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Specialty Acts

From Circus Ontario
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This section is for those performances which are more main stream and are usually held indoors, although not always, as will be shown.

While novelty acts would more likely become circus sideshow acts, the specialty acts would be more inclined to stay solo or integrate into vaudeville.

Tightrope Artists

Charles Blondin - "Jean Francois Gravelot" b.1824.02.28 St Omer, Pas de Calais, France

First arrived in Niagara Falls in early 1858, doing his first crossing in /1859 June 30. Crossed 8 more times that summer.
Carried his manager Harry Colcord on his back while crossing on /1859 August 14.

Equipment - 335 metre, 8 centimetre diameter manila rope & a 40 pound, 9 metre pole.
End Points - current site of Prospect Park in New York to current site of Oakes Garden in Ontario.
Direction - from New York to Ontario

Summer of 1860 Included pushing a wheelbarrow across.
/1860 July 04
Final crossing - September 8th 1860

Signor Farini - "William Leonard Hunt" b.1838.06.10 NY d.1929.01.17 Port Hope (family moved to Ont in 1843)
First performance - /1859 October 01 in Port Hope above the Ganaraska River
Niagara Falls - /1860 September 05
Chaudiere Falls, Ottawa /1864 September 09

Harry Leslie -
/1865 June 15
/1865 August 03

Samuel J Dixon -
/1890 Sep 06 Dixon- said to be over the Niagara Gorge using same cable as Stephen Peer; Peer died Jun 1887
- said to have used 7/8" wire & 16' pole built from 3 gas pipes
/1891 Jul 17 Dixon - said to have walked between Cantilever Railway & Railway Suspension Bridge


Grand Buffalo Hunt Wild Bill Hickock/1872 Aug 20 Buffalo Bill Cody /1875 May 24


See: John Cassel

Prof Ayrs - Sep 11 1862
Prof Ayrs - Sep 11 1862
Prof King Sep 1874
Prof King Sep 1874
Bowmanville Jul 30 1874
Bowmanville Jul 30 1874
Prof Buislay - May 22 1875
Prof Buislay - May 22 1875