Teaching by example in Mexico.

Teaching by example in Mexico.


On Thursday night, I am honoured to be attending an invitation-only event at Toronto’s AGO, to celebrate the life of the one and only Toller Cranston.

My memories of Toller go back to being on the ice with him as a kid and, even then, wondering what it would be like to be that free and uninhibited. My freedom and lack of inhibition tended to live on the inside rather than outwardly for all to see – and admire.



To be able to publicly remember Toller and know that his legacy will live on with the launch of the Toller Cranston Memorial Fund is very special indeed.

If you’re on Twitter – I am @skatingpj – I have been given permission to live stream the presentation via Periscope which means that if you watch my feed (I think) there will be an indication of the link to watch the live transmission on my Periscope feed. Fingers crossed that it works and that we can all share in this amazing event 🙂 Pj


TollerCranston 1976 Olympic Bronze                                        PRESS RELEASE                                                 

                                            June 21, 2015

For immediate release:

                               Toller Cranston Memorial Fund

                      to be Launched at AGO Event on June 25, 2015

Artist. Skater. Visionary. Genius. There is only ever one ‘Toller’ in a generation.

Toronto, ON – The Canadian Olympic Foundation, in conjunction with the family, is announcing the creation of a memorial fund to honour the outstanding figure skating and art accomplishments of Toller Cranston who passed away suddenly at his home in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico on January 24, 2015. Cranston was 65 years old.

The six-time Canadian champion (1971-1976), 1974 world and 1976 Olympic bronze medallist is best remembered for his avant-garde figure skating style that transformed perfunctory, albeit athletic, men’s figure skating into a performance art form.

Debbi Wilkes, the 1964 Olympic silver pair medallist and former figure skating analyst and author sums up Cranston’s impact this way: “Toller’s skating was wildly colourful and dramatic, introspective, controversial, daring and bold. He was a game changer, believing that the expression of his inner self was the only way he could perform. He never took on another role in skating – the only one he ever chose was to be Toller – and his courage and vision changed the sport forever.”

The goal of the Toller Cranston Memorial Fund will be to assist young skaters to develop their artistic talents and help them infuse expression and creativity into their sport.  The specific details of these initiatives will be announced once they are confirmed at a later date.

For Cranston’s sister, Phillippa Cranston Baran, the purpose of this fund  extends beyond the boards of any rink: “In all of the tributes that have come in for Toller, what makes me the most proud is when I hear someone say: ‘Toller gave me the confidence and courage to believe in myself and to push farther and reach higher.’ It is these values that I think can be cultivated with the help of this fund.”

Cranston himself recognized that to be an artist is not an easy path and one that requires support:

“To be a genuine individualist requires a great deal of strength and courage. It is never easy to chart new territory, to cross new frontiers, or to introduce subtle shadings to an established color.”                             -Toller Cranston.



Toller Cranston Memorial Fund donation page

Toller Cranston Podcast on Open Kwong Dore – March 2013

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