TORONTO, ON: Today, Skate Canada and the Canadian Olympic Foundation announced a unique athlete award to honour one of figure skating’s greatest artists. Named after the late skater who helped revolutionize the sport, the Toller Cranston Memorial Fund Athlete Award was created to celebrate young skaters who display exceptional artistry on ice at the Canadian Tire National Skating Championships in the novice and junior categories.
As an Olympic medallist, Cranston was world renowned for innovation and artistry. In a sport that has evolved to favour technical difficulty and feats of athleticism, Cranston was known for his freedom of expression and dramatic showmanship on the ice.
Off the ice, Cranston was a world-renowned artist. His paintings—colourful, flamboyant and intricate—are sought by collectors all over the world. He viewed painting as an extension of skating and the subject matter of his paintings often revolved around skating and skaters.
Established shortly after his death in 2015, the Toller Cranston Memorial Fund was set up as a way to show appreciation for the artistry he brought to the world of figure skating and to financially assist young skaters who possess the same artistic values and style as he did.
“Toller had a vision for skating that was before his time. He brought art to the ice and changed the dynamic of the sport. We can see his influence in the balance of artistry and athleticism in our Canadian team,” said Debra Armstrong, CEO, Skate Canada. “Skate Canada commends the Canadian Olympic Foundation for keeping Toller’s legacy alive through this memorial fund and for inspiring a younger generation of skaters to value the art of figure skating.”
On June 25th, 2015, friends and family of the skating community gathered at the Art Gallery of Toronto to honour Toller’s memory and launch the Toller Cranston Memorial Fund. On this evening, funds were raised through individual donors and donations continue to be made in Toller’s name through the Canadian Olympic Foundation. Among the speakers was his sister Phillippa Baran.
“My brother Toller always believed that figure skating had unlimited potential for artistic vision and freedom of expression,” said Baran.
“By committing himself to constant innovation he redefined the sport and he became an inspiration to other skaters to explore their own capacity and potential. Toller would be honoured and humbled to know that the artistry of young skaters is being recognized through this Award.”
This year, 14 skaters were selected to receive the award. Each winner will also receive a free pair of industry-leading boots and blades courtesy of Jackson Ultima Skates. The awards were presented by former competitors, family and friends of Toller’s from coast to coast at various Skate Canada awards banquets.
Skate Canada and the Canadian Olympic Foundation are proud to announce the Toller Cranston Memorial Fund Athlete Award winners for 2017:
Brandon Day, Junior Men, Quebec
Bruce Waddell, Junior Men, Ontario
Corey Circelli, Novice Men, Ontario
Dawson Nodwell, Novice Men, Alberta
Triena Robinson, Junior Women, Alberta
Katrine Denis, Novice Women, Quebec
Natalie Walker, Novice Women, Ontario
Evelyn Walsh & Trennt Michaud, Junior Pair, Ontario
Marjorie Lajoie & Zachary Lagha, Junior Dance, Quebec
Katerina Kasatkin & Corey Circelli, Novice Dance, Ontario