The 1989 Jeep Main Event Of Skating

Largely forgotten as it was held only once, the 1989 Jeep Main Event Of Skating (also billed as the North American Men's Professional Championships) was a made-for-TV professional figure skating competition held at the Montreal Forum on April 7, 1989. Offering a total purse of sixty five thousand dollars in prize money to the four men who competed (Brian Orser, Scott Hamilton, Toller Cranston and Gary Beacom) the event nearly sold out and marked two important firsts in figure skating history. It was Brian Orser's first professional competition in Canada as well as Katarina Witt's North American debut at a professional competition.

Katarina Witt agreed to skate a series of exhibitions at the Montreal event under the provision that Brian Orser skated an exhibition in East Germany the following month. When a reporter from "La Presse" interviewed her prior to the competition and asked about her "revealing" costumes at the Calgary Olympics, she responded, "I was shocked that the media had described me as a sex symbol. I never wanted to charm the judges with my costumes. I am a beautiful girl, thanks to my parents, but it stops there. When I interpreted 'Carmen', I had to wear a costume that suited my character. It was not to influence the judgement of the officials."

The Jeep Main Event Of Skating was televised on CBC on April 15 and 22, 1989, with Toller Cranston playing double duty as competitor and commentator. The inimitable Cranston even commentated his own performances. The four men who competed each skated a technical and artistic program, with Orser ultimately winning a professional competition for the first time in his home country. He'd only participated in two previously - the 1988 Challenge Of Champions and World Professional Championships in Landover - and had both times failed to reach the top "of the podium". Quebec skater Jaimee Eggleton made his professional debut in the exhibition gala that followed the event. Tracy Wilson and Rob McCall, Lea-Ann Miller and Bill Fauver and Rosalynn Sumners also joined Witt and Eggleton in the exhibition gala.

Though The Jeep Main Event Of Skating wasn't one of the professional competitions that ultimately survived, its success was proof that Canadian audiences were willing to come out in droves to take in the excitement of a professional figure skating competition.

Skate Guard is a blog dedicated to preserving the rich, colourful and fascinating history of figure skating. Over ten years, the blog has featured over a thousand free articles covering all aspects of the sport's history, as well as four compelling in-depth features. To read the latest articles, follow the blog on FacebookTwitterPinterest and YouTube. If you enjoy Skate Guard, please show your support for this archive by ordering a copy of the figure skating reference books "The Almanac of Canadian Figure Skating", "Technical Merit: A History of Figure Skating Jumps" and "A Bibliography of Figure Skating":

Dames Of The Dominion

In the late nineteenth century and the first two decades of the twentieth century, a small circle of talented women paved the way as Canada's first great female figure skaters. Some entered the scene in the days of 'fancy' skating when intricately carved patterns and showmanship reigned supreme, while others arrived at a time of change, when the focus of the sport's development in Canada was veering away from complex figures and such novel ideas as free skating to music, pairs and fours skating and ice dancing were rising to prominence. Today, we'll learn about the lives of seven pioneering women who carved out the path for the champions that followed.


In 1869, the short-lived American Skating Congress teamed up with Scottish Canadian brothers Robert and Arthur Hervey. The Hervey's were not only responsible for building covered ice rinks in Boston, Chicago, Halifax, Montreal and Pittsburgh, but also for organizing some of the first competitions for female skaters in North America. Their prize pony was a child prodigy named Maggie Elwood... and though she never achieved quite the level of fame as Mabel Davidson and
Carrie Augusta Moore, she certainly made quite a splash.

Margaret 'Maggie' Helen Elwood hailed from Brockville, Ontario and was the daughter of Irish immigrants James and Mary Jane Elwood. Her father, the local jailer, may have been but the subject of disdain by many local ne'er do wells but at that point in time, skaters from Brockville were regarded highly and were often asked to give exhibitions in neighbouring towns and cities... and young Maggie was one of Brockville's best. First appearing in New York in 1866 when she was but eleven years old, Maggie, her sister Cassie and her brother Thomas were both fine skaters who each performed both solo acts and duets together as well as quartets with other Brockville skaters.

Maggie always made greatest impressions with her audiences. One of her exhibitions was reviewed in "The Republican" on January 22, 1867 thusly: "Maggie, only eleven years old, executes all of the beautiful and graceful evolutions on outside and inside 'edge,' and the hundreds of seeming impossible steps, with the utmost ease, and is, without doubt, the most accomplished lady skater in America. Her efforts on this occasion were crowned with the utmost success, and she received the plaudits of all present. The other persons named are also excellent skaters, but it is not disparagement to their pretensions to say that they are not equal to Maggie. The exhibition has given a new impetus to the efforts of our own lady skaters, and we shall to expect to see science displayed by many even before the close of the winter."

At age fourteen, Elwood was lauded in the "Ogdensburg Daily Journal" when she appeared in the state of New York for an exhibition: "In the multifarious figures of fancy skating her movements are gracefully executed, and her performances so beautiful that the most difficult feats appear easy. The attendance was large and the audience showed its appreciation by frequent applause." On January 22, 1869, Elwood won a competition for female skaters organized by the Hervey brothers in Buffalo, New York, defeating Nellie Dean of Chicago, Illinois. Now with a title to her credit, she seemed ready to take on the world... Or so one would think.

The circuit of competitions and shows organized collectively by the Hervey brothers and the American Skating Congress suffered exactly the same fate that professional skating would suffer over a century later: oversaturation. Enthusiasm dwindled in the 1870's when many of the biggest stars of that era including Jackson Haines, Callie Curtis and Mabel Davidson went on to Europe. Elwood, who had been paraded around from city to city in her early teens like a child star, faded into obscurity.

In skating as in show business, fame is fleeting and as the old adage goes, everyone has their fifteen minutes of it. The historical record offers few clues as to what happened later in the life of this childhood skating star aside from the fact that she married one Frank Malcolm McCrady in December of 1884 in Brockville. Did she continue skating for the love of it? I like to think that yes, she did... because as Maribel Vinson Owen said, "once a skater, always a skater." However the life of Maggie Elwood turned out, she must have had some some cherished memories of her day in the sun.


Born May 24, 1853 in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Sarah Victoria Whitcher was the daughter of Charles and Harriet Whitcher and the youngest of five siblings, four of them sisters. Her grandfather was the very first sheriff of Sherbrooke and her father Charles was the area's deputy sheriff until his death in 1895. 

