Shrine Circus Came to Town…the Stress of It! – Professional Toronto Photographer

A few weeks back I came home and hit play on messages that were left on my residential line.
One of those messages was from my dear sister and it pretty much said the following, “Hey I have extra tickets for the circus so you can take the kids.”

So while I totally appreciated her getting these tickets for us, and wanting to give them to us, I think that in future (which I already told her) that no one should leave messages like this on anyone’s voice mail…since quite a few do check their messages with their kids around. No leeway. Just a screaming chaotic mess of “OMG Aunty S is the best and we’re going to the circus!!!”

I just KNOW that there are other parents out there nodding their heads saying, “Oh yep we get it.”

Shrine Circus. Yes I know they originated with the Masons at the Knickerbocker Cottage in New York…let’s hear the conspiracies…lol!
They supposedly do a lot of good with their fund raising.
One of their major charities being the Shriners Hospital for Children with locations across the US and Canada.
Cool. Like really really cool.

Big Top

My kids loved the concession stand…popcorn, cotton candy…and (stale) corn dogs….

Concession Stand


The clowns on the unicycle were dextrous and quite funny…

Acrobatic Clown


My daughter was face painted by a lovely lady who we saw again in a trapeze act.

Face Painting



Mad skills here…

Horse Tricks

These guys were probably some of the best clowns we had seen! They were funny and had my kids (and everyone else) in absolute stitches!!

Funny Clowns


The human hamster wheel…blindfolded and G-d knows how far up from the ground he was…he made us hold our breath, cover our eyes and send fervent prayers to all deity’s in the hopes that he does not fall off that death defying contraption!

Spinning Wheel


Trapeze act…our face painting lady…she was pretty amazing!

Trapeze Act
Trapeze Act

Here’s the thing that bugs me though about this circus. I don’t profess to be the most educated on this subject, but it’s how I feel.
Elephants and circuses should not be mixed together in my opinion.

While the Shriners say that they take every care that they can for the animals – I just cannot fathom such a majestic animal being happy to travel from city to city confined, and not having the open space that they deserve on a consistent basis.
*Shriners have 10 acres and a pond with which they play in when at home.*

To train elephants, the trainers (I don’t know about the Shriners) prod them with what is called an ankus…or a bull hook.
At no point and time did me or my family see the trainers use the bullhook on the elephants.
Did they have them?
Did they use them?
Not while we were there.

But when we have the Toronto Zoo relocate the elephants that they had in a spacious-but not spacious enough- environment…I just cannot help but think to myself, really Shriners, with all the good that you do, and your cool and funny acts that families already enjoy…do you really really need the elephants?

My answer, is a big emphatic no.
So until the elephants go…we shall no longer be going to the Shrine Circus or any other circus that will be using exotic animals.


You an of course google more information on the subject of animals in circuses…but make your own informed decisions and don’t just go by what others tell you.

Some links that I found of interest:

American zoo keeper talks about using the bull hook:

What the Shriners say about their animals:

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