The International Brotherhood of Magicians Celebrates Winnipeg’s Connection

A new plaque dedication took place on William Avenue and Main Street in Winnipeg on Monday to mark the 100th anniversary of the International Brotherhood of Magicians (IBM) and Magic Day in the city.

IBM was started by three magicians, including Len Vintus, who is from Transcona, in 1922, and now the organization has about 15,000 members with local groups in more than 88 countries.

“He’s created the world’s largest magic organization with no computers, no smart phones, no fax machines, all with a typewriter and a ronograph,” said Dean Gunnarson, who is an escape artist from Winnipeg.

The IBM was created to connect magicians who lived outside major cities and could not attend magic club meetings.

“(Vintus) promoted magic, the city of Winnipeg, the province of Manitoba. He was a true ambassador for this city and this province and, of course, magic.”

When IBM was launched, Vintus sent out 20 copies of the first newsletter, with Gunnarson now noting that there were over 50,000 members over the life of the organization.

Gunnarson said the event was meant to honor Vintus, calling him a friend and mentor.

“He always called Winnipeg the magic city. So hopefully that can continue.”

Gunnarson said the plaque was originally unveiled in 1986 and a group of local magicians felt it was important to unveil it again to mark the special anniversary.

“Magic is in good hands. From magic giants of the past, to today, to the future. I think magic has a very bright spot in this city and future scenes.”

There is currently an exhibit installed at the Millennium Library showcasing the history of IBM.

Brian L. Hartfield