You could say that Sarah Victoria was destined to become a skater from birth, as she was named after another skating enthusiast, Queen Victoria. Skate she did. Whitcher was so popular a skater in her heyday that she was in retrospect referred to as "Canada's Barbara Ann Scott Of The Gay Nineties" by newspaper reporters. 

Sarah Victoria would work on costumes for months in preparation for the lavish skating carnivals at Rideau Hall where she would skate 'in the circle' for her hosts Earl and Lady Dufferin. Her nephew, Wilfred Whitcher, recalled, "It was wonderful to see the way she would weave one foot ahead of the other along the ice under her long skirts". In a May 23, 1953 article in "The Ottawa Citizen", she admitted that her skating days were "a long time ago. It was Lady Dufferin who asked me. I loved to skate when I was a girl." 

If you were paying attention to the publication year of that last article, it won't come to any shock to you when I tell you that Sarah Victoria lived to be one hundred and three! Can you even imagine?! In her hundred plus years, this skating centenarian not only lived through Confederation and two World Wars, but also worked in the head office of the old Quebec Central Railway, was an active worker in the Women's Missionary Society, packed bales to be sent to the Prairies and was a devout member of St. John's Anglican Church, avid reader and seamstress.

Sarah Victoria lived out her golden years in the three-story Elizabeth Residence For Elderly Women in Ottawa. On her hundredth birthday, she received a cablegram from Queen Elizabeth II, flowers and best wishes from Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent and one hundred oranges from Mayor Charlotte Whitton. She celebrated her one hundred and third (and last) birthday at a tea party with Canada's then Governor-General Vincent Massey.

How incredible it must have been for Sarah Victoria to see how figure skating progressed over the course of a century! Not many people have that luxury in life. One thing that was clear in learning a little about this woman after combing through a handful of old clippings was the fact that her memories and passion for the sport never faded even slightly.

"Lady On Skates", a nineteenth century watercolor by Frances Anne Hopkins


Trading card of a skater from Montreal. Courtesy the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec.

The youngest Alexander and Katherine 'Kate' Ewan's four children, Anne 'Annie' Louise Ewan was born in Montreal, Quebec in 1879. She grew up in the St. Antoine Ward during the late nineteenth century in a well-to-do Scottish Presbyterian household. Her father was a selling agent for the prestigious Merchants Manufacturing Co. of Montreal, which manufactured cotton shirts, muslin, cheesecloths and window shades. He was also one of the founders of The Almonte Knitting Company. By the time she was twenty, Anne, her brother and his wife were all regulars at the Victoria Skating Club on Drummond Street, which was the home base of Louis Rubenstein and the one of the biggest hubs of Canadian figure skating during that era. When the Earl Grey Skating Club was founded in 1908 after the dissolution of the Victoria Skating Club, Anne became a respected member.

The Victoria Skating Rink on Drummond. Photo courtesy the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec

Anne's biggest (and only) claim to fame as a figure skater came in 1905, when she defeated four other women to win the Minto Challenge Cup, later recognized by Skate Canada as the first official Canadian women's figure skating championship in history. The March 14, 1905 issue of "The Ottawa Journal" noted, "The first annual competition for the Minto Challenge Cups took place last evening... There was a large attendance, including the Governor-General and a party from Government House... The first and tedious part of the programme was over until after 11 o'clock, after which some very pretty exhibitions were given in the 'free skating'. The band of the Ottawa Engineers was in attendance." No account of Anne's winning effort was provided.

Left: Anne (Ewan) Drummond, circa 1955-1960. Right: Residents of Georgeville, Quebec at the village's one hundred and fiftieth anniversary. Anne is second from left. Photos courtesy Maureen Cameron.

Following her historic win, Anne lived with her widowed mother and sister in Montreal for many years. On her sixtieth birthday, she married John Drummond, the brother of writer Henry Drummond. The happy couple settled in the small village of Georgeville, Quebec. Anne lived in Georgeville for the rest of her life, devoting her time to gardening and painting. She passed away at the age of one hundred and three on January 1, 1982.  A huge thanks to Maureen Cameron for sharing the fascinating details of Anne's life after skating!


Eleanor Kingsford and Princess Patricia of Connaught skating at Rideau Hall

Born on May 31, 1886 in Toronto, Ontario, Eleanor Agnes Letitia Kingsford was the eighth child of Rupert and Alice [Kingston] Kingsford. Her father was a lawyer; her grandfather a noted Canadian historian and engineer. When Eleanor was six, she moved to Ottawa to live with her grandparents.

Inspired by Lady Minto, the wife of the Governor-General, Eleanor joined the Minto Skating Club in its early years when members skated at the old Rideau club. She learned her first figures from Arthur Held, a German coach Governor-General Earl Grey had brought to Canada to teach at the club. In 1905, she was among the five competitors who competed for the very first Canadian women's title at the Minto Skating Club. Teaming up first with Philip Chrysler, she won the silver medal in the pairs event at the 1911 Canadian Championships. The following year with Douglas Henry Nelles, she became a Canadian Champion in pairs skating. She also took home the Canadian and Minto Skating Club women's titles in 1912 and 1913. As part of the Minto Four, she won the Connaught Cup in 1914.

Ormonde B. Haycock, Lady Evelyn Grey, Eleanor Kingsford and Philip Chrysler. Photo courtesy National Archives Of Canada.

Competing for the Ellis Memorial Trophy in Boston in February 1914, she rejected the invitation of Adolf Hitler's future confidant Jaochim von Ribbentrop. Quoted in Janet Uren's book "Minto: Skating Through Time, 1904-2004", Eleanor recalled, "The most interesting memory of that trip was the snubbing of von Ribbentrop, who being in Ottawa on some mysterious business at that time had joined our party. Even then I disliked him, and it must have been quite a shock to one of the 'master race' to have someone who dared to skip his waltz."

Photo courtesy Margaret Bennett

Her competitive skating career all but ended by the start of World War I, the diminutive Eleanor married Captain John Crawford Law and moved to Toronto. In just two years, she became a mother and a war widow. She returned to Ottawa for a time and rejoined the Minto Skating Club, making an unsuccessful bid for the 1922 Canadian women's title. Afterwards, she set sail for Europe with her daughter Margaret and spent several years teaching and giving skating exhibitions in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, France and the skating resorts of Switzerland. She returned to Canada on the S.S. Excalibur in March of 1940, narrowly avoiding the German Occupation of France. She lived out the rest of her years quietly in a little yellow house in Ottawa, passing away on December 11, 1975 at the age of eighty nine. Her gravestone in Beechwood Cemetery bears the epitaph "Champion Skater Of Canada".


