Inauguration of a new circus space by Cirque Hors Piste 

Inauguration of a new circus space by Cirque Hors Piste
May 1, 2023

Montreal, May 1, 2023 - Cirque Hors Piste, in collaboration with CCSE Maisonneuve and the Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve borough, invites the community to celebrate the inauguration of a new circus hub in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve on May 25. The result of collaboration between the borough and the cultural and community sector of Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, this project reaffirms the Emmanuel-Arthur-Doucet building’s history as a circus space and contributes to the cultural influence of the area.

Those who attend the inauguration will have the opportunity to discover the new spaces and  participate in a variety of activities, including artistic performances and circus workshops, accompanied by a live DJ.

"The arrival of Cirque Hors Piste at the Emmanuel-Arthur-Doucet building marks a cultural renewal and reinvigoration of the neighborhood’s social life. By providing a unique space for artists and circus enthusiasts to create and train, this collaboration will undoubtedly contribute to the development of circus culture in our community", said Pierre Lessard-Blais, Mayor of Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve.

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This new circus hub is an innovative project that combines social circus, artist services, a creative laboratory, and circus classes for leisure. This new home for Cirque Hors Piste is the first dedicated space for social circus in Canada and thus contributes to the development and promotion of circus as an effective tool for social inclusion.

"This new space will allow Cirque Hors Piste to become a unique platform for the learning as well as the development and innovation of social circus at the local, national, and international level", expressed Karine Lavoie, Executive Director of Cirque Hors Piste.

To meet the needs of the community, this new circus hub focuses on three areas of development: 

  • Carry out social circus projects to promote the development and inclusion of marginalized children, youth, and adults in the borough.
  • Offer the circus community a space for creation and development of circus disciplines throughout the Montreal area.
  • Contribute to the flourishing culture of Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve through a program of circus leisure activities.

"We have been dreaming of this over the past few years and it is coming true! This new space, already adapted to the circus arts, will be more suitable for welcoming our youth and offering opportunities for synergy with other partners, the circus community and the neighborhood. A place where diversity rhymes with social inclusion", expressed Karine Lavoie.


Contact Cirque Hors Piste : [email protected]
Organization website: cirquehorspiste.com
Social media : @cirquehorspiste 

Contact Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve borough:
Nadia Said, Communications Officer [email protected]


Cirque Hors Piste (CHP) is a Montreal-based organization dedicated to social circus intervention. The organization uses circus arts to offer marginalized and at-risk youth an alternative path of personal development, providing them with social support for them to progress and thrive as citizens. CHP’s impact on individuals in precarious situations is undeniable. CHP contributes more broadly to the collective well-being in its community.

Incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 2011, CHP builds upon a strong history. Formerly known as Cirque du Monde Montréal, CHP was founded by Cirque du Soleil through their social circus program. Cirque du Monde is a social action program resulting from a partnership between Cirque du Soleil and Jeunesse du Monde, an international non-governmental organization (NGO) sharing a common commitment to youth. Here in Montreal, the Cirque du Monde program began its activities in 1995, working with young people facing difficulties.

Social circus is an innovative approach to social intervention that harnesses the power of circus arts. It targets diverse populations whose social and personal circumstances are marked by precariousness. In this approach, learning circus techniques is not an end in itself; it primarily aims at the personal and social development of participants by fostering self-esteem, trust in others, acquisition of social skills, the development of civic-mindedness, and the expression of their creativity and potential. By helping marginalized populations find their place as active citizens in their community and enriching it with their unique personalities, social circus acts as a powerful catalyst for social transformation.

With expertise that has been developed and documented over the past 20 years, the social circus community has significantly expanded and now includes 500 organizations worldwide, including 30 in Canada.


"In essence, social circus, which is naturally social, supported by its participants, simultaneously engages with young people and their communities. This political gesture fosters connections and puts art in the service of social change (Spiegel, 2017), offering a transformative space capable of reconciling seemingly opposing ideas such as the marginalized and the norm, the particular and the universal, the prescriptive and the emancipatory. It is like navigating within a universe situated between the imaginary and the real." (Rivard, 2007).