Views / Ottawa / Backstage Pass Ottawa

Success is no illusion for local magic maker

Not many kids could tell you for sure what they want to be when they grow up. But illusionist Michael Bourada has known the answer to that question ever since receiving a magic kit for his birthday.

“I started flirting with magic when I was eight years old,” says Bourada. “I liked the idea of amazing people and kind of just rolled with it from there. Eventually I worked my way up to having a mini kids’ show for local neighbourhood parties by the time I was 11 or 12.”

Bourada continued performing magic all through high school, doing roughly 30 to 40 shows a year while his friends were slinging burgers and hawking jeans.

“It was really my only job,” he says. “It wasn’t like I was rolling in the dough or anything like that, but while a lot of friends of mine worked at retail stores or fast food chains, I was doing kid’s parties, fairs and festivals.”

When Bourada graduated high school, he knew he wanted to continue a career in magic. Even though his parents were supportive of the idea, they encouraged their son to go to college so he had a backup plan — just in case.

“My parents wanted me to do what I wanted to do but, like any parent, they were probably a little nervous about their child going off and trying to perform magic for a living. It’s not the norm, that’s for sure,” he says with a laugh.

So, Bourada completed a fast-track multimedia and design program at Algonquin College and used those skills to put together videos and build his website. Now magic is his full-time gig.

“I was determined to make it work and, very thankfully, it has,” he says.

These days, Bourada is one of the most sought-after magicians in the city, performing close to 200 shows a year. But he admits, thanks to the Internet, his job is a lot tougher now than it was even 10 years ago.

“Some people are out to prove it’s not real, where a lot of others understand it’s not real but accept it as a form of entertainment. If you go see The Dark Knight Rises, that’s not real and a lot of it is far-fetched, but it’s entertaining,” he says.

“It can be a challenge, but part of being a magician or someone who fools people for a living is to live up to that challenge.”

For more on Michael Bourada, visit

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