Feds loan $4M for Cavalia expansion, training

Cavalia, a touring equestrian, dance, acrobatic and multimedia show based in Montreal, has picked up $4 million in repayable federal funding to build a permanent horse-training facility and mount a new production.

The new horse training centre, to be built at Sutton, about 110 km southeast of Montreal, is intended to put Cavalia “in a good position to maintain its standing in this growth niche and to thereby secure its long-term growth and development,” MP Denis Lebel said in a federal release Tuesday.

Cavalia, a new operation developed by Cirque du Soleil co-founder Normand Latourelle, plans to develop a second “large-scale multidimensional equestrian production” to premier in both Canada and the U.S.

The funding, Latourelle said in a separate company release Tuesday, “will enable us to further develop our facilities in Sutton which will become a primary creative environment and training centre for our two- and four-legged artists.”

The initiative is part of a larger expansion project that is expected to result in nearly $26 million in overall investment and the creation of some 170 jobs by 2011, the government said.

“In just a few short years, Cavalia has succeeded in building an enviable reputation on the world stage,” Lebel said. “The consummate Canadian ambassador, this show plays an unparalleled role in showcasing the creativity of our artisans and the cultural wealth of our country.

“This production’s impressive success is now prompting the enterprise to expand its activities in order to increase its reach, break into new markets and continue acting as a driving force in the Sutton area.”

The latest expansion is also expected to generate “significant spinoffs” for the region’s subcontractors and suppliers, among others, the government said.

Cavalia’s current productions include about 60 horses and 40 performers, musicians and riders. Horse breeds involved in the shows include Lusitanos, Pure Spanish-Bred, Quarter horses, Appaloosas, Criollos, Belgian horses, Comtois, Oldenbergs and Canadian horses.

The $4 million for Cavalia is to flow through the Canada Economic Development Business and Regional Growth program.

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