A childhood battle with polio brought David Dore to the rink.

A love for figure skating kept him there for the next 63 years.

Mr. Dore – competitive skater, official, volunteer and world-renowned figure skating visionary –  passed away April 8th in Ottawa at the age of 75.

Confined to a wheelchair at 12 as he struggled with polio, Dore was advised to take up skating as a form of therapy as he learned to walk again.

Three days after he began, Dore was out of the wheelchair and on his feet – and he never looked back.

Eventually, Dore would become a respected official, judging in seven world championships and the 1984 Olympic Winter Games, and named the youngest President of the Canadian Figure Skating Association, now known as Skate Canada.  In 2002, Dore was elected 1st Vice President of the International Skating Union (ISU), becoming the first Canadian to serve in that role.

Dore has been bestowed with several honours, including Member of the Olympic Order, Honoured Member of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, recipient of three Governor General Awards and induction into the Skate Canada Hall of Fame.

The timeless impact David Dore had on skating will never be forgotten.

In recent weeks, Skate Canada launched the David Dore Mentorship Fund, to honour his vision and lifelong love of figure skating. In his own words, Paul Dore, David Dore’s son, pays an emotional tribute to his father:

Usually, the Skate Canada Hall of Fame ceremony occurs during the National Skating Championships. In 2008, when my father was inducted, he requested that the ceremony happen during the Skate ACGM. Close to his heart is the nuts and bolts of operating a successful organization, from grassroots programs all the way to the elite level. My father wanted to not only celebrate his Hall of Fame achievement with his family and peers, but also shine a light on the people at all levels that make an organization like Skate Canada work.

During my own career, I’ve always had a secret weapon. As I moved into management positions, I routinely called and continue to call my father asking for his thoughts. Much of his influence has been absorbed by watching him work and the many successes throughout his career, but also, bearing witness to how he treats people with respect and appreciation. He knows that in order to host a competition like the 2001 World Figure Skating Championships, it is the contribution of many individuals working collectively that creates a successful event, including thousands of volunteers. I have had a front row seat to see how people are inspired by his commitment and in turn, feel as though they have a personal and meaningful contribution to the overall event.

When my father retired from Skate Canada in 2002, I remember a story told by a colleague about when he started working at the organization. They sat in the stands at the 1993 Canadian Championships. Kurt Browning was on the comeback trail and about to reveal his legendary Casablanca program. Elvis Stojko was the challenger and right behind Browning in the world standings. Copps Coliseum was packed with almost 20,000 people and the warm-up was a chaotic scream-fest of the crowd cheering at every jump Browning and Stojko landed. The colleague remembered the obvious excitement coming from my father, because perhaps his favourite moment during an event, after all that goes into organizing a National or World Championship, is being in the audience as a spectator who has a profound love of the sport. This is also evident in the fact that he has always been actively involved with the development of the sport of figure skating, especially around creating programs for athletes such as the Skate Canada Athlete’s Trust and the International Skating Union’s Youth Seminars.

As a national medalist, world and Olympic judge, Skate Canada President, Skate Canada Director General and the Vice President of the International Skating Union, my father has direct experience at all the levels that make our sport work. The David Dore Fund is about helping those at the club level gain valuable experience with professionals at the national office and encourage them to bring this knowledge back to their local skaters, coaches, boards and communities. As a coach myself, I understand how important this kind of experience is to the people that volunteer their time to build successful skating clubs. When my father laced up his first pair of skates, the sport became his life’s work. The David Dore Fund aims to provide support for clubs so they can in turn create environments where people of all ages can discover the sport of figure skating.

To honour of Mr. David Dore, please consider a donation to the David Dore Mentorship Fund.