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The best show on earth is at HarbourKIDS: Circus
featuring the Toronto International Circus Festival

A FREE long-weekend festival for kids under 12
Co-produced with Zero Gravity Circus

May 21-23, 2011

TORONTO, ON (Monday, April 11, 2011) – Quit clowning around and step right up to the fourth annual HarbourKIDS: Circus at Harbourfront Centre, in collaboration with Zero Gravity Circus – an enthralling three-day event of FREE family fun revolving around the word SHOW.

Through the magic of circus, kids and their families can witness the only event of its kind in North America. Experience side-splitting comedy, eye-popping acrobatics and mind-bending daredevil stunts, featuring jugglers, unicyclists, magicians, world-class acrobatics, fire eaters, stilt walkers, hula hoopers and more!

While experiencing everything the HarbourKIDS: Circus “SHOW” has to offer, kids can:

SHOW UP! Get active and come down to the circus – kids can learn to clown around, hula hoop, or even hang upside down!
SHOW OFF! Everyone’s got a hidden talent or two, so don’t be afraid to show it off! At HarbourKIDS Circus, you can showcase your hidden talent or inner goofball at Circus School and the Natrel™ Clown Club.
SHOWCASE! Some of the best circus performers from around the world are coming to perform for you!
SIDESHOW! Take a break and enjoy one of our relaxing activities. You can learn about the history of the circus, be an architect with LEGO® or even design your own circus button!

HarbourKIDS is Harbourfront Centre’s free family programme designed especially for kids under 12. HarbourKIDS aims to engage kids and their families in a fashion that promotes a way of life through arts and culture. For complete event details and full schedule, visit

This year, HarbourKIDS: Circus and HarbourKIDS: Monster Makers (Oct. 8-10, 2011) bookend Hot Spot Summer at Harbourfront Centre, a series of festivals and cultural events that run from Victoria Day long weekend through to Thanksgiving. Hot Spot Summer will explore ideas in contemporary culture, bringing together rich, artistic traditions from our own backyards and around the globe. For more information on Hot Spot Summer programming, visit

HarbourKIDS: CIRCUS Event Listings

Circus Performances

Canadian National Youth Circus
Daily at 11:45 a.m. (WestJet Stage)
The Canadian National Youth Circus is a non-profit organization that promotes and encourages youth involvement in the circus arts. The circus is synonymous with a sense of wonder, enchantment, and delight, in addition to being an education tool for youth. The circus arts instil core values such as self-confidence, trust, confronting challenge, team spirit and imagination. This performance is 45 minutes long.

Cabotinage: Vague de Cirque
Daily at 1 p.m. (WestJet Stage)
Acrobatics, opera and tomfoolery are all interlaced in this colourful spectacle in homage to high-flying adventurousness and grandiose imagination. Four motley characters from Îles-de-la-Madeleine's Vague de Cirque share their inventive universe, their creative inspiration and their exceptional physical prowess. Exaggeration, mockery and eccentricity are the order of the day! 30 minutes of laughter and amazement for young and old!

46 Circus Acts in 45 Minutes: Circa
Daily at 4 p.m. (WestJet Stage)
Watch as up to five multi-skilled acrobats battle the clock in a high energy performance set to fun, upbeat music! Marvel at the astounding ways they bend, fly, juggle and balance! Circa works year-round to explore the limits of what circus can do. Their shows have been seen around Australia and overseas, and each year Circa performs for over 50,000 people!

Sweet Variety of Circus
Daily from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. (Redpath Stage)
Bruce Horak will be the ringmaster at the variety show and will guide the audience through some incredible juggling, hilarious and interactive comedy, playful clown antics and a treasure trove of unusual skills.

Dynamike is a feel-good comedy stuntman with the energy of a six-year-old on a sugar high! See for the first time two people on one unicycle, help Dynamike create a trampoline, and watch him juggle machetes atop a 12-foot ladder! Combining humour with incredible feats of strengths and agility, Dynamike makes audience’s jaws drop and sides split.

