A luxury hotel in Montreal wants you to get away and join the circus

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Backstage at Cabaret Celeste in front of a vanity mirror, Matthew Richardson (aka Jessica Bigtop) brushes his electric blue lids as he prepares for the evening’s performance. In a few hours, Richardson will be at the helm of the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth stage, hosting a sultry circus and cabaret show, seamlessly transitioning from French to English for mixed-language Montreal audiences and also rolling on stage in the axis of a giant Cyr wheel in a graceful and precise dance with the law of gravity.

“Everyone has their own superpower,” says Richardson, 37, a former graphic designer who entered the circus world more than a decade ago. “I generally find, however, that circus performers are kind and humble people and we all look up to each other.”

When the pandemic hit and large gatherings were put on hold, a conference room on the lobby level of the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth entered its second act and began serving as a venue for the Cabaret Celeste show which features a troupe of jugglers , acrobats, hoops and other performers at the stage.

Now, in addition to a chic tea time at the Rosélys restaurant and an immersion in the museum-like suite where John Lennon and Yoko Ono held their legendary Bed-In for Peace, the circus show offers a unique experience to historic hotel guests. And, in a city known as the hub of modern North America’s circus, the hotel goes one step further and invites guests to embrace in an element of escapism and run to join the circus (even if that’s not the case). is only for one day).

The hotel’s Ultimate Circus Experience package includes VIP tickets to Cabaret Celeste, a 90-minute show set in a 200-seat venue that’s been transformed into a midnight-blue starscape. The package also includes a behind-the-scenes tour of Cirque Éloize’s creative studios (including, yes, a glimpse of the locker room overflowing with colors and plumes of feathers) as well as an introductory circus workshop with professionals, some of whom perform at Cabaret Céleste.

The historic Fairmont Queen Elizabeth, which underwent a $140 million transformation in 2016, is designed to serve as a launching pad to see, taste and feel all the city has to offer, with views of the Montreal skyline from Le Nacarat bar which overlooks René-Lévesque Boulevard and easy access to the famous underground city on which it sits. When the 21-story hotel made its debut in April 1958, it was considered a masterpiece of innovation because it was built above Central Station and required clever engineering to overcome the vibrations of passing trains.

Today, innovation continues, this time with the pressure of a pandemic and reinvents spaces. Even with Montreal’s circus heritage, the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth became the first hotel in Eastern Canada to offer entertainment within the walls of a hotel property, similar to a Las Vegas-style residence and with a immersive for those curious about the circus.

At Éloize’s off-site creative studio workshop, tourists can get a taste of specialized circus skills and they are welcome to try their hand at beginner acts under the guidance of those who have mastered the skills. Stations include juggling lessons (think of an arc above your head and start by throwing balls from side to side) and hula-hoop tutorials to swing hoops around your hips and up and down your arms.

To get the adrenaline pumping, an aerial silk hung in the workshop invites you to cocoon yourself in the fabric, to lean back, your ankles hanging from the silks and your arms outstretched in “ta-da”. Then, ape the trapeze and test your core strength on the device.

Oh, and if you end up discovering that you have a calling, know that the National Circus School is located in Montreal

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