Toller Shalitoe Montague Cranston
Born: April 20, 1949, Hamilton, Ontario
Died: January 25, 2015, San Miguel, Mexico
We learned of the death of Toller Cranston today.
In my youth, I had the rare privilege of watching him skate at the Toronto Cricket Skating and Curling Club. In fact, I used to skip school and sit behind the glass watching him in total awe. Sometimes he would be at the school figures, and believe it or not, I would watch that too. If I close my eyes, I can hear the carving sounds of his powerful blades on the ice. He was a never ending source of inspiration. When free skating, he would practice his signature camel spin, often creating new variations, about every eight minutes. I must have witnessed the perfect line he created with his body hundreds of times, and each one was a marvel. We knew the risks he took in an era when men's figure skating was a bit stiff and conservative. Certainly, Toller was entirely unique, and in full possession of the courage to be an artist. He changed the sport forever.