Balanzo! is the last surviving member of the legendary Royal Balanzo Family. Having been exiled from their land over 300 years ago, the Balanzos began touring the world as circus performers looking for a new home. Now, only one Balanzo remains and continues to perform with the elegance and silliness of his unique family tradition!

Tim Holland, Puppet Tamer
Master ventriloquist Tim Holland convinces his audience of the dangers inherent in the taming of ferocious and uncooperative puppets. Improvising on the spot, this fast-paced physical comedy brings the age-old circus spectacle of the lion tamer to any venue (lions not included).

Steve Elvay's Magic Show
Stephen Elvay is an amazing magical talent – witty, engaging and supremely entertaining. His show is a fast-paced and visual extravaganza of expertly interlaced, family-friendly comedy, mystifying magic and playful audience participation.

Scot Free
Award-winning Scot Free is armed with astounding stunts, dangerous only to himself. Distinguishing features include argyle socks, manipulated bowler, tuxedo & sneakers. Aided and abetted by astonished audiences and amazed accomplices in an act of altogether butt-kicking amusement.

National Circus School
Class is in session for the only school to provide advanced circus arts training in North America! The National Circus School is an institution for higher education with a primary mission to produce circus artists. Based in Montreal and internationally renowned for the highest-quality training, the National Circus School opens its doors to more than 100 students from around the world each year.

Site Animators
Organ grinders, stilt walkers, clowns and crazy characters of all stripes will be roaming around NOT minding their own business! There’s a show everywhere you go at HarbourKIDS: Circus, and if you run into one of these zany performers, you might just be a part of it!


Tumble & Swing Acrobatic Workshops
Daily from 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. (Brigantine Room)
Ever thought about running away and joining the circus? Now you can! Show off your skills and try something new! Jumping! Balancing! Climbing! Spinning! Kids ages five to 14 can try out aerial and acrobatic equipment with circus professionals right inside the Brigantine Room.

Aerial Hoop Loop-De-Loop
Children will have the opportunity to take the challenge of spinning around in an aerial hoop facilitated by a circus professional from Zero Gravity Circus.

Skills with Silks
The silks are one of the most stunning acts in the circus. See how beautiful you can be as you climb, twist, hang and swirl on this amazing apparatus.

Boingy! Boingy!
Who doesn’t love jumping on the bed? Well, this is even better! Catch some air on the mini-trampoline and experience weightlessness, just like an astronaut in space!

The Natrel™ Clown Club
Daily from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. (Brigantine Room and Brigantine Tent)
Last year, The Natrel™ Clown Club was such a big hit that it’s back and bigger then ever! This year The Natrel™ Clown Club has expanded, with more stations, more space and more fun! Using games, jokes, physical comedy and interaction, host Rebecca Northan will help kids transform into bona fide clowns. Complete with a graduation ceremony, a clown diploma and the coveted red nose, kids will leave feeling free to be their silly selves!

Orange Drop
Daily from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. (West Arcade)
Blue bin, green bin, orange drop! So many colors, what do I do? What goes where? Stewardship Ontario makes recycling fun with mini-workshops throughout the day. Learn about the objects we throw away and the effect they have on sustainable living!

Cirque Dirt: Outer Space Under Ground
Daily from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. (Ann Tindal Lawn Tents)
Visit the Cirque Dirt tent and learn about the earth, the microorganisms that are in it and how plants communicate using the earth. Garden Jane will be teaching participants about water, soil, and the amazing things that take place underground. This activity is hands on, so children will be encouraged to interact with the soil using their five senses. Don’t worry; hand washing stations will be available so kids can clean up before heading to the next activity.

Crafts & Activities

PICK-UR-PIC: Blast to Circus Past
Daily from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. (West Arcade)
In PICK-UR-PIC: Circus, kids get to dress their families and themselves in traditional circus attire, choosing what kind of performance and act they will be presenting on their own circus flyer. In front of an old-fashioned circus backdrop, ropes, stools and other circus props will be available for kids to transform themselves and their families into a circus act from the early 20th century. Once the image has been taken, it will be digitally enhanced in sepia tone and the child’s or family’s performer name, or their own name, will be edited into the image in the style of a 20th century circus poster and displayed on a website!