Born in 1892, Muriel Julynn Maunsell was the daughter of Brigadier General George Maunsell and Henrietta Lucretia Austin of Ottawa. Not only was her father a senior ranking officer in the Canadian military, her Irish grandfather was as well. She grew up in Rockcliffe Park, the most affluent of Ottawa neighbourhoods with her parents, brothers Harbert and Terrance and a British maid named Jannie Landsdown. From a young age, Muriel wanted for very little but wanted desperately to be a successful ice skater.

Joining the Minto Skating Club as a teenager, Muriel quickly rose to prominence as one of the club's most accomplished skaters and by 1913, at the age of twenty one, she was already making people take notice. The January 22, 1913 edition of "The Ottawa Citizen" noted that a "skating party given by the president of the Minto Skating Club, Major-General Mackenzie, was a most enjoyable affair and was largely attended by the members of the Minto Club and their friends. The ice was in excellent condition, despite the mild weather, and during the course of the evening a wonderful exhibition of skating was given by Mr. Arthur Held. Miss Muriel Maunsell, who is one of the most graceful skaters of the club, also gave a short exhibition, which was greatly admired. Supper was served in the club rooms at 11 o'clock, the tables being prettily arranged with red carnations and red shaded candelabra."

The following year, the well-to-do twenty two year old won the Minto Skating Club's Malynski Cup and then became the first 'officially recognized' Canadian women's champion (according to Skate Canada's records), beating Montreal's Jeanne Chevalier and taking home the Rubenstein Cup with her fancy figures and flashy footwork. That same year, Muriel was also part of the fours team (along with Eleanor Kingsford, Ormonde B. Haycock and Philip Chrysler) that took home the Connaught Cup. The March 25, 1914 "Montreal Daily Mail" also noted that she was in attendance at the Minto Club for a fancy costume ball later that winter with waltzing, chariot races, a shovel race and a supper in the tea room. Sadly, the cancellation of the Canadian Championships and international competitions in the following years due to World War I effectively put an end to Muriel's competitive skating career. She would never compete again.

In January 1918, Muriel married George Frederick Galt, a prominent merchant of the tea importing firm G. F. and J. Galt, and moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba. Galt was definitely a man of considerable means. He was president, vice-president or director of Blue Ribbon Limited, the Northern Trusts Company Limited, Great-West Life Assurance Company, the Canadian Fire Assurance Company, the Canadian Bank of Commerce, the Advisory Committee of the Hudson’s Bay Company, the Northern Mortgage Company, the Manitoba Bridge and Iron Works. During the First World War and a member of the Canadian Government War Purchasing Commission. At sixty three years old at the time of her marriage, Galt was almost forty years Muriel's senior. If Muriel Maunsell, "one of Ottawa's leading society ladies" as described in the January 11, 1918 edition of "The Montreal Gazette", was looking for a distinguished older chap with buckets of money, she most definitely found him. Galt was a widow, having had five children with his first wife, Margaret, who passed away in 1915, and with Muriel, he fathered two more: a daughter named Patricia and a son named Thomas. Thomas, like his grandfather and great grandfather, too went on to serve in the military as well as acting as director of Sun Life, Bank Of Montreal, Canadian Pacific, Sun Life UK and Textron Canada. You get the picture.

What makes Muriel's story so interesting is that with her wealth and social standing, she could have easily walked away from figure skating and never looked back. However, according to the 1947 edition of "The Ottawa Journal", she was the founder of the Winnipeg Skating Club in the twenties, predecessor to the Winter Club of Winnipeg. That said, a 1909 edition of "The Bellman" (Volume 7) evidences the fact that the Winnipeg Skating Club was in existence long before she even won her national title, let alone moved out west. Jim Blanchard's book "Winnipeg 1912" explained that in 1912, the Horse Show Amphitheatre was flooded in winter and a skating club was formed. Blanchard noted, "If a competent instructor was secured, Mrs. Robert Rogers and Mrs. Morton Morse had promised to donate prizes for waltzing and simpler figures." He also noted outdoor skating was common on the Assiniboine River near Osborne Bridge, so perhaps Muriel's contribution to the history of skating in Winnipeg came in the form of being a pioneering coach at the club. Sources don't seem to tell us one way or the other but we do know that she played an important role in the history of skating in Winnipeg.

In April 1928, Muriel's husband George died. She remained in Winnipeg and remarried, this time to Robert Morley Gemmel, former manager of the head office of the Bank Of Nova Scotia who had spent some time managing the bank's Winnipeg branch. The July 1, 1931 edition of "The Winnipeg Tribune" described their marriage thusly: "Given in marriage by 'her father, the bride was attractive in a pale delphinium blue chiffon frock and she wore a large transparent black straw hat trimmed with a flat blue flower on the trim. A corsage of pansies and forget-me-nots was worn." Following a honeymoon at a fishing camp in the Laurentians, Muriel (who now went by Muriel Galt Gemmel) and her second husband took up residence in Ottawa. Her second husband passed away of a heart attack at the age of fifty six on October 1, 1937 and Muriel lived out the rest of her days in the city where she was raised. She did Red Cross work during the War and devoted her time to gardening and golf. She passed away at her Ottawa home on February 26, 1967.


Born November 24, 1911 in the town of Haileyburg (now Temiskaming Shores), Ontario, Ruth Constance (Forrest) Whitmore was the daughter of Scottish bank accountant William Melville Forrest and Ruth Helene (May) Forrest. Ruth and her brother Douglas were raised in New York, then moved to Jarvis Street in Toronto. Ruth first attended Brown Junior Public School before switching to the Bishop Strachan School, which had a class schedule which allowed more flexibility for her to pursue her passion... figure skating.

A member of Toronto's Granite Club, Ruth became fast friends with Cecil Smith and was a regular in the club's carnivals in the twenties. In June 1929, her father passed away with heart failure, leaving her future in the sport uncertain. Despite the financial strain on her family, Ruth attended the 1930 Canadian Figure Skating Championships, where she placed second in the junior women's competition behind Mary Littlejohn. She returned the following year and became Canada's junior women's champion, defeating Veronica Clarke of the Toronto Skating Club and Frances Fletcher of the Winnipeg Winter Club. Following her victory, she focused her attention on carnival skating, forming a trio with Cecil and Maude Smith and making her rounds skating in club shows in Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa. The March 22, 1933 issue of "The Ottawa Citizen" raved, "Those who saw these three young ladies in the carnival at Montreal pronounce their act as the most beautiful they have ever seen offered on ice."

