Artifacts to be displayed in the Mandrake the Magician exhibit

New exhibit celebrates life of world-famous magician with Surrey roots

February 9, 2021
Museum of Surrey

Surrey, BC – The Real Mandrake the Magician is set to appear in the Museum of Surrey’s Community Treasures exhibit space February 17 to May 16, featuring the legendary career of the late Leon Mandrake.

The world-renowned magician, mentalist, illusionist, escapologist, ventriloquist, and stunt performer with Surrey roots, is survived by his son, Lon, also a local magician. Lon has teamed up with Museum of Surrey staff to pay tribute to his famed father – sharing a compelling story of curiosity and cultural transformation. Discover how Leon’s life converged with the civil rights movement, the polio epidemic, scientific achievement, and comic book fandom.

Visitors will have the opportunity to see magical tools of the trade like Leon’s decks of cards and magic wand, posters from performances, comics from that era, costumes belonging to Mandrake the Magician and his assistant, Lon’s mom Velvet, and more.

Leon was affected by adversity throughout his career, including some of the same challenges families face with the COVID-19 pandemic today.

“Magicians were like rock stars in the 1930s and 1940s, filling stadiums with crowds of fans,” said Jessie McLean, Assistant Curator. “But the poliovirus epidemic of the 1950s, which mainly affected children, meant that playgrounds, gatherings, and live shows were cancelled.”

Since reopening back in 2018, there have been eight Community Treasures Exhibits at the museum, including: ‘Our Colours Our Stories,’ ‘Diverse Francophones,’ ‘Filipino Textiles,’ ‘Chinese Culture’ and ‘Discover Your Story: We Can Help.’

“Community Treasures celebrates the stories of Surrey’s people,” said McLean. “From Filipino textiles, to Mandrake the Magician, you will be surprised at the diversity of stories from Surrey’s amazing community.”

Museum of Surrey welcomes the community’s exhibit proposals. They are reviewed for how well they fit the museum’s mission and values. For more information, or to fill out an application, visit surrey.ca/museum.

Call 604.592.6956 or email museum@surrey.ca to register for your visit, including how many people will be in your party (including infants). The museum follows all citywide COVID-19 safety protocols. A maximum of 34 registered visitors are allowed in the museum at a time for visits. Upon arrival, please wait outside, observing COVID-19 health protocols. Staff will invite you inside and continue check-in at Reception. Maps will be available for self-guided visits. Masks are mandatory and must be always worn. For more information about Leon Mandrake, leonmandrake.com.

Museum of Surrey is a dynamic and accessible community hub and cultural space that reflects the City of Surrey’s innovation and creativity. It is a people museum, with a mission to connect people and stories through engaging events, interactive award-winning exhibits, programs, textiles, and local, national, and international exhibitions, as well as public space for rentals. The facility, located at 17710 56A Avenue in Surrey, is on the Heritage Campus, home to Veterans Square, Anderson Cabin, 1881 Town Hall and Anniedale School.

Contact Info

Kristyl Clark
Communications Coordinator
Heritage Services
604-502-6463
kristyl.clark@surrey.ca