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'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child' parties planned across Canada

FILE - In this July 28, 2016, file photo, the Palace Theatre in London shows advertising for the new Harry Potter play. From planned quidditch demonstrations to a wand-making workshop and Triwizard Tournament, Canada is set to be put under Harry Potter's spell again. "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two," a script book stemming from a play that's in previews in London, hits the market on Sunday.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth, File
July 30, 2016 - 7:00 AM

TORONTO - From quidditch demonstrations to a wand-making workshop and Triwizard Tournament, Canada is set to be put under Harry Potter's spell again.

"Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts One and Two," a script book stemming from a play that's in previews in London, hits the market on Sunday.

And muggles in Canada who want to celebrate have several options.

Indigo and Chapters stores across Canada will host Midnight Magic events, starting at 10 p.m. on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Calgary's Kensington shopping district will be transformed into Diagon Alley from the Potter books on Sunday.

Some independent shops are also planning parties for the release, which coincides with the July 31 birthdays of the character Harry Potter and author J.K. Rowling.

McNally Robinson Booksellers in Winnipeg expects about 12,000 people will attend its Harry Potter party at Assiniboine Park, starting at 9 p.m. Saturday. It will include music and Potter-themed events, food and tents — from Three Broomsticks to Honeydukes and a Care of Magical Creatures area.

"The book itself is really something special," said Chris Hall, co-owner of McNally Robinson Booksellers.

"There's really nothing else like it. Nothing else would even come close to getting this kind of attention or warrant this level of party."

"Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts One and Two" is the script for the play by Jack Thorne, based on an original story written by himself as well as Rowling and director John Tiffany.

The story is set 19 years after the events of 2007's "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," the seventh and final instalment of Rowling's boy-wizard series. Harry is now "an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children."

"Harry Potter fans are very excited. They're dying to know what the story is about," said Yvette Caradonna, manager at Ella Minnow Children's Bookstore in Toronto, which will hold a party on Sunday featuring Professor Snape's potion classroom, Garrick Ollivander's wand shop and quidditch tryouts.

"Everybody is wondering: Is it new characters, is it Harry in a different role, is it his child that's cursed?"

But Halifax's Bookmark bookstore notes the book is a "different beast" than the original stories and hasn't reached the same level of frenzy there. As such, they're not planning a midnight party, as they did for the previous Potter releases.

"It was almost like a societal or a cultural tidal wave, the first Harry Potter, and this one is I guess less than that," said Michael Hamm, manager and buyer at Bookmark.

"It was just so massive and it was just so overreaching culturally that it just can't be duplicated, I don't think."

Still, Hamm, Caradonna and Hall said advance sales have been strong. Hall even expects to sell an equivalent number of books as "Deathly Hallows."

On Friday, the new book was No. 1 on Amazon.ca's best-sellers list.

"It's an exciting opportunity for us," said Hall. "It's been a long time and we thought it was over.

"There is an entire generation younger than me that grew up with these books and they are really a part of their lives.... They literally grew up with Harry Potter and each book, he was a bit older, they were a bit older and it's hard to describe what kind of place in their lives that this story holds."

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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