The Everyday Talent Display
Daily from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. (HarbourKIDS Zone Tent)
The Everyday Talent Display invites children to share their unique talents. Costumes, props, music and “rehearsal” space will be available to participants to practice their talent before going on stage. After each performance, participants will be added to a list of the varied talents that were shown throughout the festival.

Take a Bow Buttons
Daily from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. (West Arcade)
Whatever you are most proud of, draw a picture of yourself doing it and get it made into a button! Wear it around for the whole day and see how it makes you feel!

Lego® Funhouse
Daily from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. (Lakeside Terrace)
LEGO® is returning to HarbourKIDS. Along with designing and building your own works of art with LEGO® and DUPLO®, you can play the new LEGO® board games. It’s the world’s first collection of games that you can build, play and change – including a unique buildable LEGO® dice and changeable rules. LEGO® Games are a new way to have fun with family and friends.

Balloon Virtuosos!
Daily from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. (Ann Tindal Lawn Tents)
The Zero Gravity Circus will be creating crazy sculptures – with balloons! Watch these talented artists create balloon sculpture in this fun and interactive activity.

Daily from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. (Ann Tindal Lawn Tents)
Participants learn to manipulate this classic plaything under the guidance of upbeat professionals with exceptional skill in the manipulation of hula hoops. Everyone is welcome to come and play!

Canadian Family Fun Zone
Daily from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. (Ann Tindal Lawn Tents)
Join our cupcake celebration with Canadian Family magazine as they kick off their 15th birthday year!

Puppetry & Storytelling

The Giant Magician: Panadream Theatre
Daily at 12 p.m. noon (Studio Theatre)
Prepare to enter a mystical place where anything is possible! Follow The Giant Magician as he explores his powers and along the way, discovers what magic truly is. The Giant Magician is a string marionette comedy that incorporates clowning, magic and puppetry.

The Queen of Paradise’s Garden
Daily at 2:30 and 4 p.m. (Studio Theatre)
Told with humour, warmth and sly wit, Andy Jones begins his adaptation of the wonderful Newfoundland tale. Follow Jack on his journey to the land of the Queen of Paradise where he searches for magic fruit to make his parents young again, and finds quite a few other handy things as well! This production is great for all ages and has proved to be a great hit at the recent St. John’s Storytelling festival. This wonderful show is animated by Slovenian theatre artist Darka Erdelji, who has a masters degree in puppetry.

All About Miss Lou…What’s Your Story?
Saturday, May 21 & Sunday, May 22, 1-5 p.m. (Miss Lou’s Room)
A celebration of the Honourable Louise Bennett-Coverly O.M., M.B.E., Dip R.A.D.A., D. Lit (Hon) or simply Miss Lou. Along with being a broadcaster, poet, cultural icon, and writer, Miss Lou was remarkable story teller and stories from around the world will be told in her honour.

Harbourfront Centre is proud to have worked alongside Miss Lou over the years. Her dedication to the preservation of Jamaican folklore and culture has opened the world to the Patois language and Caribbean culture. To honour her work, we have opened a permanent exhibition space dedicated to Miss Louise Bennett. This space is where volunteer storytellers can express their passion for the spoken word and share stories from their culture with our audiences.

Visual Arts

Circus Showroom: Past, Present and Future
Daily from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. (Marilyn Brewer Community Space)
Take a breather from all the high-flying activities and stroll through circus history by yourself or participate with the ringmaster/host. Posters and photographs will line the walls and miniature circus figures will be on display for all to see. This includes photos by Kathleen Finlay and a miniature circus world collection curated by Jeff Krahn. Since retiring in 1991 from touring his own show across Canada, A.W. Stencell has spent his time writing about the outdoor show world he loves. He has generously loaned some of his extensive collection of old posters and photos from circus history, a must see!

Beyond Imaginings: “Show Us Your Greenbelt” Photo Contest
For the past several months, amateur photographers have been invited to submit their best photos of Ontario’s Greenbelt to “Show Us Your Greenbelt” Photo Contest. Harbourfront Centre invited shutterbugs young and old to capture the Greenbelt experience on film and send it to us for the chance to win a bicycle and a “Tour de Greenbelt” jersey. Now, the top five photos have been selected and will be on display in York Quay Centre for the duration of HarbourKIDS: Circus.