Photo courtesy City Of Toronto Archives

Retiring from the sport in the mid thirties, Ruth married Norman Whitemore in 1946 and moved to Regina, Saskatchewan. There, she founded the Travelling Art program at the Norman Mackenzie Art Gallery and volunteered at St. Paul's Anglican Church. After her husband passed away in 1984, she travelled around the world with her best friend. Ruth passed away on October 23, 2014, just one month before her one hundred and third birthday, making her arguably the longest living Canadian junior women's champion in history. Her obituary in the Regina Leader-Post read, "Just before her 100th birthday, she moved to Heritage House in Wintergreene Estates... Although her mind remained sharp until her death, her health failed over the past year. She faced her inevitable end calmly, reassuring her children she was at peace. She was a woman of grace and style who met every challenge with good humour and determination. She was well read and very open minded, welcoming generations of friends to her home."


Photo courtesy Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec. Used for educational purposes. 

Born in 1905 in Glasgow, Scotland, Marguerite 'Margot' Barclay emigrated to Canada at the age of three with her mother, settling in Quebec. She was the granddaughter of prominent Presbyterian minister Reverend Dr. James Barclay. Raised in downtown Montreal, she first took to the ice at the Montreal Winter Club with her sister Louise as a young girl. In the twenties, she was one of the club's most successful female skaters. Although her biggest claim to fame was the 1928 Canadian senior women's title, she actually excelled in four different disciplines.

With partners Aidrie Main and Marjorie Annable, Margot Barclay Wilkins was a repeat winner of the similar 'ladies pairs' title at the Winter Club's competition and as an ice dancer, she finished in the top three countless times at the club's weekly waltzing competitions. Among her ice dance partners were Reginald Wilson and fellow Canadian Champion Norman Gregory. In addition to singles, similar pairs and ice dance, she was also part of the Montreal Winter Club's fours team in 1931, which consisted of two sets and siblings: Margot and sister Louise and Richard and Hamilton, the Bolton Brothers. She was judged by Canadian skating pioneer Louis Rubenstein himself. She also took on an active role producing the Montreal Winter Club's annual carnivals while she was still competing. Retiring from the sport in the early thirties, she married Gordon Wilkins in 1933, became a mother and later moved to Maine, where she sadly passed away on September 11, 1996 at the age of ninety one.

Considering the height of Margot's skating career was in the twenties, the fact that her story interweaves with two of the biggest names in women's skating in the nineties is nothing short of fascinating. When Josée Chouinard won the first of her three Canadian senior women's titles in 1991 in Saskatoon, television commentators erroneously announced that she was the first Canadian women's champion from the province of Quebec. Her daughter Diana Wilkins-Bell called the newsroom of the "Montreal Gazette" to correct the grievous mistake. In a February 11, 1991 article, she explained, "My mother is a very modest woman. She wasn't that upset. She just wondered how they could make such a mistake... How often do you get to be the champion of your country, after all? I don't care if it's in basket-weaving; it's an accomplishment that shouldn't be forgotten." I can't agree with Diana more. However, the first woman from Quebec to win the national women's title was actually Annie Ewan.

In addition to the Josée Chouinard connection, Margot Barclay Wilkins also knew Nancy Kerrigan quite well. In March 1931, Margot skated a solo as the "Lampmaker's Daughter" in a fantasy based around "Aladdin" in the Montreal Winter Club's annual show. She also skated fours with her sister and Bolton's in a "Static Of The North Land" act in the second act. Also in the second act was "The Snowflake Chorus", which consisted of, according to the Montreal Gazette, "Miss Audrey Joyce, Miss P. Bate, Miss Nancy Kerrigan, Miss Margaret Main, Miss K. McConnell, Miss N. Baillie - directed by Miss Phyllis Daniels and Miss Doris Gales." You read that right! Thirty eight years before Olympic Silver Medallist and U.S. Champion Nancy Kerrigan was born in Woburn, Massachusetts, Canadian Champion Margot Barclay Wilkins skated in the same show as (a) Nancy Kerrigan in Montreal, Quebec.

Skate Guard is a blog dedicated to preserving the rich, colourful and fascinating history of figure skating. Over ten years, the blog has featured over a thousand free articles covering all aspects of the sport's history, as well as four compelling in-depth features. To read the latest articles, follow the blog on FacebookTwitterPinterest and YouTube. If you enjoy Skate Guard, please show your support for this archive by ordering a copy of the figure skating reference books "The Almanac of Canadian Figure Skating", "Technical Merit: A History of Figure Skating Jumps" and "A Bibliography of Figure Skating":

Come By Chance: A Little Newfoundland Skating History

Newfoundland and Labrador... home of Great Big Sea, stunning landscapes, towns with names like Dildo, Cow Head and Come By Chance, the most fun people in the world to drink with you're ever going to meet and a surprisingly rich figure skating history. You won't have to kiss the cod to be before reading this particular blog but you may want to have a sip of Screech in your coffee to get in the mood. It would really be rude not to, I think!

Would you know it? The early beginnings of figure skating on this island province start in yet another Victoria Skating Rink. I think that's the fourth rink named in Queen Victoria's honour that's popped up in my writing about early Canadian skating history! Newfoundland's Victoria Rink was built in 1866 in St. John's, the province's capital city. Prior to the building of this covered rink, skating was of course all done outside. Speed skating races enjoyed prominence and drew large crowds. Fred Chislett was an early and repeat champion on 'the rock'.

Skating on St. John's Harbour, 1938

In the twentieth century, speed skating's popularity in Newfoundland started to wane and figure skating rose to prominence. Dee Murphy's excellent book "Our Sports" explains that "Markie Marshall was one of the early St. John's 'figure' skaters but his style was much different than the style demonstrated by the Premier Figure Skating Club that met at the Prince's Rink just prior to it receiving artificial ice. Tommy Winter, who excelled in several sports, was another top figure skater with contributions as an executive and coach... The arrival of artificial ice in rinks all over the province between 1948 and 1970 allowed figure skating to come into its own and become a major winter activity."

Members of the Premier Figure Skating Club at Prince's Rink, circa 1930. Photo courtesy The Rooms Archives.

