There once was a time, in the 70’s and 80’s and even before and after, that Montreal was a haven for restaurant magicians. I’d like to name them all, but I don’t know or remember them all. Mark Aronoff, an ex-Montrealer who now lives in Ottawa, helped jog my memory and filled some facts I didn’t know.
I know for sure Magic Tom (Auburn) did walk around magic at the Sheraton downtown for Sunday morning brunch. When George Schindler was in town Phil and I took him to see Tom and it was a delight. Magic Tom was also a regular at Piazza Tomasso for children’s parties. I remember him performing at my nephew’s birthday party but I believe that was in the late 60’s. Tom was also a regular every week-end in later years at Grey Rocks in the Laurentians.
Mark filled me in with the following details about himself and some magicians he worked with, etc. I’ll just quote him…
Nice speaking with you today. I forgot to give you the name of the restaurant that I worked at before Le Biftheque. That restaurant was Mille Fleurs Restaurant & Reception run by Phil Bloom, it’s gone now but was located at 5011 Buchan Street (near Pare). I did their Sunday Brunch for several months. This is where I met Michael Seltzer, who then hired me for Le Biftheque restaurant for Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. Later, while working at Le Biftheque, I met the marketing people for Restaurant La Maison Kam Fung and was hired to do their Saturday and Sunday Dim Sum in the mornings. After a few months I brought in Joey Incollingo to take over one of the days at Kam Fung. I guess we should thank Doug Henning for this resurgence of Magic in the 80’s.
Joey Incollingo was also doing magic at St. Hubert Bar-B-Q. Also filling in for Mark Aronoff at the Biftheque was Mehdi, Ted Outerbridge, and Mike Etcovitch. Later Philip and Henry worked at Le Biftheque as well. Philip was a ventriloquist but also a magician.
In the conversation that he refers to he said that Aladin had a regular Sunday brunch gig at the Sheraton. He had a small stage show and then did walk around magic. Mehdi had a similar set up at the Ramada.
Jonathan Levey worked at Le Tulip Noir and also at the Hotel de la Montagne.
Ted Outerbridge did table hopping at Wings and Things on Sherbrooke St. W and later at Mother Tucker’s.
Mike Etcovitch and Jack Frank did magic for a restaurant on Decarie, near Piazza Tomasso. (Nifties).
Blair Marshall had a weekly gig at the Delta.
Brian Zembic, the Wiz, did magic for Thursdays and was popular with the night crowd.
Michel Corriveau opened a magic Restaurant on Blvd St. Laurent and Gary Kurtz and a host of other magicians worked there.
Mehdi, Richard Sanders. Patrick Kuffs, and Jonathan Levy also worked at Bourbon Street.
And how could we possibly forget Ronald MacDonald? He was in every week buying balloons and magic? I included a youtube of a Ronald McDonald but not our Ronald McDonald.
I’m sure this is the tip of the iceberg, and some of it may be wrong…so please feel free to correct me and make additions to the list.
Regarding other Canadian cities, I know in Vancouver that Tony Eng was a regular at the Japanese Village; Roy Cottee performed at the Japanese village in Ottawa. Jon Charles performed regularly at a restaurant in Edmonton. And I know Toronto had magicians performing because we were in a restaurant that had one, who wouldn’t perform at our table because he recognized Phil and was intimidated by performing for another magician. He told us that later when we asked why he didn’t come to our table. Our guests were disappointed.
So if you have information about yourself or any other magician you know that worked in a restaurant, I’d love you to share that information with us.
A big thank you to Mark Aronoff, for his help!