WINNIPEG — In rural Manitoba, in a tiny church, is a place full of magic. It may not be well known to people who live in Winnipeg, but a map with pinpoints hung on the wall shows where visitors have come from. People from all over the world have been through Philip’s Magical Paradise.
The unassuming building holds items from famous magicians like Harry Houdini and Dean Gunnerson. The idea all started with a little boy who loved magic.
“An elderly gentleman showed him how to do a few tricks. And then when he got sick, he met Dean Gunnerson at the hospital and from there it just grew,” Marilyn Hornan, the owner of the museum said.
Marilyn’s son Philip was just 10-years-old when he was diagnosed with cancer. He spent the last five years of his life performing magic tricks for people in between treatments.
“He couldn’t do things that the other kids were doing,” Marilyn said. “It was just not possible to run with them or ride bikes the way they could. It was his outlet.”
Philip wrote a letter to his parents before he died requesting that a room in their home be dedicated to his magic. His parents did far more than that. They built a museum for him. It’s in its 25th year, and after Marilyn’s husband Gordon passed away she continued running it on her own. It’s not an easy task for a 72-year-old.
“It’s a lot of work, but there’s enjoyment in it. I sort of get revived when I come over here. It’s special to me,” Marilyn said.
Marilyn receives a lot of support from Winnipeg’s Magic Club. On Sundays, volunteer magicians come by to perform for visitors.
“When people come out to this unique little spot in rural Manitoba, they have no idea what they’re getting into,” Scott Carnegie, one of the volunteers said.
Carnegie said the best part of sharing his magic is seeing the reaction.
“Magic is so fun,” Carnegie said. “The best part of magic is when you see that look in people’s faces when you wow them.”
Carnegie hopes that the museum is preserved when Marilyn can’t run it on her own anymore.
“It’s part of our history.”
Marilyn said for her, it’s a way to keep her son Philip alive every day.
Philip’s Magical Paradise is located on Provincial Road 311 in Giroux, MB. The museum is open throughout the summer. Admission is donation based and that money goes towards running the museum and cancer research.