Front Cover – Click for larger image …

Toller Cranston

Ice, Paint, Passion

by Phillippa Cranston Baran

Enjoy this selection of comments from early reviewers

Ice, Paint, Passion – available now!

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The news of Toller Cranston’s sudden death in Mexico at age 65 shattered the skating world. In the packed media room of an arena in Kingston, Ontario, journalists, producers, and commentators stared at each other in shock. On the ice, competitors stopped their warmup. In the stands, parents, coaches, and thousands of fans fell into stunned silence. It cannot be true. Toller, who is larger than life, is gone? It is unimaginable. As the news spread across the world, the tweets and tributes began to pour in. Thousands and thousands of them.

With his death in 2015 at age 65, Canada lost an icon. Figure skating lost a trailblazer. The creative world lost a creative force. For decades, this Canadian icon and internationally recognized celebrity amazed, outraged, motivated, and inspired. He changed a sport. He changed attitudes. He changed lives. He deeply touched people. This book is a celebration of his life, a tribute to the values by which he lived, and a road map for living fearlessly. It is about dealing with failure and success. It is about you. It is about me. It is about all of us.

“A great style mentor and a cherished confidante, Toller never ceased to amaze me with his boundless creativity and outrageously colourful eye. He was the personification of theatricality and our deep friendship was one of my life’s most magical adventures.”

Jeanne Beker, Media and Fashion Entrepreneur

“The legacy of Toller has allowed figure skaters like me to be bold and unafraid in the pursuit of our art. I have been inspired enough by Toller’s relentless, vivid, and rich self-expression in all areas to allow my own uniqueness to guide me in my life ‘beyond the boards’. In forging a path, Toller’s influence made it easier for me to follow my own. ”

Elladj Balde, Ice Artist and Humanitarian.

“The anecdotes in this book from the legions of people who knew and loved Toller are a pure delight—each one more captivating than the last. The book is addictive; you want to read just one more, and then one more. And the stories add a richness to Toller that probably even his closest friends will find enlightening. The author, Toller’s sister, deserves a gold medal herself for this monumental tribute to the epic human being that Toller was.”

Susan Page, Director Emeritus of the San Miguel Writers’ Conference and Literary Festival

“This country and the world will be amazed and inspired by Toller’s wholly original place in the universe and the encouragement that his legacy has had for so many. ”

Jennifer Brewin, Artistic Director, Globe Theatre Saskatchewan.
Back Cover – Click for larger image …

“Every single person who has ever met Toller has a memorable story to tell. Here is a whole book full of those moments.”

Kurt Browning, Olympian and four-time World Champion.

“Canadians have always been on the cutting edge of pushing the technical limits of figure skating. Toller Cranston pushed the artistic limits in a way no one had done before. He showed us that skating could be more, and there was a place in a very traditional sport for individual passion and creativity. His own performances proved it and opened the eyes of the world to his unique talent and to what could be possible in skating …

Toller is still recognized as the gold standard for artistry and freedom of movement in skating and many awards are given in his name and honour in this regard. Phillippa Baran knows Toller in a way only a sister could. Her book captures his essence in every aspect of his life. He intrigued us all – his art on both the canvas and the ice, and his larger-than-life personality. He was an inspiration. ”

Don Jackson, World Champion and Olympic Medalist

“Creative, Productive, Daring, Inventive, Stylish, YES! But in many ways Toller Cranston defied description. He was quite simply UNIQUE. His natural flare, his rigorous commitment to his work both on the ice and in the studio were phenomenal. Rarely has there been anyone like him. This life story conceived by his devoted sister Phillippa will be a delight, with poignant memories to cherish. May his memory forever be a blessing!”

Charles Pachter, OC, Artist

About the Author

Phillippa Cranston Baran holds a BA from Queens University and an MA in Film from UCLA. She is an award-winning writer/producer, former university film professor and, for several years, a dairy goat farmer. These Journeys each have their own colourful and outrageous stories but the combination of success, setback, and craziness helped equip her to write about her very famous brother. She is also a sister who was there from the beginning and quite leterally bears the scars – a faded gash on her left thigh attests to the time when her younger brother kicked her with his skates when she refused to twirl him.

In the process of writing this book, she had to deal with corruption, extortion, and threats by gun-toting thugs. Like her famous brother, she is not a quitter. The author acknowledges that she could never have written this book if her brother were still alive. He would have demanded an utterly impossible work ethic and more flexibility with the truth than even she could accept. She is understanding of his quirks, fiercely proud of his talent, and committed to sharing his story.

The author welcomes every opportunity to speak about her brother in-person or via Zoom events. You can connect with her at

“I rode the Toller Cranston roller coaster for 15 years through many extraordinary exhibitions, emotions, experiences, and trips to San Miguel. The Ice, the Paint and the Passion takes you on that roller coaster through a magical mystery tour of his life, his art, and the genius behind it all.”

Christopher Talbot, President and CEO, Art Evolution

“Here is a glimpse into the wacky and wonderful world of Toller Cranston. A perspective (other than his own!) on a creative wizard that is both entertaining and insightful. Buckle up!!! 

Brian Orser, World Champion and Double Olympic Medalist

“By the time I started my career, the path to men’s artistry in figure skating had been superbly etched by Toller. Without this legacy, the stories I created on ice would otherwise not have been possible.”

Patrick Chan, Olympic, World and Canadian champion.

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