Director: Laurence Green
Director Laurence Green, in his wonderful film "Sleight of Hand", tells the story of John Giordmaine and through this one life gives a glimpse into the history of the Maltese community in Toronto. Giordmaine's childhood and teenage years were spent on the Island of Malta, one of three islands that make up the country of Malta. In later years, when John described the island to his son, he would speak of a land of mystery, shrouded in the mists of times, where Great Kings, Crusaders and the bird of prey, the Falcon, ruled the island. In reality Malta was a nation of poverty. Nine of his brothers and sisters died of disease during childhood. It was a nation in the depths of an economic depression and a colony of Britain. Despite enormous odds, John's mother managed to get all three of her sons a college education and provide them with opportunities. When John reached the age of maturity, that opportunity was Canada.
In 1919, at the age of twenty, John set out on his own for Canada. He left his place of birth and all that was familiar: language, culture and family, in the hope that Canada would offer him the one thing which Malta could not. Like many Maltese coming to Canada at that time, John was unprepared for the Canadian winter. Like so many of his countrymen, who had come in the ten years before him, he settled in ‘The Junction' area of Toronto. For the next ten years, John worked as an electrician's assistant at the Swift Packing Company. It was hard, dirty and dangerous work. Working on a electrical circuit in 1930, John received an injury which acted as a catalyst and changed his life. Giordmaine, decided to leave the electrician profession to pursue his first love, magic.
Giordmaine had been interested
in magic since he was a child. He wanted to pursue the type of magic which
was fun. The type that left people wondering ‘how did he do that?'. Many
thought that he was crazy to leave his job with Swift in the heart of
the Great Depression to pursue something as non-conventional as magic.
But John understood that it's when people are at their lowest, that they
need magic. He became a local and then an international celebrity, but
kept faith with his goal of bringing laughter into people's lives and
staying close to his Maltese roots.