Skate Canada and the entire skating family are saddened to hear of the passing of six-time Canadian champion and Olympic bronze medallist Toller Cranston. Cranston passed away at 65 years of age in San Miguel, Mexico where he had lived for many years.
Referred to by some as a modern pioneer of artistic skating and by the European press as “skater of the century”, Toller Cranston’s influence on men’s figure skating is incalculable.
“A skater with a painter’s eye”, his original artistry and dramatic showmanship on ice broke new ground in figure skating and thrilled audiences.
From 1971 to 1976 Toller was six-time Canadian champion. He placed second in the 1971 ultimate North American Championships held in Peterborough. In 1973 and 1975 he won the newly created competition, Skate Canada International. At the 1974 world championships in Munich he earned a bronze medal. That same year he was chosen as the Sports Federation Athlete of the Year.
At the 1975 and 1976 world championships in Colorado Springs and Gothenburg, respectively, he placed fourth. In Innsbruck, at the Olympic Games in 1976, at twenty six years old, Cranston won the bronze medal.
Since retiring from amateur skating, he was inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 1976 and Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1977. He was also made an Officer of the Order of Canada that year. In 1995 he received a Special Olympic Order from the Canadian Olympic Association. In 1997 he was inducted into the Skate Canada Hall of Fame. An accomplished painter in his later years, Cranston’s artwork is as well-known as his skating.
Skate Canada offers its sincere sympathies to Cranston’s family and friends. Skating has lost a true legend.