One of the great pioneers of figure skating in Newfoundland was Armie Miller. Newfoundland's section of Skate Canada's website explains that she "became involved with skating when she met Mildred Knight who was involved in a skating club at the old curling rink behind the Old Hotel Newfoundland. Here she met Tommy Winter and together they introduced the sport of figure skating to a few children in the St. John's Figure Skating Club which ran in Feildian Gardens and St. John's Memorial Stadium. For 3 years they taught themselves about preliminary figures, and dancing with booklets - fanning the upper corner of the pages to see the jumps and spins until certified coaches arrived." Miller performed in ice shows with Tommy Winter for many years, brought in judges from abroad to develop judging in the area and acted as a judge, skating club president and tireless volunteer.

Another important pioneer was Elizabeth Swan, the Australian wife of a dentist who moved to Newfoundland in the fifties and served as the St. John's Figure Skating Club's first President. Swan was an esteemed judge who organized the province's first Provincial Championships, served on executives and coached skaters. Her contributes to skating in the province are too many to even mention. Although her death in a car accident in 1985 returning from that year's Provincial Championships was a huge blow to the skating community, the bursary fund set up for grassroots skaters in her name has done so, so much to help skaters in Newfoundland over the years.

Rebecca and Josh Babb

Benefiting from the instruction of the first professional coaches to come 'from away' to the province in the thirties, figure skating slowly developed in Newfoundland and by the time of the first Canada Winter Games in 1967, young skaters from the province were ready to shine. At those initial Games in Quebec City, the pairs team of Carolyn Jones and Andrew Joy and singles skater Brian MacLeod both won medals. Although medals at the Canada Games followed, it wouldn't be until 1998 that skaters from Newfoundland and Labrador would win a medal of any colour at the Canadian Championships. Harbour Grace siblings Rebecca and Josh Babb, who moved from Conception Bay South to Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario to train, earned their place in the history books by claiming the junior ice dance title that year in Hamilton.

The Babb's victory in 1998 would bring more attention to Eastern Canadian skating and would open the doors for skaters from Newfoundland. Joey Russell of Labrador City won a junior Canadian title of his very own in 2006 and a senior bronze medal in 2011, becoming the first skater representing Newfoundland to compete at a World Figure Skating Championships that same year... but Russell wasn't the first skater with a Newfoundland connection to compete at the World Championships. 2006 Olympic Silver Medallist Tanith Belbin is the daughter of Michelle MacKinley and Brian Belbin, both of St. John's. Her mother actually skated at the Prince Of Wales Skating Club in St. John's during the seventies.

Arguably the biggest star to ever come out of the province however is two time Canadian Champion and Olympic Silver Medallist Kaetlyn Osmond, who was born in Marystown, Newfoundland and has a rink in her hometown named after her. Kaetlyn talked about her Atlantic Canadian connection in my July 2014 interview with her: "The best thing about  Atlantic Canada I find is having the water right there everywhere I go. I absolutely love the water and living out west in Edmonton, I find the appreciation of having the ocean as my backyard whenever I go home to Newfoundland. Also, I love the small town feel of 'everyone knows everyone'. It feels like a giant family that I know always supports me." That's just how people are in the province and I can honestly say I don't think I've ever met a Newfoundlander I haven't got along with famously. Here's to many more champions in the province's future!

Skate Guard is a blog dedicated to preserving the rich, colourful and fascinating history of figure skating. Over ten years, the blog has featured over a thousand free articles covering all aspects of the sport's history, as well as four compelling in-depth features. To read the latest articles, follow the blog on FacebookTwitterPinterest and YouTube. If you enjoy Skate Guard, please show your support for this archive by ordering a copy of figure skating reference books "The Almanac of Canadian Figure Skating", "Technical Merit: A History of Figure Skating Jumps" and "A Bibliography of Figure Skating":

The 1971 Canadian Figure Skating Championships

Cover to program for the 1971 Canadian Figure Skating Championships. Courtesy Mary Petrie McGillvray.

"I remember that Winnipeg was really cold, snowy and very welcoming."  - Sandra Bezic

In the bleak Manitoba midwinter from January 18 to 24, 1971, more than one hundred and ninety of Canada's best figure skaters convened for the Canadian Figure Skating Championships in Winnipeg. Though broadcast on CTV, the event was surprisingly poorly covered in print media considering it was the sixtieth anniversary of the Canadian Championships so retracing the stories of this particular competition was a bit of a challenge, to put it mildly... but let's take a look at what we do know!

Photo courtesy City Of Winnipeg Archives


Skaters representing clubs in Ontario dominated the top rungs of the podium in all four disciplines in the novice ranks. The story was much the same in the junior events, with the exception of Karel Lathem of the North Shore Winter Club in British Columbia, who fended off a challenge from Julie Black of the Port Edward Figure Skating Club to claim the junior women's title. Linda Tasker and Allan Carson and Stan Bohonek, all Torontonians, took top honours in the junior pairs and men's events, respectively.

Linda Tasker and Allan Carson welcomed at the Toronto airport following their win in Winnipeg. Photo courtesy Toronto Public Library, from Toronto Star Photographic Archive. Reproduced for educational purposes under license permission.

They'd only been skating together for five months, but Barbara Berezowski and David Porter were head and shoulders above the rest in the junior dance event, besting six other couples - including Lynn Peckinpaugh (the daughter of late CFSA President Douglas Alan Peckinpaugh) and her partner Eric Gillies - for the gold. They later moonlighted in the senior dance event, as was usual with junior winners back in those days.


Louise (Lind) and Barry Soper. Photo courtesy Marie Petrie McGillvray.

Not since back in the days when Frances Dafoe and Norris Bowden were moonlighting as ice dancers had a defending senior ice dance champion been defeated at the Canadian Figure Skating Championships, but all of that changed in 1971 when a pair of lovebirds from British Columbia staged quite a coup. 

Mary Church and David Sutton and Brenda Sandys and James Holden. Photos courtesy Marie Petrie McGillvray.

In her book "Figure Skating History: The Evolution Of Dance On The Ice", Lynn Copley-Graves noted, "Vancouver's Louise (Lind) and Barry Soper had just become engaged, and they radiated as they took first place in the first compulsory, the Starlight Waltz. As the competition unfolded [with the Polka OSP], they surpassed defending champions Mary Church and David Sutton in a startling upset. With this win, Louise and Barry set a Canadian record as the first couple to win all the national dance titles: Novice in 1967, Junior in 1969 and now Senior in 1971." British imports Brenda Sandys and James Holden finished third, followed by Linda Roe and Kevin Cottam and Barbara Berezowski and David Porter, the junior champions. 

Sandra and Val Bezic. Photos courtesy Toronto Public Library, from Toronto Star Photographic Archive. Reproduced for educational purposes under license permission.

