Efforts in Mexico and Canada aim to use the ice skating legend and artist’s fame for good.
(Photo: Jay Koppelman)
October 23, 2015 – Former world and Olympic figure skater, six-time Canadian Champion and world renowned artist Toller Cranston is being remembered and honored in numerous ways.
In San Miguel de Allende, Mexico where Toller lived the last two-plus decades of his life, he was well known in the community as a big personality, a flamboyant character, a compulsive and impetuous shopper, a prodigious artist, and an extravagant entertainer.
He left behind a stunning collection of his own original art work along with a mind-boggling assortment of ceramics, sculptures, chandeliers, and glass. He died of a massive heart attack in January at the age of 65.
Toller’s family, a sister and two brothers, found themselves in charge of dispersing Toller’s massive estate. Phillippa, Guy and Goldie left their homes in Canada and have been back and forth to San Miguel over the past nine months to handle this challenge.
Those in San Miguel who knew Toller often associated him with the word ‘generous.’ In Toller’s honor, the family has donated numerous items from the estate to local charities and organizations in San Miguel.
His impressive library of 800+ art books have been donated to Bellas Artes and will become part of a permanent collection in his honor. Original art, archival video and photographs, personal effects and clothing have been set aside to support the collection.
More than 1000 items of clothing, everything from cashmere sweaters to flowing coats along with two dozen cartons of non-art books were given to the local charity ALMA, a home for low-income elderly.
A donation of artisanal Mexican toys was made to Museo de la Esquina.
A sampling of the painted Santos at Toller’s home in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
(Photo: Scott Umstattd)
Many know that Toller created magnificent Santos (above) that are widely recognized as rare and beautiful pieces of art. Seven beaded and painted Santos were gifted to the churches of San Miguel, six to the Catholic churches and one to St. Paul’s.
All of Toller’s oil paints, a massive amount, were donated to local artists who were closely associated with him.
A permanent and rotating exhibition of Toller’s paintings and chandeliers will remain at Hecho en Mexico, a popular restaurant in San Miguel. These will be a lasting reminder of Toller’s incredible legacy and art.
Back in Canada, a Memorial Fund has been established in Toller’s name by the Canadian Olympic Foundation. Proceeds will support young skaters with both artistic and athletic talent. Supporters may contribute at http://olympic.ca/foundation.
The Toller Cranston School of Artistic Skating is being created in Canada and will launch in 2016. This will be a training camp for elite figure skaters that focuses on bringing more theatricality and creativity to the sport.
There are many ideas still in the planning stages. The family remains committed to strengthening Toller’s legacy both in San Miguel and in Canada.
Learn more about Toller Cranston’s Legacy in skating and art.