Paul Hooson

Paul’s first foray into clowning therapeutically began in 1976 at the IWK Children’s Hospital in Halifax, when he paired up with a puppeteer to participate in a highly successful exploratory Child Life initiative using clown and puppetry for bedside visits.




David Langdon begins his 30 year 'clown turn' at Winnipeg Children's Hospital.



Doc Willikers

The Therapeutic Clown Doctor Program/M.I.R.T.H Unit is founded at B.C.'s Children's Hospital in Vancouver under the direction of Paul Hooson.  Paul was inspired by the clown doctors of the Big Apple Circus' "Clown Care Unit" in New York City. This is Canada's first professional Clown Doctor Program. 



Joan, Paul, David and Camilla

"Nobody's Fool: but Everybody's Laughing (A Celebration of Canadian Clowning)", a conference on humour and health, brings together Canada's therapeutic clowns, Joan Barrington, Camilla Gryski, Paul Hooson and David Langdon for the first time. They discuss the future of therapeutic clowning. Conference presented by Sue Proctor and Clownwise Inc.



Joan Barrington

Mary Hirst and Joan Barrington founded the original iteration of Therapeutic Clowns Canada (TCC), a non-profit foundation created to help bring therapeutic clowning to all major pediatric facilities across Canada through the provision of seed funding and the training of therapeutic clown practitioners.




Therapeutic Clowns Canada Foundation founds program at Credit Valley (Mississauga) under the direction of Lucia Cino.

"Play It Again: a conference on humour, play, creativity, and the arts" again brings together therapeutic clowns from across Canada. Conference is presented by Sue Proctor and Clownwise Inc.



Molly Penny

TCC Foundation establishes a program at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, under the direction of Ruth Cull.

Camilla and Karen.png


Award Winners

Camilla Gryski receives the Today’s Parent For Kid’s Sake Award for her work as “Posy” on SickKids’ Haematology Oncology Unit.

Longwoods Publishing presents Karen Ridd with the first Therapeutic Clown Achievement Award in Canada.



Dr. Flap and Ricky

TCC Foundation sets up a new program at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehab, led by Jamie Burnett, who tragically passed away at a young age. This program is now under the direction of Helen Donnelly.




TCC Foundation forms a program at London Health Sciences Centre (London, ON), under the direction of Ken Sperling.




TCC Foundation establishes a 

program at Alberta Children's Hospital (Calgary), under the direction of Cheryl Oberg, with Fif Fernandes

david robo award.jpeg


Robo Award

David Langdon receives the Robo Award (formerly the Therapeutic Clown Achievement Award).



Karen Ridd

Karen Ridd is honoured at the second annual CATC/ACCT symposium in Winnipeg, celebrating 20 years of Therapeutic Clowning in Canada.




TCC Foundation founds a program at IWK (Halifax), under the direction of Cleve Sauer.

lily pediatrie.jpg


Clowns Therapeutiques Saguenay

Josée Gagnon and Moira Sheffer-Pineault launch Clowns Thérapeutiques Saguenay at a seniors residence in Chicoutimi, Quebec.

Dr Clown opens operations in Toronto under the direction of Kathleen Le Roux and Jamie Burnett.

25 group photo.jpg


Celebrating 25 Years

The 7th Annual CATC/ACCT symposium is held in Winnipeg : "Celebrating 25 Years of Therapeutic Clowning and Clown Doctoring in Canada and the United States".  Michael Christensen was honoured along with Canadian therapeutic clown pioneers Karen Ridd and Renee Ethans.

clown nose.jpg



CATC/ACCT membership votes to relieve the administrative load of maintaining an Association in favour of establishing a professional network comprised of the same individuals.

clown nose.jpg


Therapeutic Clowns Canada

Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital hosts a Symposium on Clowning in Therapeutic Environments.


At this symposium, CATC/ACCT members vote to restructure the Association as a Network, and to adopt the name Therapeutic Clowns Canada (TCC).

The Canadian Contingent.jpg


HCIM Lisbon

Canadians 'represent' at the Healthcare Clown International Meeting in Portugal.  Karen Ridd recognized by the international community as the 'Mother' of healthcare clowning.

Canada contingent Vienna 2018.jpg


HCIM Vienna

Canadian contingent at the 2018 Healthcare Clowning International Meeting in Austria.

Molly Cuba 2.jpg


Molly Penny in Cuba

In 2018, Therapeutic Clowns International instrumental in staging the first 'Cuban Congress of Therapeutic Clowns: Art and Health' in Havana.

MIRTH 25 4.jpg


Happy 25th Anniversary!

BC Children’s MIRTH Unit (Medicine Incorporating Remedies that Tickle the Heart) celebrates its 25th anniversary!

Robo 2.jpg



Karen Ridd (Robo the Clown) approaches Ruth Kettner (manager) and Renee Ethans (CHTV director) of the Child Life Department at Winnipeg Children's Hospital, and the first Canadian therapeutic clown program is founded (May 1986). This is probably the first formal therapeutic clown program in the world.



Bunky and Karen Ridd

Joan Barrington first proposed the idea of therapeutic clowning to The Hospital for Sick Children in the early 90's. She then went out and raised the funds to hire Karen Ridd (Robo), and in 1993, The Therapeutic Clown Program at SickKids was launched, a first in Ontario. Karen would also act as a mentor to Joan, and soon her alter ego 'Bunky' was born.