The required elements of the pairs compulsory short program in 1971 were the split double Lutz lift, side-by-side double toe-loops, a catch waist camel spin, the backward outside death spiral and a serpentine step sequence. Starting with a strong lead in that phase of the competition, Toronto siblings Sandra and Val Bezic skated to their second Canadian senior title, beating perennial runner-up's Mary Petrie and John Hubbell. 

Mary Petrie and John Hubbell. Photo courtesy Marie Petrie McGillvray.

Marian Murray and Glen Moore of the North Shore Club claimed the bronze. Sandra Bezic recalled, "It was the first defence of our title so the most difficult, but it went well." Mary Petrie McGillvray recalled, "Pairs that year was a new partner for me. I just remember hoping that we could still get that second spot and the trip to North Americans. Murray and Moore were very good! Only one team was going to Worlds."


Karen Magnussen. Photo courtesy Marie Petrie McGillvray.

At the 1970 World Figure Skating Championships in Ljubljana, Yugoslavia, Karen Magnussen had finished fourth to Cathy Lee Irwin's tenth, so there was every expectation that Karen would easily coast to her second senior National title in Winnipeg. She could have played it conservative, but she didn't. David Young, in his book "The Golden Age Of Canadian Figure Skating" recounted that in 1971 she gave "one of her better figures performances and received 5.9 from six of the seven judges for artistic impression in the free skate" to easily best Ruth Hutchinson, Diane Hall, Mary McCaffrey and twelve others. An injured Cathy Lee Irwin watched the event from the boards, supported by crutches.

Reyn Davis of "The Winnipeg Free Press" wrote, "When Karen Magnussen skates, you can almost hear her teeth grit through that smile. She is so determined, it is difficult to imagine anything standing in her way. With Karen, it's a one-way street to success... there's nothing, absolutely nothing wrong with her determination. It's her trademark and Karen Magnussen intends to stamp the world with it." John Rait recalled that afterwards, Karen "threw a big party in her room that had the folks at CFSA on the prowl! Our coach came to get us out of there before the shit hit the fan!"

Diane Hall (left) and Ruth Hutchinson (right). Photos courtesy Mary Petrie McGillvray.

Not all memories of the women's competition in Winnipeg were terribly fond. Alana Wilson Kelton  - who placed an unlucky thirteenth - recalled, "I remember Winnipeg being so cold and the rink the ladies practiced at had ice forming on the walls inside. Some of the ladies went home to practice and then came back before the event started. I think the ladies thought they got the short straw for practice rinks." Cynthia Miller of the Mount Royal Figure Skating Club had an even more negative experience. She recalled, "I had pneumonia, which I did not know until after the free skate. Coughing non stop, Brian Foley had me lying over his knees and [was] patting my back until the ambulance came. When I arrived in my dress and skates they took me right away and called Dr. Charlie Snelling to come see me."


Paul Bonenfant. Photo courtesy Marie Petrie McGillvray.

In the senior men's event, Paul Bonenfant of the Capiliano Winter Club in Vancouver took a slight early lead in the school figures only to be overtaken by Toller Cranston, who had won the bronze in 1969 in Toronto and the silver in 1970 in Edmonton.

Toller Cranston

Like Karen Magnussen in the women's event, Toller was absolutely brilliant in the free skate, easily winning his first national title with a flawless performance that included three double Axel's, a triple loop and a triple Salchow and earned him a standing ovation. His marks ranged from 5.6 to 5.9 for technical merit and like Karen, he received 5.9's from six of the seven judges for artistic impression. Paul Bonenfant took the silver; Kenneth Polk the bronze. In his 1997 book "Zero Tollerance", Toller claimed, "In 1971, my second year with Ellen Burka, I won my first Canadian title. I was so thrilled to have won (when I saw all the 5.9's, I knew that I had), that I ran onto the ice and did an encore in the middle of the competition - twenty split jumps. That was highly unorthodox. I felt the hands of the commentator, Otto Jelinek, grab my back, but they clipped off my costume as I ran out to do my split jumps."

Things pan out a little differently than how Toller described them in the video shared by Frazer Ormondroyd that is included here in the blog, but I don't doubt for a minute that Toller probably did those split jumps too!

Skate Guard is a blog dedicated to preserving the rich, colourful and fascinating history of figure skating. Over ten years, the blog has featured over a thousand free articles covering all aspects of the sport's history, as well as four compelling in-depth features. To read the latest articles, follow the blog on FacebookTwitterPinterest and YouTube. If you enjoy Skate Guard, please show your support for this archive by ordering a copy of the figure skating reference books "The Almanac of Canadian Figure Skating", "Technical Merit: A History of Figure Skating Jumps" and "A Bibliography of Figure Skating":

The Montreal Masquerades

"It was one of the most beautiful sights I ever beheld. The place was hung with the gayest flags... It was indeed a fairy scene to look upon. The skating was wonderful and the dresses gorgeous." - Reverend Ashton Oxenden

The popularity of ice skating in the 1860's in Montreal, Québec was almost explosive. Although many pleasure skaters would skate on rinks and ponds, figure skating became a popular pastime among the city's well-to-do and it was those very people who pooled money together to build the Victoria Skating Rink on Drummond Street in the year 1862.

The Victoria Skating Rink was quite the facility for its time: a two hundred and fifty foot long by one hundred feet wide red brick building with high ceilings and a viewing gallery that could seat seven hundred. Six pendant stars lit with gas illuminated the ice surface and bandstand after the light of day ceased to stream in from the rink's fifty large windows. Skating enthusiasts were drawn to the rink like moths to a flame. Five o'clock teas served at the rink were popular social events but they paled in comparison to the spectacle of the rink's lavish Victorian carnivals on ice known as 'masquerades', where hundreds dressed as historic figures such as Marie Antoinette and Henry VIII and as pirates, princesses and paupers.

By the final decade of the nineteenth century, these masquerades on ice were so much in vogue in Montreal that the Victoria Rink was hosting two almost every week during the winter months. Visiting from England in 1870, Prince Arthur even took to the ice during one of the masquerades dressed as "a Cavalier of the time of Charles II."

Engraving courtesy the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec

Many of the get-up's of the carnival skaters in Montreal would have been the same kind of costumes you would expect from trick or treaters! The February 15, 1890 issue of "The Montreal Herald" listed clowns, Zulu warriors, matadors, gypsies among the costumes and other accounts even included a skating devil. Peasant costumes were unusually popular choices. Lady Dufferin noted that at similar carnivals in Ottawa during the same era, "ladies' costumes had of necessity short petticoats, so there was every variety of peasant - Dolly Vardens, Watteaus, etc. etc. - and very pretty they were."