World Café
Daily from 11a.m.-5p.m. (Lakeside Terrace Tent)
Visit the World Café on its opening weekend! The World Café offers a variety of international cuisine prepared by a rotating selection of popular Toronto restaurants and caterers. The World Café is also in a new location – the Lakeside Terrace Tent, so when you’re feeling hungry visit the restaurant and try some international cuisine.


By taking a look at regions of conflict, biodiversity, genetic re-combination, geological instability, and high energy, this theme gives artists a chance to explore these unique characteristics through reinvention, innovation and new dimensions. This theme is programmed into each festival to bring together rich artistic traditions from our own backyard and around the globe! This is a unique opportunity to experience top Canadian and international artists through music, dance, theatre, visual arts, film, literature and food in a fun, family-friendly environment without ever leaving the city!

SoundClash presented by NOW Magazine, Harbourfront Centre's Music Award
Submissions open from April 11-25, 2011
The summer’s hottest music competition happens at Harbourfront Centre with $10,000 in cash prizes up for grabs! We’re looking for Toronto’s hottest artists and bands to take centre stage this summer and compete for the SoundClash music award. A panel of music critics, bloggers, artists and industry reps will create a short list from the submissions received, then each artist and/or band will play the WestJet Stage this July to compete for three cash prizes and a variety of giveaways. The winner will be determined by a combination of jury selections and public votes. For more information, visit

Free Flicks: City Flicks
Tuesdays at dusk, July through August (WestJet Stage)
Join us outdoors by the lake for a screening of six different films, each highlighting the experience of living in a different city! Come explore Toronto, New York, Paris, Hong Kong, Tokyo and vote on the final film selection (Vienna, New Delhi or Cairo).

Hot Friday Picnics
Fridays, July through August, between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. (Ann Tindal Lawn)
Buy a sandwich, a snack, or an internationally inspired meal at the World Café and then enjoy it sitting on the Ann Tindal lawn, or pack your cooler with your favorite feast! Live entertainment will vary each week.

Sundays, 3 p.m. (locations vary)
A hot summer series devoted to young people and families, HarbourKIDS presents a hot lineup of artists and activities that will move, shake-up and entertain.

Dancing on the Pier
Thursdays, June 23 to Sept. 1 (Various locations on the waterfront)
Explore culturally hot dance trends and movements from across globe that will heat up the Harbourfront Centre site and its surroundings! The waterfront will be filled with sizzling flavors, movement and sounds from the best choreographers, social dance clubs and DJs to heat up the boardwalk!

World Café
Open weekends, May 21 to Oct. 10 (Lakeside Terrace Tent)
World Café offers a variety of international cuisine prepared by a rotating selection of popular Toronto restaurants and caterers. Come check out our new location and patio seating area!

International Marketplace
Open weekends, May 28 to Oct. 2
Shop for delightful gifts and treasures from around the globe!

Canoe Rides on the NatrelTM Pond
Daily, May to October
Our famous canoe rides will be available at the NatrelTM Pond all summer long! Take a break and enjoy a fun float beside our picturesque boardwalk. $4 per person for 15 minutes.

***NOTE: High-resolution images available online and by request***

For additional information and complete event listings, the public may visit or call the Information Hotline at 416-973-4000. Harbourfront Centre is located at 235 Queens Quay West in the heart of downtown Toronto’s waterfront.

A series of FREE festivals that run from Victoria Day through to Thanksgiving, Harbourfront Centre’s 2011 festival season explores ideas in contemporary culture, bringing together rich, artistic traditions from around the globe. Through the lens of Hot Spot, our festival lineup promises to entertain, stimulate and provoke.

Harbourfront Centre is an innovative, non-profit cultural organization which provides internationally renowned programming in the arts, culture, education and recreation, all within a collection of distinctive venues on a 10-acre site in the heart of Toronto's downtown waterfront.


Media contact:
Rosie Shaw

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