Cirque du Soleil: Montréal's Hometown Circus

The whimsical band of artists that became Cirque du Soleil began as street performers in Baie-St-Paul, a river town an hour north of Québec City. These stilt walkers, fire breathers, and musicians had one pure intention: to entertain. The troupe formally founded as Cirque du Soleil (Circus of the Sun) in 1984 has matured into a spectacle like no other. Using human-size gyroscopes, trampoline beds, trapezes suspended from massive chandeliers, and the like, Cirque creates worlds that are spooky, sensual, otherworldly, and beautifully ambiguous. More than 1,300 of the company’s acrobats, contortionists, jugglers, clowns, and dancers tour the world, and there are resident shows in Las Vegas and Orlando.

The company’s offices are in Montréal in the Saint-Michel district, not far beyond the Mile End neighborhood. And they’re not just offices. Cirque has been developing a small campus of buildings in this industrial zone since 1997. All new artists come here to train and live in residences on-site. The complex has a dance studio, acrobatic training rooms, workshops where the elaborate costumes and props are made, and a space large enough to erect a circus tent indoors.

The company doesn’t have permanent performances in Montréal, although it frequently sets up its signature blue and yellow tents in spring or summer in Vieux Port for up to 10 weeks. For information about when they’re coming to the province (and where else in the world you can find a show), visit

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.