HISTORY OF THE RING
The Martin Downs Ring was formed in Brantford, Ontario in 1952 under the leadership
of the late Edward Cripps. Ed was a great circus fan and was a friend of many of the circus people. His idol was the late
Terrell Jacobs.For many years Ed operated the Big Top Hobby Shop in Brantford where he sold circus wagon kits and where he
had his 1/4 inch model of Brant Bros. Circus on display on a big shelf behind the cash register. Ed was a modeller and
with other local fans it was decided to form the first Canadian ring. It is named after Martin J. Downs who was a well-known
circus man in the 1900 era. Among the several titles that he owned was Cole Bros., a name that is still around today. Other
well known Canadian circus men include Andrew Downey from Stratford, Al G. Barnes (Stonehouse) from Lobo Township near
London, the Garden Family and The Great Farini who was a rival of daredevil wirewalker Blondin.
The early members included Ed, Frank McKinnon, Woody Parmenter, Jack (Map)
Mailing, Walter Tyson, Paul Butler and many others the majority of whom are now deceased. Most of them were not actually modellers
but they were an active and vibrant club, visiting every circus in sight and usually taking pies and other treats to the lot
with them for the enjoyment of the circus people.
In 1972 it was decided to form the first Canadian Circus Fans tent.
Most of the original members were involved with one new member in the person
of A.W. (Al) Stencell, Canada's circus guy. Former owner of Royal Bros. Circus, Martin and Downs Circus, Super Circus and
Century All Star Circus. Al gave up the circus business a number of years ago and is now an author with two books to his credit.
Anyway, the final meeting to set up the tent was held at the home of Paul
Butler in Strathroy, Ontario. It was decided to name it after another well-known circus man, Fred Logan from Winnipeg, Manitoba
and long-time Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. elephant trainer.
And so it was that the Fred Logan Tent #119 CFA was born.
Because of the relatively small number of members and because they are spread
all over southern Ontario it was decided to merge the tent with the existing CMB ring which is a unique situation. Thus on
17 September, 1972 the combined Martin Downs Ring/Fred Logan Tent was born.
Now there is mostly all new blood in the club although a few of the original
members are still alive. The club now has about 50 members spread all over southern Ontario, the rest of Canada, Europe and
the USA. We are still an exceptionally active club displaying our models at a number of shows each year.
If you are a circus fan or like to build circus models, why not join the Martin
Downs Ring/Fred Logan Tent today? Go to the navigation bar at the left and click on