Book Review - Toller Cranston: Ice, Paint, Passion

"Toller Cranston: Ice, Paint, Passion" is the most important figure skating book of the year. 
It not only pays tribute to an extraordinary figure skater, artist, and Canadian, but also serves as a powerful message to all creative individuals - with big dreams and hard work, a bold and successful life is within reach.

The book features a star-studded lineup of Canadian figure skating legends such as Kurt Browning, Sandra Bezic, Brian Orser, Tracy Wilson, and PJ Kwong. Not to mention the contributions from other notable Canadians like musicians Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen, as well as fashion icon Jeanne Beker. Tales of a Mexican dinner party with Margaret Atwood and a handwritten letter from Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau are interspersed with magical art and stories that will move you to tears and have you howling with laughter.

Phillippa's stories truly shine in the book. The account of Toller's great escape at the tender age of three, clad only in a pair of pumps, had me in stitches. Her narrative of his sixty-sixth birthday celebration in Mexico, where waiters were moved to tears watching a video of his skating for the first time was touching. The late Mrs. Burka, Toller's devoted coach, shared a heartwarming tale of her first ten days with him, which turned into many years. 

Debbi Wilkes' story of meeting Toller before he became the legend he is today was particularly outstanding. She had the perfect words, as she always does. Chapter 8, which delves into the stories of Toller's employees, was equally poignant.

The book reveals many fascinating facts about Toller, like the fact he was a Sesquipedalian, which I had to look up. I wonder if he would approve of using the word "Eellogofusciouhipoppokunurious" to describe the book. Go ahead... look it up.

The judges who didn't award Toller 6.0's missed the point entirely and were unlikely to ever understand. Similarly, those who might give this book a one, two, or three-star rating would also belong in that same group.

At Toller's funeral, he was given a standing ovation. As readers of "Toller Cranston: Ice, Paint, Passion," the highest honor we can bestow upon this remarkable book is a resounding 5-star rating. However, it truly deserves nothing less than a perfect 6.0!


"Toller Cranston: Ice, Paint, Passion" can be ordered through Sutherland House Books or on AmazonBarnes & Noble or Chapters

Skate Guard is a blog dedicated to preserving the rich, colourful and fascinating history of figure skating. Over ten years, the blog has featured over a thousand free articles covering all aspects of the sport's history, as well as four compelling in-depth features. To read the latest articles, follow the blog on FacebookTwitterPinterest and YouTube. If you enjoy Skate Guard, please show your support for this archive by ordering a copy of the figure skating reference books "Jackson Haines: The Skating King", "The Almanac of Canadian Figure Skating", "Technical Merit: A History of Figure Skating Jumps" and "A Bibliography of Figure Skating":