Ontario figure skaters have been leaving their mark for as long as there have been competitions to record them. We are #SkateOntarioProud of all of them.

Going back in time to 50 years ago or so, a young Toller Cranston was training to take his place among the ‘greats’ at that time. He would ultimately rise to the level of Olympic bronze medallist in 1976, World bronze medallist in 1974 along with claiming 6 national titles.

Toller was one of a kind. As an artist on the ice, he forged a path of expression in men’s figure skating that served as a template for the likes of other Skate Ontario legends like Olympic silver medallist Patrick Chan. Off the ice and armed with a paintbrush, his exploration of colour, theme and texture was also unique and stands the test of time (and taste!).

“It is important to remember those that came before this generation of skaters,” said Lisa Alexander, Executive Director, Skate Ontario. “The fact that Toller has exerted the kind of influence that he has on the generations that came after him is something to be celebrated. We are thrilled at Skate Ontario to claim Toller as one of our own.”

On January 24, 2015, at the age of 65, Toller was found dead of an apparent heart attack in his home in San Miguel Allende, Mexico. As fate would have it, just before the men’s free skate final, news of his passing spread like wildfire at the Canadian National Championships that were taking place in Kingston at the time. One day later and nobody would have been talking about him, but as it was, the rink was buzzing with stories and memories and shock at Toller’s passing. He would have loved the attention and it seemed fitting that his skating family was together in that moment.

Not long after, Toller’s sister Phillippa Cranston Baran set out on a project to pay tribute to her talented, eccentric, ethereal and divinely-inspired artistic brother. The words may seem extreme but in truth don’t come close to capturing the spirit of the man.

Phillippa’s project is a book called “Toller Cranston: Ice, Paint, Passion” and is an anthology of sorts with over 150 contributors sharing their view of Toller, what he did and the legacy that he leaves behind. The commentary, opinions and memories come from famous people (like Joni Mitchell, Don Jackson and Leonard Cohen) and not-so-famous alike like Toller’s staff from his Mexico home.

“To have the support of so many friends and fans who knew Toller and who were willing to share their stories has been a blessing I wasn’t expecting and to launch the book in the heart of the Skate Ontario region feels like coming home,” said author Phillippa Cranston Baran

On Saturday, February 24th from 1 – 4 pm, there will be a free event at the Donna Child Fine Art Gallery in Toronto celebrating the launch of Toller Cranston: Ice, Paint, Passion (see attached invitation), and all are welcome!

Toller Cranston, Ice, Paint, Passion is also available from Amazon and local booksellers as well as by order from the publisher, Sutherland House Books <>.


Never Miss an Update

Subscribe to the Skate Ontario newsletter to get the latest club, coaching, or events and technical news.

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: . You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Official Shop

Show off your skate pride with offical gear.

Shop now