It is astonishing that more than three years have passed since Toller died in in January, 2015. Not a single day has passed without memory, tribute, recollection, or anecdote. The stories are variously inspirational, motivational, funny, outrageous, and powerful. Watch for the commemorative book coming later this year. It will be entitled simply: Toller. Artist.
After retiring from competitive figure skating, Toller moved to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico where he lived an intensely creative life for more than 23 years. He worked tirelessly to explore the limits of his own creativity, inspire young athletes and mentor and support young artists.
Toller’s legacy is growing through initiatives that celebrate, honour and memorialize the values he lived by.
The Toller Awards
Canadian Olympic Foundation and Skate Canada
In a unique collaboration, the Canadian Olympic Foundation and Skate Canada originated the Toller Awards in 2017. Named in honour of Toller, the awards recognize courage, creativity and expression in young skaters in the Junior and Novice levels at Nationals. Olympic medalist, world-renowned for innovation and artistry, Toller brought freedom of expression to the sport of skating and became a legend in the world of figure skating.
Emma Bulawka from Kelowna, BC, a recipient of a 2018 Toller award wrote:
I am so honored and grateful to be one of the few selected to receive the Toller Cranston Memorial Award. He was an artist and innovator on and off the ice. He changed skating forever through his willingness and fearlessness to push the boundaries. He created masterpieces by the way he expressed emotions through his body movement. His legacy and everything he did for the sport will never be forgotten. He revolutionized the meaning of pure art on the ice.
Toller Cranston continues to be an inspiration and role model to many, including myself, which makes me feel so incredibly honored to receive this award, written and made in his name. I am so thankful and blessed to have this rare opportunity. Thank you.
For this upcoming season, I hope to continue to honor Toller Cranston and all he has done for this sport. With this award comes responsibility. I will continue to work hard on and off the ice and follow in the legacy of this award. I want to keep developing and pushing myself, not only as an athlete, but as an artist. I hope to keep challenging myself and develop my artistry beyond my comfort zone while inspiring other skaters to do the same along the way.
Endowment at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity
Toller thought of himself first and foremost as an artist and the Banff Centre is a perfect fit with his talent, vision and core beliefs. The Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity has initiated a project to establish the Toller Cranston Scholarship Endowment for Visual Artists.
Kirkland Lake Centennial: Toller Cranston is Back Home!
Since the journey started for Toller on the ice in Kirkland Lake, it is fitting that six decades later it is his artistry brings him back. Toller’s painting Floating on Air (2011) is on display at the Museum Of Northern History as a preview of a Toller retrospective called The Strawberry Journey that will open in April 2019. The show is a collaboration of the Contemporary Art Committee, Temiskaming Art Gallery, Museum of Northern History, Kirkland Lake Centennial, Artworld Fine Art Gallery and the Toller Cranston Foundation.
The Toller Cranston Library in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Toller’s extensive library of art and design books has been donated to a prominent arts and culture centre in Mexico. The collection has been catalogued and a permanent Toller Cranston reference library will soon open for international scholars and researchers.
Conociéndome (Getting to Know Me):
Youth Creativity, Empowerment and Career Development Program
Over the years, Toller brought hundreds of children in Mexico into his magical world. He painted with them, taught them and inspired them to express themselves with courage and confidence. Now, an internationally regarded youth empowerment and career development program created by Baran & Baran has been adapted to a Mexican context and will be delivered in Toller’s name in partnership with significant Mexican NGO’s. Conociéndome (Getting to Know Me) provides youth participants with insights and tools to take charge of their lives and career paths, direct their own future, expand their creativity, and make more effective connections with family and community.
A Song for Toller
Multiple award-winning and Grammy-nominated composer Michael Hoppé has a new collection of compositions inspired by wonderful friendships. Listen to A Song for Toller on Michael’s new CD, Amistad.
Gallery Shows and Tours
Interest in Toller’s paintings remains high. The pieces—colourful, flamboyant and intricate—continue to be sought by collectors all over the world.
The Toller Cranston Memorial Fund
The Canadian Olympic Foundation through the Toller Cranston Memorial Fund offers a way to remember Toller, to show appreciation for the artistry he brought to the world of figure skating, and to assist those young skaters with the dreams, the talent, the passion and the work ethic to reach for the stars.