A grand opening celebration took place on Saturday to officially open the Giroux Heritage Park. 

It was a sunny, hot and humid day and the community was prepared for the weather. With plenty of shade, food and drinks, families enjoyed the playground and conversations. 

Escape artist and magician Dean Gunnarson was invited to share in the festivities and perform a bit of magic. 

Gunnarson says he has a special connection to the community. Back in 1983, he met Giroux’s own magician Philip Hornan at the Children’s Hospital. The pair went on many adventures in and around Giroux, and sometimes they included Steinbach RCMP. 

“One of the fun things we used to do is go to the old Steinbach RCMP detachment and convince them to lock us up, in their handcuffs or leg irons, we even convinced them to lock us up in one of the RCMP jail cells at one time,” Gunnarson recalls. “We escaped, we managed to get out. And when they tore down the old detachment and built the new one, they donated that to the magic museum. So, lots of people that went through the museum through the years, could see that and a lot of the things that Philip and I escaped from.” 

Gunnarson spent time in February and March filming a movie that will be released in September. 

“It’s about Philip and myself and our escapes and adventures in Giroux, and escaping from the RCMP, and his battle with cancer. It’ll be a short film.” 

It will be shown at various film festivals around the world. He says the centre point is going to be all about the little community of Giroux. 

“By the time we’re done, lots of people are going to know about Giroux.” 

He hopes they can collect enough funding to turn it into a full-length movie. 

Philip passed away at the age of 15, and Philip’s Magical Paradise closed in 2018. 

-With files from Kenton Dyck

(Photo Credit: Carey Hawkins)