Harry Houdini honed his craft in Halifax

Harry Houdini was an international legend.

Performing illusionist acts such as escaping from a straight-jacket underwater and surviving being buried alive were just a couple of the death-defying footprints he left behind in his legacy.

But, who would have thought Houdini had a connection to Halifax, Nova Scotia?


Houdini didn’t simply visit the province, he lived here for a month in 1896 as a young, aspiring illusionist. At 22 years old, Halifax and Dartmouth were crucial to his success as a world-famous magician.

His first headlining performance outside of the United States was performed in Dartmouth, and his first-ever jail break was performed at Halifax City Hall.

The City Hall (built between 1887 and 1890) at that time had an area that served as a jail.


In fact, just recently, in 2013, there was a Houdini séance (an organized attempt to communicate with spirits) held on the anniversary of his death.

Houdini died on Halloween in 1926 at age 52 and promised his wife that he would communicate with her from the afterlife.

Special thanks to local author, Bruce MacNab, for connecting all of the dots in Houdini’s Halifax history.


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