Every winter, Canada’s old-world capital of Ottawa plays host to the biggest skating event of all when the Rideau Canal Skateway, the world’s largest ice rink, opens for winter fun (and the chance to enjoy a beaver tail pastry while skating). But the canal isn’t Ottawa’s only claim to figure skating fame, not by a long shot. The city has hosted many top-level figure skating events over the decades, from Canadian national championships to World Championships to Skate Canada, including 1981 Skate Canada, the eighth such to be contested and the subject of this blog.
With the 1973 launch of Skate Canada, the Canadian Figure Skating Association (CFSA, or today also called, somewhat confusingly, Skate Canada) may very well have been among the first ISU member unions, if not the first, to create and sustain a brand for an annual competition. Through at least the first 15 Skate Canada events, a stylized figure skater logo appeared in some fashion on the event pins—sometimes prominently and sometimes subtly—and showed slight, yet progressive, variations in design. Distinctive and consistent, as a good brand should be.
For the 1981 Skate Canada event, two pins were issued: a standard pin for sale to the public and a second, larger version given only to competitors, officials, and volunteers.1 The standard pin measures 1″ x 13/16″ (2.54 cm x 2.06375 cm) and is on a silver-color base metal with red enamel fill; generously rounded corners create both visual interest and a pleasing profile. The Skate Canada logo appears in the silver color against the rich red background, and a thin border accents the pin. The event name and location are split above and below the logo: “Skate Canada ’81 Ottawa.” The pin is simple, yet elegant. Of note is that this pin tarnishes heavily.
Through at least the first 15 Skate Canada events, a stylized figure skater logo appeared in some fashion on the event pins…
The larger version of the pin swaps out the silver and red color palette for red and white (with a slightly different shade of red) but features the same overall design, although with a variation in the thickness and spacing of the letters. On a gold-color base metal, the red and white enamels create a clean and fresh look that holds up well, even nearly 40 years post-event. Measuring 1-3/4″ x 1-1/4″ (4.445 cm x 3.175 cm), the word substantial comes to mind when describing this pin, making it a standout souvenir of the event for all who received it.
See pins from earlier Skate Canada events in the O Skate Canada! post from 2020. That post covers the early and formative years of Skate Canada, 1973 through 1980.
Enjoy Figure Eight in Ottawa. 1981.
1Source: Quinn, Robert J. and Nancy D. Figure Skating Pins. Larchmont, N.Y. Quin-Tel Productions, Inc. 1987.
1981 Skate Canada Gallery
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