Artist. Skater. Visionary. Genius.
There is only ever one ‘Toller’ in a generation.
Toronto, ON – The Canadian Olympic Foundation, in conjunction with the Cranston family, is announcing the creation of a memorial fund to honour the outstanding figure skating and art accomplishments of Toller Cranston who passed away suddenly at his home in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico on January 23, 2015. Cranston was 65 years old.
The six-time Canadian champion (1971-1976), 1974 world and 1976 Olympic bronze medallist is best remembered for his avant-garde figure skating style that transformed perfunctory, albeit athletic, men’s figure skating into a performance art form.
Debbi Wilkes, the 1964 Olympic silver pair medallist and former figure skating analyst and author sums up Cranston’s impact this way: “Toller’s skating was wildly colourful and dramatic, introspective, controversial, daring and bold. He was a game changer, believing that the expression of his inner self was the only way he could perform. He never took on another role in skating – the only one he ever chose was to be Toller – and his courage and vision changed the sport forever.”
The goal of the Toller Cranston Memorial Fund will be to assist young skaters to develop their artistic talents and help them infuse expression and creativity into their sport.The specific details of these initiatives will be announced once they are confirmed at a later date.
For Cranston’s sister, Phillippa Cranston Baran, the purpose of this fund extends beyond the boards of any rink: “In all of the tributes that have come in for Toller, what makes me the most proud is when I hear someone say: ‘Toller gave me the confidence and courage to believe in myself and to push farther and reach higher.’ It is these values that I think can be cultivated with the help of this fund.”
Cranston himself recognized that to be an artist is not an easy path and one that requires support:
“To be a genuine individualist requires a great deal of strength and courage. It is never easy to chart new territory, to cross new frontiers, or to introduce subtle shadings to an established color.” -Toller Cranston.