John Giodmaine (1898 - 1974)

One of Canada's most popular entertainer who became known as 'the Maltese Houdini'.

He spent his childhood at St. Paul's Bay, and between 1914 - 1918 he followed City and Guilds (London) courses in electrical engineering. After the war he found work at the railway workshop and later at the dockyard as an examiner with the department of the Naval Telephone System.

In 1919 he left Malta for California as a beneficiary of the Pappaffy fund, but decided to stay in Toronto. He worked as an electrician, and enrolled in the Toronto Technical School, and was eventually accepted as an Associate Member of the Institute of Electrical Engineers.

In 1930 he began his professional career as entertainer, appearing on Canadian and U.S. television shows as a magician. In 1963 he was award the prestigious Star of Magicians award in New York, as well as membership of the Inner Circle of London, and other international magic associations. In 1999 a film (Sleight of Hand) was made about him and shown on Canadian television.

His interest in fellow migrants was evident: he was one of the founders of the Maltese Canadian Society of Toronto (M.C.S.T).

He married Anna Caine from the U.S.A., and had a son, Joseph who obtained his Ph.D from Columbia University, and was a co-discoverer of a method of changing the wavelength of laser light.

When he died in 1974, John had spent 44 years as a migrant in Canada.

[For further information see: Profiles in Maltese Migration by Fr Lawrence E. Attard, 2003, PEG, Malta]

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