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Flying high at Toronto Circus Centre

If you’ve always wanted to run away and join the circus, it’s just become a little easier for M4Gers now that the Toronto Circus Centre has taken up residence in Leaside United Church’s beautiful gym. I attended a few toddler concerts back in the day in that space, so with images of Cirque du Soleil running through my head, I went to check out what the new circus school in the neighbourhood was all about.

Toronto Circus Centre is owned and operated by the super charming Jen Georgopoulos. Jen is a professional gymnast, stunt acrobat and circus artist whose career spans more than 25 years.

When I asked Jen what drew her to the Leaside neighbourhood, her reply was quick: “My chiropractor is on Bayview and I’ve always loved the look of the church…I knew it would be the perfect spot for my new business. The large stained glass windows give beautiful natural light to the space.”

She approached the church rental coordinator John Bell about renting the space. He had a good feeling about the venture and thought the new business would be a perfect fit for Leaside United. Since all of Jen’s circus equipment is portable and “low interference,” it can easily be moved and stored while not in use. The gym can then still be utilized by other community organizations, including Mrs. Park’s School, Leaside Badminton, and of course the Awesome Sale that the church holds twice a year.

To confirm the gym of the church was structurally sound to install the rigging for the circus equipment, Jen obtained the original blueprint drawings and hired an engineer to inspect the space. The good news was that Leaside United is in good structural condition. Rigging the equipment could begin. A cable and pulley system suspended from original beams in the ceiling allowed for all the most popular circus equipment to be installed, like a trapeze, an aerial hoop, a rope or chord line, and my favourite, the aerial silks. Large mats designed by Jen line the gym floor for ground acrobatic work and of course to catch you if you fall. All of the equipment is for use by children and adults.

For more info, visit www.torontocircuscentre.com