Farewell, Toller Cranston
Canadian artist and figure skating legend Toller Cranston died at his home of many years in Mexico this past Saturday on January 24th 2015, of an apparent heart attack. In his autobiography (one of 7 books he authored), he admitted to being an abusive drug user (until quitting at age 43), and bisexual, who was estranged from his family by his mid-teen years.
Toller Cranston was born in April 20, 1949 in Hamilton Ontario and grew up in Kirkland Lake and Montreal. In Toronto, he honed his figure skating skills under the legendary figure skating coach Ellen Burka.
Left: Toller Cranston, winning the men’s bronze medal in the 1976 Innsbruck Winter Olympics.
Toller Cranston skated competitively at the World and Olympic levels in the 1970’s, never winning an official world championship (the mandatory compulsory figures at that time were his nemesis); his highest standings were bronze medals. However, as his fans from the baby boomer generation would tell you, he was the artistic (free skate) world champion many times. After retiring from competitive skating he performed in figure skating shows, until finally retiring completely from figure skating in 1992 at age 50.
Throughout his skating career and right up until his Saturday at age 65 (an official senior citizen), Toller Cranston was an artist with a unique, distinctive style. He lived for most of the latter part of his life in Mexico, and his home in San Miguel de Allende apparently was an oasis of art and mecca for his many friends and other artists.
Before his death Toller Cranston was awarded the Order of Canada, inducted into the Figure Skating Hall of Fame, and given a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame. Canada has lost a great artist on and off the ice.
Farewell, Toller Cranston.