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 


Thank you to our December 2023 sponsors!

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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.

03 December 2023

Jonah Babins and Ben Train on Penn and Teller's "Fool Us" S10 E03

From November 13th upload at the Toronto Magic Company YouTube channel:

Jonah Babins and Ben Train try to Fool Penn & Teller with a couple of pieces of paper!
S10E3, The CW Channel. Original air date: Nov 10/2023






02 December 2023

A peek behind the curtain with Fernando Velasco [2023]

This is the fourth in a series of interviews leading up to the Champions of Magic Worldwide Wonder Tour Canadian dates in:

Additional rumoured locations include cities in BC and NS!  Check the Champions of Magic website for updates.

Read our thoughts about their 2022 show:

TLDR: So. Much. Fun!

Random thoughts about "Champions of Magic" 


You may also know Fernando Velasco as the winner of the 2018 Junior Achievement Award at The Magic Castle.

We're delighted to interview Fernando ahead of his Canadian Champions of Magic Worldwide Wonder Tour dates!

A peek behind the curtain with Fernando Velasco

We were fortunate to see Champions of Magic in three times in the past five years.  Your part in the show changed significantly from year to year.  In fact the 2022 experience was very different from the first time we saw you in Toronto in 2018. 

When you have an audience tested, well-received show, what drives you to modify and advance your act?

I’m not sure what the motivation  factor is; I love entertaining, I love making changes to try and find the best possible version of the acts to share with audiences, It’s also a way to keep it fresh, even if its just little changes to the script that’s enough to keep us engaged and in search for the perfect/most genuine presentation.

Have you studied any magic-adjacent disciplines? 

Recently I’ve been studying writing and storytelling, I think it’s definitely helped me give my magic some meaning. Hopefully sharing stories that might mean something to people and might make them FEEL something… A feeling is what I’m currently after.
I also spend a lot of time analyzing other artists from a variety of different disciplines just trying to learn anything I can from them; Michael Jackson, Tom Cruise, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Robbie Williams, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Pixar.

Sam performing 'red light, green light'

Cutting it close!
Do you remember the specific moment when you knew you could or wanted to perform magic full time?

YES, the moment I joined The Magic Castle Junior Society and debuted at 14 years old during Future Stars of Magic Week in 2012 -- that was the moment I knew I had found my entertaining vehicle. There was no looking back.

What is your most memorable performance misadventure? 

Hahahah might be too soon...  (Darkest day of my career.)

Once upon a time in Houston, Texas, (Richard) Young, (Sam) Strange, and myself had a catastrophic prop malfunction in a part of the show we do together.

I wish I could tell you that we played it off and walked off stage like heroes, but we did not.

First, we were exposed to 1/3 of the audience (being generous with ourselves), then Young fled the scene leaving me and Strange alone on stage to finish the act... to which the act finale also failed.

In other words, NOTHING worked… it was like a scene out of Magic Gone Wrong.  

What sets Champions of Magic apart from other touring ensemble magic shows?

First the insane production level, it blows any other touring magic show in North America out of the water.

Second, our interactions with each other, the way the show intertwines with all of us and our collaborative routines.

We are a cast rather than four ensemble acts, that’s really unique.    

Paper money falling around Sam

After a quick dip in the water tank.


Do you have any guilty pleasures while on tour?

My biggest guilty pleasure is food, I love food, and I'm lucky to  share this pleasure  with my great friend Richie (Young). Sharing meals together tends to be a highlight of the day haha. As well as riding Birdies (electric scooters) around cities.
One imagines that it’s sometimes hard to leave the comforts of your home for a lengthy tour.  Do you bring a special something from home with you? 

I really love touring, it's our life.

But touring can be hard, it can get lonely. You are in a bubble for months in which nothing enters or leaves, it's like we are isolated from the real world…

I wear bracelets that friends and family give me, I wear them all the time, it's my way of keeping a part of loved ones near all the time.



Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers of Canada’s Magic?

Best version of Champions of Magic is on its way. We hope you come to the shows and enjoy them as much as we do.  

Thank you Fernando, for making the time to answer our questions!


Learn more about Fernando at FernandoV.net and follow him on Facebook, and Instagram. 