The Montreal masquerades were of such popularity that the famous Notman photographic firm completed a composite picture of one of the masquerades, which at the time would have been quite an undertaking. On February 8, 1889, the "Montreal Daily Star" described one of the masquerades thusly: "What a dazzling sight it is; no wonder the aisles and galleries are filled with spectators to such an extent that the marvellous elasticity of the human body is demonstrated to a nicety. All eyes are attracted to the shifting, changing scene upon the sparkling ice... Here is the tall sunflower bending her graceful form to elude the half-naked savage, who, with swarthy visage and glittering nose ring, lifts his cruel spear to smite his prey". As we get a sense of from this colourful description, the masquerades weren't just social get-togethers on the ice but also served as a Tableau vivant to the spectators... in a way, a very primitive ice show.

It was partially the rise in popularity of snowshoeing that led to the demise of the masquerades. The pursuit became so popular in Montreal around the turn of the century that indoor races were held on the Victoria Skating Rink's ice, drawing massive crowds. That said, figure skating still remained quite popular at the rink but in a more structured form. Early competitions were staged that allowed both men and women to compete. The site fell out of vogue as decades passed and by 1906 was sold when the owners didn't want to foot the bill to do necessary repairs. When the Earl Grey Skating Club relocated to the Montreal Arena on St. Catherine Street and Wood Avenue in Westmount, the site fell out of favour and into disrepair until it was ultimately demolished. Today, the site of the Montreal masquerades may be tended by a parking garage attendant instead of a skate guard, but by preserving skating history the visions of these carnivals still live on.

Skate Guard is a blog dedicated to preserving the rich, colourful and fascinating history of figure skating. Over ten years, the blog has featured over a thousand free articles covering all aspects of the sport's history, as well as four compelling in-depth features. To read the latest articles, follow the blog on FacebookTwitterPinterest and YouTube. If you enjoy Skate Guard, please show your support for this archive by ordering a copy of the figure skating reference books "The Almanac of Canadian Figure Skating", "Technical Merit: A History of Figure Skating Jumps" and "A Bibliography of Figure Skating":

The 1963 Canadian Figure Skating Championships

Donald McPherson in Edmonton. Photo courtesy "Skating" magazine.

At the Canadian Figure Skating Association's three day Annual General Meeting in Calgary in late October 1962, the announcement was made that the city of Edmonton, Alberta would play host to the Canadian Figure Skating Championships for the very first time. The event was slated for February 7 and 8, 1963 at the Royal Glenora Club.

Guy Revell, Debbi Wilkes, Donald McPherson, Wendy Griner, Ken Ormsby and Paulette Doan. Photo courtesy "Skating" magazine.

With three of the four defending senior champions - Donald Jackson, Maria and Otto Jelinek and Virginia Thompson and Bill McLachlan - having left the amateur ranks, press from Halifax to Vancouver were left to hurriedly speculate as to who would fill their very big shoes. Attendance proved to be strong - seventy entries from thirty clubs - but the CFSA expressed disappointment at both Canadian network's disinterest in covering the event on television. Doug Peckinpaugh recalled, "We couldn't even give away the rights to either network."

Linda Ann Ward and Neil Carpenter. Photo courtesy Cambridge Sports Hall Of Fame.

Jeannie Marie Sanders of the East York Skating Club won the junior women's competition, defeating Gloria Tatton of the Granite Club in a three-two split of the judging panel. Oakville's Marjorie Hare claimed the bronze. The junior pairs event was won by young Linda Ann Ward and Neil Carpenter of the Galt Figure Skating Club. Sixteen year old Linda Ann attended Southwood School and enjoyed boating and water skiing, while eighteen year old Neil attended Galt Collegiate, majoring in mathematics. He played the guitar.

Bunne Lilley, a seventeen year old high school student from Mimico and John Booker, a twenty three year old high school mathematics teacher and astronomy enthusiast, coasted through the American Waltz, Paso Doble and Rocker Foxtrot to claim the junior ice dance title. The event very well could have just been held in Toronto as six of the seven teams who participating all represented the Cricket Club.

Bunne Lilly and John Booker. Photo courtesy "Skating" magazine.

Two of the three men on the junior men's podium would go on to win senior men's titles in the years that followed. Fourteen year old Jay Humphry of the North Shore Winter Club was the champion and a young Toller Cranston, then coached by Eva Vasak, claimed a bronze medal for the Lachine Figure Skating Club. He had been only sixth in the school figures. Humphry enjoyed coin and stamp collecting and cross country running.

Jay Humphry. Photo courtesy "Skating" magazine.

The senior ice dance event was expected to be a nail biter. The second and third place teams from the previous year had reversed their positions from the 1962 Canadian Championships in Toronto at the 1962 World Championships in Prague and no one knew quite what to expect. In her book "Figure Skating History: The Evolution Of Dance On Ice", Lynn Copley-Graves recounted the events at the Edmonton competition thusly: "Behind the Mitchell's in 1962, Paulette Doan and Ken Ormsby, students at the same business school and perfect partners on ice, had the edge. Paulette at 19 had achieved a degree of perfection and a personality on ice unmatched by few of her time. Ken showed her off. The Westminster, Quickstep and Argentine set the stage for their victory. Donna Lee and J.D. ended, disappointed, in second. Carole Forrest and Kevin Lethbridge, 1962 Junior Dance Champions, earned third and their first World team berth."

In the senior women's school figures, Wendy Griner took a substantial lead over her Toronto Cricket Skating and Curling Club rink mate Petra Burka. An outstanding free skate and a total score of 1326.4 points gave Griner the gold in a unanimous decision from all seven judges. The bronze medal went to Vancouver's Shirra Kenworthy, representing the Capilano Winter Club. Valerie Jones, Patricia Cook and Norma Sedlar rounded out the six woman field.

Gertrude Desjardins and Maurice Lafrance. Photo courtesy "Skating" magazine.

