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Arts & Culture ᐊᔨᐦᑐᐧᐃᓐ

Lying eyes – Nation visits the Museum on Illusions

BY Will Nicholls Jul 19, 2023

What you see is not necessarily real. Your eyes can lie to you. In fact, that’s what magicians and illusionists depend on to thrill and amaze you. But there are simpler ways to do so and that is what Renne Gjoni, CEO of the Museum on Illusions, banks on. And it’s a good bank considering there are over 40 of his museums around the world. 

If you’re hoping to get a taste of lying eyes, and can’t afford an Eagles ticket, head over to one of the museums near you. There’s one in Montreal that the Nation took a tour of with seven-and-a-half-year-old Declan Nicholls. Though there were people without children enjoying the illusions having a kid with you just added to the experience.

Declan was amazed at everything and at times had to be pulled away from a particular illusion so that others could enjoy it as much as he did. His personal favourite (and mine) was the vortex. A stable platform with rails and a rotating cylinder. By the time you reach the middle, it felt like the walkway was rotating and everyone was grabbing onto the side rails. 

Declan started to panic but I got him through and showed him the people coming behind us were doing the same thing as the walkway wasn’t actually turning. Then it was Declan’s turn to drag me through the vortex another four times and he wanted to do more. It was like a carnival ride for him.

Another illusion had a swinging door that would close behind you. The inside was a hexagon with mirrored walls that made an infinity of the images surrounding you and whoever else was in the room. I had Declan close his eyes and spun him around, set him down and told him to find the way out. It took him two tries.

We were in the museum for about an hour and a half, though the tour usually takes 45- 60 minutes. Tickets are $20 for ages 3-15 and $26 for 16 years and up. The Montreal museum, located at 54 St. Antoine W, near the Place d’Armes metro station, is a truly enjoyable experience.

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Will Nicholls is a Cree from Mistissini. He started his career off in radio and is still one of the youngest radio DJ’s in Canadian history, having a regular show on CFS Moosonee at the age of 12. Will was one of the founding members of the Nation, and has been its only Editor-in-Chief.