CIRCUS TENT BUILD – Old School Circus Rigging

Yesterday we had the amazing opportunity to work with two of our partner companies, Circus Orange and CircusTentForRent, to put up the brand new circus tent for the very first time. Of course, it was the hottest day of the year so far, but that didn’t stop the team from having an amazing time, and learning a lot about “circus rigging” from the previous owner of the tent, and high-wire master, Sacha Pavlata.

This circus tent is, in fact, a “baby” when it comes to tents, but it is made by the famous tent maker VSO in France, so it is very authentic. VSO makes all the tents for Cirque du Soleil, among others. It measures 65’ X 55’ X 36’ high. Even at that modest size it still took a lot of muscle, sweat and blisters to get it all set up.

Circus tents are designed to be built with nothing more than human power, and maybe an elephant or two if you happen to have them around. As we had no elephants, and this was the very first time we put this tent up, we elected to do it “old school” and that meant no hydraulic tent post drivers. Each of the 70+ giant 4’ long tent stakes was driven with sledge hammers. It was a great workout if I say so myself, but I think we just might rent the jackhammer next time around…  All the rigging and the main roof is raised with Tirfor manual cable hoists and elbow grease. It was really satisfying to see it how it all came together, and we learned a lot from our new circus rigging mentor Sacha. I just want to personally thank everyone who came out and helped;  It was a great day, and the start of a whole new reality for Circus Orange with this fantastic tent.


Because we are a full service pyrotechnic and special effects company, who specialize in doing dangerous deeds, we get some pretty unusual and awesome phone calls from time to time. Last week was a good example of this.

The Halton Bomb Squad was having their annual public outreach day at their facility and they thought it would be fun to show off some of their fancy big boy toys. The main attraction was their fully remote control tracked bomb-disposal robot. The thing is, a bomb-disposal robot is only as much fun as the bomb it disposes of, right? This is where Danger Boy came in. Constable Andy Olesen asked our team to use our special effects knowledge to fabricate a “bomb” that would be safe enough to be functioned near a live audience, but impressive enough to really wow everyone. We had just the thing.  We created a “salt and pepper” bomb and, I can’t go into the exact details here, but let’s just say it had the desired effect. The robot scooped up the bomb, drove it to a safe location across a closed off street, backed safely away and BOOM. Off it went.

This was a good example of how our certified special effects pyrotechnicians can create custom explosions and hits for almost any scenario you could dream up. It was also nice to develop a relationship with the bomb squad and find out a little bit more about how they do things. And of course it was really great to play with all their expensive toys.

Check out the pics of this stunt below.


On Friday night we teamed up with The Toronto Bagpiper and Circus Orange Inc. to create an all new hybrid act called the Pyro Piper.  What is a Pyro Piper you ask?  Well, it is pretty much just what it says – a bag pipe act combined with a boat load of pyrotechnics.  It is a little bit crazy for sure but we had fun doing it and, who knows, maybe it is an act that will catch on.

This is one of those cases where we had to be very careful because we were combining pyrotechnics with weird things like bear skin hats and irreplaceable bag pipes.  We thought it turned out pretty good.


Some times we like to look back at some of our big success from the past. This time last year we were right in the middle of a Canada wide tour with our favorite new country artist, Johnny Reid on his Fire it Up tour. We had worked with Johnny in the past so when he was looking for a company to do all the special effects for his 33 date tour all across Canada, he came to us first. We put together a wicked special effects package, specially designed for his show, and sent one of our best technicians across the country with him.  The results were spectacular, and the show was a huge success. We loved working with Johnny and his entire team, and look forward to the next tour.


We just finished a great show with our new FogScreen® out in Banff, Alberta. The event was called Snow Tracks for Corona, and it was basically a big DJ party in a club. The guests were winners of a contest Corona had online and it was actually a really great party and the DJs were awesome. Lots of old school tunes!

Corona went all out on the decorations and extras for the event. There were ice sculptures, a buffet, great DJ’s, awesome lighting (nice one Ian) and of course, our FogScreen®. In this case the FogScreen® was placed over an entranceway where people move from one part of the club to the other.  t was a great use of the screen as it made the clientele walk right through corporate branding for the event. The photographer set up right in front of the screen and took pictures of people all night long as they played in the screen.

In this case the video playing on the screen was a wicked Corona loop. One thing that that we have learned with regards to FogScreen® video content is to get it early from our client so that we can optimize it and make it look the very best it possibly can. In this case the client gave us the video loop a week in before the show so we had a chance to tweak it for the FogScreen®.  We adjusted the contrast a little and slowed the loop down by about 50%.  We also added a static logo shot on a black background at the beginning and end as contrasting colors on black look best on the screen.

This was a really successful event for us and a lot of fun.  Here are some pictures from the show.