1995 Hubert and Bunky.jpg

1994 and 1995

The Trailblazers Meet

Paul visits Joan at SickKids in Toronto in 1994.  

In 1995, Joan and Le Rire Medicin's Caroline Simonds (France) visit David Langdon's program in Winnipeg.  At this time Paul Hooson was interning with the Clown Care Unit in NYC. Paul reconnects with Caroline in New York, with whom he had worked in Paris in 1971.

David and Paul HCN.png


David and Paul

Mary Hirst facilitates a work session in Toronto with Joan Barrington, Camilla Gryski, Paul Hooson and David Langdon to discuss the future of therapeutic clowning in Canada.
The second "Nobody's Fool: but Everybody's Laughing" conference is convened in Winnipeg and we solidify our resolve to move forward, together.



Fools for Health

Fools for Health founded in Windsor, Ontario by University of Windsor Prof. Bernie Warren, working in both pediatric and elder care.

Fondation Dr Clown PRINT-1.jpg


Dr. Clown

Dr Clown founded in Montreal under the direction of Melissa Holland, Olivier Hugues-Terreault, Florence Vinit and Germaine Gibara, delivering services to pediatric and elder care facilities.



Hubert and Onri

David Langdon (Hubert the Clown of Winnipeg Children's Hospital) introduces a verbal clown doctor character, Onri. He is the only Canadian practitioner who embraces both personas and styles, in his work.

TCC Foundation founds a program at Trillium (Toronto/Mississauga).

clown nose.jpg


CATC/ACCT is on its way...

Canadian Therapeutic Clowns take part in "Challenging Stereotypes: A Celebration of Arts in Community", presented by the Canadian Centre on Disability Studies.

A meeting here leads to the creation of The Canadian Association of Therapeutic Clowns/ L'Association Canadienne des Clowns Therapeutiques (CATC/ACCT).




Paula Masterson founds the Therapeutic Clown Program at the Grande Prairie Regional Hospital



St. Boniface

TCC Foundation founds a program at St. Boniface General Hospital (Winnipeg), under the direction of Sue Proctor and Pat Holbrow.

Posy on bench.jpg



After nine years as Therapeutic Clown Posy at SickKids in Toronto, Camilla Gryski founds Therapeutic Clown Services in Toronto, the first Canadian Therapeutic Clown private practice.




CATC/ACCT is formally established, with 27 charter members representing all Canadian programs. The Association developed a comprehensive Statement of Principles, Code of Ethics and definition of Therapeutic Clown, with a commitment to regularly gather, share, and network, among ourselves.

Bunky and Doc.png


Bunky and Doc Willikers

Joan Barrington in Toronto and Paul Hooson in Vancouver are the co-recipients of the Robo Award



CATC/ACCT Symposium

Mary Hirst honoured for her work with Therapeutic Clowns Canada Foundation at the 3rd annual CATC/ACCT symposium in Toronto.

TCC Foundation disbands, having met its mandate to found Therapeutic Clown Programs from coast to coast.

jest for JOy.jpg


Jest For Joy

Jest For Joy launches at Vancouver’s George Pearson Centre under the direction of Allyson Grant and Briana Rayner. This company was mentored by Fools For Health.



Clowning For Health and Well-Being

The Dr Clown team in Toronto makes a transition into private practice. Dr Clown Toronto closes and Kathleen Le Roux establishes an independent practice, Clowning for Health and Well-Being, partnering with independent therapeutic clown practitioners, Heather Annis and Denise Oliver.



Doc and Fizzie

Paul Hooson retires after 20 years of service; Sand Northrup takes over administration of Therapeutic Clown Program at BC Children’s Hospital (formerly Doc Williker’s Therapeutic Clown Program”)

bunky 1.jpg


Bunky, Therapeutic Clowns International

After taking 'Bunky' and therapeutic clowning to El Salvador, Colombia, Mexico and Cuba, Joan Barrington incorporates the non-profit Therapeutic Clowns International (TCI), dedicated to enriching the lives of hospitalized, critically ill and disenfranchised children globally.



North American First!

Helen Donnelly launches the Therapeutic Clowning Certificate Program at George Brown College in Toronto, the first of its kind in North America.

Graduates join Helen's not-for-profit organization 'Red Nose Remedy'.



Happy 25th Anniversary!

SickKids Therapeutic Clowns celebrate 25 years of service to patients and families in Toronto.

Hubert and accordion.jpg


Thank you David!

David Langdon retires after 30 years of service at The Children's Hospital of Winnipeg.

nana margie.png


Confronting COVID-19

Therapeutic Clown and Clown Doctor programs across Canada show creativity and resilience in dealing with the global pandemic.  While some programs continued in-person services, others were forced to take therapeutic clowning on-line.

  • Red Nose Remedy
  • Red Nose Remedy
  • Red Nose Remedy
  • Therapeutic Clown Resources
  • Dr. Clown Foundation
  • Dr. Clown Foundation
  • Dr. Clown Foundation
  • Dr. Clown Foundation
  • Grande Prairie
  • Banana Nirvana R&D Ink
  • Clowns Therapeutiques Saguenay
  • Clowns Therapeutiques Saguenay

Red Nose Remedy

Dr. Clown Foundation

Fondation Dr. Clown

Grande Prairie

Banana Nirvana