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31 Faces North

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31 Faces North was an annual invitation-only magic conference hosted by Magicana (David Ben) in association with Allan Slaight. The event was four days of the magicians hanging around sharing food, drinks and secrets.

The conference gathers sleight-of-hand magicians, magic historians and experts (originally 31 but now around 40) for a four-day conference.

Slaight and Ben were inspired to host the conference by the late P. Howard Lyons. The two first met at Lyons’ conference called The Ibidem Event (named after Lyons' magazine at the time, Ibidem). The event was held at the Oban Inn at Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada. There were three gourmet meals a day, an open bar for four consecutive days, and minimal scheduled events to allow attendees to just eat, drink and share knowledge. Lyons died in 1987 and so did the conference.

In 2002, Ben and Slaight thought it was time to resurrect the concept. Many believe they named the event "31 Faces North" in honor of Lyons' and Slaight’s magical muse Stewart James's famous "51 Faces North". The truth is that when they set up chairs in the room, they discovered that it would comfortably hold 31 people. As all of the chairs were facing north, the name became 31 Faces North (as an obvious play on Stewart’s title.)

They expanded the facility over the years and now accommodate about 40 attendees.

The ninth and final convention was held in 2013.[1]


  1. The Tradition of The Ontario Invitation by Stephen Minch, Genii 2013 October