  Champions of Magic  

Catch Fernando in Champions of Magic touring across Canada in 2023 - 2024:

Additional rumoured locations include cities in BC and NS!  Check the Champions of Magic website for updates.


Read our 2023 interviews with:

Read our 2022 interviews with the cast:

Learn more about Champions of Magic at ChampionsOfMagic.co.uk and follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

Champions of Magic Worldwide Wonders Tour




01 December 2023

Richmond Hill: The Aces of Magic [Dec 10, 17, 22]

From Jokers.ca:

December 10 - Henry Cheng, Ken Pham, and Mysterion

December 17 - Chris Westfall, Henry Cheng, and Ken Pham

December 22 - James Alan, Mysterion and Ken Pham 


Read more and buy tickets.






30 November 2023

Top 5 (er, 6) posts in November 2023

There were 37 posts at Canada's Magic this month.  Here are the six most viewed posts in the past 30 days (two of them are interviews promoting the same show, so we went for top six this month):   

6. Chris Mayhew on CP24 - Watch Chris in a rare TV appearance!
5. Broken wand: Micky Hades - We encourage you to click through the link in the broken wand post, to read Brent Smith's heartfelt tribute to Micky.

4. Random thoughts about "An Evening of Magic and Laughter" - Great night with Matt DiSero, Steve Valentine, and Evan Carter!  (And Masterclass in AV with Steve!)
   - Catch Steve in Toronto as part of  The Illusionists – Magic Of The Holidays [Nov 28 - Dec 3].
3. A peek behind the curtain with Michelle Mazzarella
2. A peek behind the curtain with Hollie England [2023]
   - Catch Hollie and Michelle as part of Champions of Magic on their Canadian tour dates: Toronto [Dec 27 - 30], Lethbridge [Mar 16], Regina [Mar 17], Winnipeg [Mar 18], Saskatoon [Mar 19], Edmonton [Mar 22 - Apr 6], and Prince George [Apr 7].


and the most viewed post this month  ...

1.  Alexandra on Penn and Teller's "Fool Us" S10 E02 - Congratulations Alexandra on your excellent segment on Fool Us! 





December at The Magic Castle

Confirm details at The Magic Castle.


December 11 - 17

  • Murray SawChuck
  • Erik Tait

December 26 - 31

  • The Evasons



From the November 21st Instagram post by Mentalist Duo:




29 November 2023

Montreal: Up Close Montreal with special guest Clément Le Roux [Dec 9]

Tickets at Eventbrite.


From the November 21st Instagram post by Up Close Montreal:

Very excited to present to you our special guest for the fall edition, Clément Le Roux. We can't wait to see him perform live on Saturday, December 9th @ L'Espace La Risée. He will perform in English show and in French show! But first.....

Who is Clément Le Roux ⁉

A sailor? A magician? A storyteller? A "putpocket" (yes, you read it right)? A violin player? Clément Le Roux is a bit of all that at once. He recently returned from Finland, where he created an immersive show in the heart of a Scandinavian forest, collaborating with circus artists and classical musicians.

Joined by Fred Péloquin, a singer-accordionist with whom he has been working for years, they will take you to a world where music, magic, and stories gradually intertwine throughout the narrative. Should you be carried away by the gentle melodies of the accordion or focus your attention on the small object just placed on the corner of the table? Did they improvise this moment, or perhaps everything was planned from the beginning? If you want to find out, just come and form your own opinion!






28 November 2023

The Montreal Trio sur La France A Un Incroyable Talent

We couldn't find the YouTube video mentioned by Michel below, so at the bottom of this post we embedded their fantastic performance from a video on Facebook.


From the November 22nd Facebook post by Michel Hout (translation by Facebook):

In September and October, I visited France twice. One of these times was because we had been invited Marc Trudel , Yannick and I: The Montreal Trio) to come perform an original number at France's got incredible talent.

It was a bit crazy because on August 29th in the evening, I was performing in Prévost and had to go directly to the airport. Immediately heading to the recording studios upon arrival. So 2 shows in 18 hours on two different continents. Hehe. Watch 28 Nov on M6. For America, the whole thing will be on YouTube the next day.

