O Skate Canada! 1973–1980.

The 1973 Skate Canada International, the inaugural event of the senior-level invitational, was held in Calgary, Alberta, just a year and half after the 1972 World Figure Skating Championships had taken place there. From 1973 through 1980,1 Skate Canada was the only major international figure skating competition contested annually in North America. After conceiving and launching the competition, the Canadian Figure Skating Association (CFSA, or today also called, somewhat confusingly, Skate Canada) reaped its rewards, with Canadian skaters taking gold and silver in both the mens and ladies events and silver in the ice dance event.2 A good beginning for the host country but a result that would not be repeated at any future Skate Canada.

Something that was repeated at future Skate Canada events is a distinctive stylized figure skater logo that was introduced in 1973. Arms high over head and free leg in an elegant extended position, the design is classic 1970s and immediately established a brand for Skate Canada. The CFSA may very well have been among the first federations, if not the first, to launch and sustain a brand for an annual competition. For the first six Skate Canada events, the pins issued were circular in shape and used the same basic design, varying mainly in color and size, although other minor design variations also are seen from year to year. Bright colors—red, green, blue, and orange—define the Skate Canada pins. The 1980 Skate Canada pin features the same logo and overall brand, but the pin shape was changed to a more interesting oval.

For the first six Skate Canada events, the pins issued were circular in shape and used the same basic design, varying mainly in color and size, although other minor design variations also are seen from year to year.

The Netropolitan has culled from its archives the pins from the earliest Skate Canada events and has arranged them in the gallery below. Presented are pins from 1973 Calgary, 1974 Kitchener, 1975 Edmonton, 1976 Ottawa, 1977 Moncton, 1978 Vancouver, and 1980 Calgary. Along with the small Skate Canada pin that would have been available to the general public, a significantly larger version—given only to competitors and officials—also was produced and issued those same years. In addition, another pin was issued in 1978 Vancouver that carries the saying “Love It!” The small circular pins all measure either 9/16″ (1.42875 cm) or 5/8″ (1.5875 cm) in diameter while the small 1980 pin measures 3/4″ x 1/2″ (1.905 cm x 1.27 cm). The additional 1978 cutout-style pin measures 7/8″ x 7/8″ (.7625 cm x .7625 cm). The large circular pins all measure 1-1/2″ (3.81 cm) while the the large 1980 pin measures 1-7/8″ x 1-1/4″ (4.7625 cm x 3.175 cm).

There is provenance with several of the pins shown in the gallery. The large versions of the 1973, 1974, and 1975 Skate Canada pins were acquired from Lynn Nightingale, the four-time Canadian champion (1973–77) and winner of the first two Skate Canada events. The large versions of the 1976 and 1980 Skate Canada pins were acquired from Gary Beacom, the two-time Canadian national silver medalist and the most avant-garde competitor of the late 1970s through the mid-1980s.

Enjoy O Skate Canada. 1973–1980.

1 Skate Canada was not held in 1979, in deference to the Flaming Leaves International, an invitational held in Lake Placid, New York, which served as the official test competition for the then-new Olympic Center Ice Rink built for the 1980 Olympic Winter Games. Out of the Flaming Leaves event later came Skate America, which was first contested under that name in 1981, also in Lake Placid.
2 Pairs would not be contested at Skate Canada until 1984 when the event was held in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.


1973–1980 Skate Canada Gallery

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  • Copyright-protected image. Do not download or use without express written consent of the copyright holder.
  • Copyright-protected image. Do not download or use without express written consent of the copyright holder.

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