With the Jelinek's out of the picture, the press machine was busy singing the praises of Sheldon Galbraith's latest star pair Gertrude Desjardins and Maurice Lafrance. Desjardins and Lafrance had been the previous year's runner-up's but had finished two spots behind the 1962 bronze medallists Debbi Wilkes and Guy Revell at the World Championships in Prague. In her 1994 book "Ice Time: A Portrait Of Figure Skating", Wilkes recalled, "When we arrived in Edmonton, there was a picture of Gertie and Moe under the caption 'The Favourites'... We drew first to skate. We felt the draw was fixed. Guy was freaking out. Everything was against us. The big Cricket machine was going to run right over us. We didn't skate very well. It wasn't disastrous, but we weren't top notch. Fortunately, Gertie and Moe didn't skate very well either. It was a squeaker, but we beat them four judges to three. Once we had the title, we started to relax and improve. The experience also fixed our idea about skating first out of the warmup. Important, yes, recipe for doom, maybe not."

Donald McPherson. Photo courtesy Toronto Public Library. Used for educational purposes under license permissions.

At the 1962 World Championships in Prague, Donald McPherson had delivered a phenomenal performance in the free skate and just narrowly missed the podium in fourth place. After finishing second for three straight years behind Donald Jackson, the eighteen year old student of Dennis and Winnie Silverthorne finally his own chance in the spotlight in Edmonton. Representing the Stratford Figure Skating Club, he was the unanimous choice of all seven judges and won the gold medal with 1273.80 points, landing a triple loop jump for the first time in competition. Donald Knight, who had placed third in 1962, moved up to take the silver. Jay Humphry, 'skating up' after winning the junior event, took the bronze. Due to Humphry's age and inexperience, Bill Neale of Fort Erie was instead named as the third member of the Canadian men's team that would be sent to the 1963 World Championships in Cortina d'Ampezzo.

Skate Guard is a blog dedicated to preserving the rich, colourful and fascinating history of figure skating. Over ten years, the blog has featured over a thousand free articles covering all aspects of the sport's history, as well as four compelling in-depth features. To read the latest articles, follow the blog on FacebookTwitterPinterest and YouTube. If you enjoy Skate Guard, please show your support for this archive by ordering a copy of the figure skating reference books "The Almanac of Canadian Figure Skating", "Technical Merit: A History of Figure Skating Jumps" and "A Bibliography of Figure Skating":

A Tiny Trove Of Titillating Tollerisms

Photo courtesy Toronto Public Library, from Toronto Star Photographic Archive. Reproduced for educational purposes under license permission.

If there was ever a skater I could listen to interviews with all day, it would without a doubt be Toller Cranston. Articulate, blunt and certainly not shy about sharing his opinions, Toller never minced words and was unafraid to 'tell it like it is'. Today's blog is a culled together collection of quotes from Toller on a wide range of topics. They came from an interview with Linda Jade Stearns that originally appeared in the December 1978-January 1979 issue of "Canadian Skater" magazine. Reproduced with the permission of Skate Canada, these notable quotables are sure to bring not only a smile to your face but a greater perspective into this skating legend's views in the early stages of his professional career.


"After I turned professional, I thought it would be clear sailing ahead. I was so gung-ho, so opinionated, and so inflexible. I thought the world was my oyster. It's not that it isn't, but... In retrospect , I can only say - and it's a bitter pill to swallow - that I can only blame myself for my mistakes. When I turned professional, I had a desire to start my own show, etc. etc., which I did, and it was positive and successful. It went on to Broadway, we made a certain impact, and there will probably never be another show like it in a long time. But I did it and created it in a naive vacuum. My mistakes were in believing people with their claims of expertise and promises. The company actually didn't fold; it disbanded after power struggles between our distributor and manager. I then went to skate in Europe for three exhibitions and ended up staying three months."


"It's very important for me to skate and to perform at a certain level or standard. I was asked to perform in the ISU summer tour of champions this year - something unheard of for a professional rather than an amateur skater - and they've asked me back again for next year. When I went I wondered, 'How am I going to skate with the Robin Cousins and the Emi Watanabis? What are they going to say when I'm on tour with them? Why do we have to put up with this old goat?' That's what happened, but they treated me with utmost respect and my fears were completely unjustified. I had a chance to train with those skaters, and I was kind of an advisor to them. When you're skating with Robin Cousins and all those people, you don't want to be a has-been. In fact, you try harder to be better than ever."

Photo courtesy Toronto Public Library, from Toronto Star Photographic Archive. Reproduced for educational purposes under license permission.


"It's a very big danger for many performers. I think Liza Minelli is slick, I think Barbra Streisand is slick, and I think Diana Ross is slick. The older I get, I find that the more I perform the more vulnerable I become. I know that what I have to offer to the world of skating is not really in how high I jump, because I could never jump as high as Robin Cousins. But it's in the emotional value that I hope I can give to an audience. When I go out to skate, it's a primary intellectual concern fo me to think in terms of giving a 'memory'... You can't become slick if you're an artist. If your creativity is coming from authentic artistic processes, you can't become slick because an artist has 'tunnel vision' - you don't really think about what anybody really feels. You have to think in terms of what YOU feel, which is the key."


"I stood up and applauded in my living room when I saw on TV that Kovalev was given a very low mark by the British judge after a bad free skating performance at Worlds. All the other judges thought, 'Well, he's Vladimir Kovalev and he's defending champion. We've got to hold him up.' The British judge was the only one who had the guts to give him the mark he deserved. That rarely happens. I think it was the first time in history that a low mark was applauded by the audience - the Ottawa audience was to be commended, really commended."

Photo courtesy Toronto Public Library, from Toronto Star Photographic Archive. Reproduced for educational purposes under license permission.


"Figures are a lot of crap. When I say that, I don't mean to make a joke out of them because, let's face it, I did figures until I was practically dead. I feel now that the way of skating is evolving. Figures just aren't a part of what's happening now in skating. Figures just don't make sense anymore. There are going to be people who say, 'He doesn't know what he's talking about'. Hooray, you're entitled to your opinion. For me, I say just let them die their natural death."


"Ballet sort of bores me. I think skating is much more interesting than ballet. It's more exciting, more athletic, more thrilling. There's only so many ballets that you can see with people running around in their nightgowns and little witches coming around the bushes and the prince dying at the end. I want more than that."

Skate Guard is a blog dedicated to preserving the rich, colourful and fascinating history of figure skating. Over ten years, the blog has featured over a thousand free articles covering all aspects of the sport's history, as well as four compelling in-depth features. To read the latest articles, follow the blog on FacebookTwitterPinterest and YouTube. If you enjoy Skate Guard, please show your support for this archive by ordering a copy of the figure skating reference books "The Almanac of Canadian Figure Skating", "Technical Merit: A History of Figure Skating Jumps" and "A Bibliography of Figure Skating":