From the November 26th Facebook post by Michel Huot (translation by Facebook): 

Several years ago I watched the show Whose Line is it Anyway and saw this principle there. I have always wanted to do something similar After the very good Chick N Swell had done some circus themed floor (excellent). We decided to get involved in magic. 🙂


27 November 2023

Toronto: Dogs Do Magic [Dec 10]

From the Redwood Theatre

Sun, Dec 10  |  Toronto
Dogs Do Magic - A Canine Christmas
Bark by popular demand, it’s “Dogs do Magic”

Bring in the holidays with an unforgettable evening of magic, comedy, & canine hijinks featuring some of Canada’s top variety entertainers!

Read more and buy tickets.





26 November 2023

[Guest post] A tribute to Micky Hades

The following is a guest post from Brent Smith.


A tribute to Micky Hades

I'm sad these days as my friend and teacher in magic Micky Hades has passed away at the age of 97. I call him a teacher because he never mentored me but his door was always open for me and I could ask any question. They say to be successful in something you keep you mouth closed and your ears open and I did just that with Micky but I also asked a lot of questions. I enjoyed our time together especially because Micky would always ask me questions about magic, history and all about magic posters, not because he didn’t know, but to test me and see if I knew what I was talking about and I do :)

Micky Hades was a man who embraced all aspects of magic: Performer, publisher, collector, manufacturer, inventor, author, editor and a pioneer of the art of magic. He was born of Ukrainian parentage on a farm in Alberta. He got started in magic when he saw the magician John C. Green. Micky had mundane jobs but realised magic is what he wanted to do so he studied and learned all he could on magic. He then joined a travelling sideshow which featured not only magic but also fire eating. He then joined larger carnivals like Conklin Brothers Circus and then Clifford Entertainers Vaudeville circuit. Micky then quit show business for a while and went into Silk Screening and then went onto being a fire prevention Officer in the Army. Then for 13 months he worked in the Gold Mines in Yellowknife in the NWT. There in the Arctic climate he invented the Micky Hades finger chopper 2000 feet below the surface of the ground. Imagine just how many of those he sold. Micky Hades Enterprises became Micky Hades International and became a name recognized throughout the world of magic. 

Micky was behind the TV Show, Dale Harney's Magic Palace and Micky brought in all the top guys in magic at that time. Blackstone, Al Goshman, Paul Harris, Martin Nash, Slydini... the list goes on and on and on. I would get my dad to drive me down to Channel 2 and 7 TV Studios just to see Dale Harney with the worlds Top Magicians perform.

I miss that time in magic with no internet, without exposure on YouTube, magicians being babies online. Magic was real and everyone sacrificed and treated magic with great importance and value. When people don’t sacrifice much for what they have they do not treat it with great importance or value hence what some people are doing on the internet with exposure. Anyone who suffered for anything knows the value of what they suffered for.

Micky said to me once that you cannot make someone into a magician but they are born and that being a magician is a state of mind and a way of life. Micky never taught anyone magic, he never taught sleight of hand but he taught them the state of mind to make a living at magic. The only one I know of who Micky taught this to is John Kaplan.

Micky had many stories. How he told Martin Nash that he should call himself  "The Charming Cheat" and that he should wear big gold rings and fancy suits. He had a great ZIG ZAG lady Illusion story, How he gave Doug Henning a job and he accepted the position of editor of the Young Magicians section of the Hade-E-Gram MagiZette and performed his first professional appearance at the Jubilee Auditorium in Calgary in 1965.

Micky had three Magic Shops, Vancouver, Seattle, and Calgary. They were eventually closed or sold off.

In 2015 Micky sold me his 500 piece magic Poster collection which some I will treasure forever. They are framed in my house and I still enjoy everyday.

I will miss Micky and the coffee time we had together, I will miss going to visit him and seeing what magic he still had for sale all of which the props I grew up with, I will miss the jewels and treasures I would find when Micky let me look through boxes. I will miss talking to him about illusions and I will miss talking to him about Magic Posters.

Micky once said to me that if you really want to make a living at something have NOTHING to fall back on that way the fire under your butt stays lit. We both laughed at that for a long time.

The Micky Hades story is too incredible for this short newsletter so look for this book coming out of the Magical Life of Micky Hades in the New Year by his daughter Brenda.

Rest well Micky you are the reason I am what I am today and I have cherished every last second I had with you.

Thank you!!




Thank you Brent for sharing this heartfelt tribute to Micky Hades.