagic.org.



Thank you Chris, for your excellent submission!

To learn more about Chris Yuill, visit CYMagic.ca and follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

2023 Inspirational Canadian Magician Showcase

Introducing the inaugural Inspirational Canadian Magician Showcase!

Last month, we reached out to over a dozen magicians across Canada and asked them to write two to four sentences about someone in the Canadian magic community who inspired them in 2023.

Over the next couple of weeks, we'll be hosting a showcase of the submissions, in no particular order. 

We hope you enjoy!

2023 Inspirational Canadian Magician Showcase

2023 Inspirational Canadian Magician Showcase.

Note:  This is not intended to be a comprehensive list of the inspirational things magicians are doing across Canada.  Instead, think of it as highlighting a random sample of excellence at a single point in time.