1981 Skate Canada at The Netropolitan Museum of Figure Skating Pins
In Ottawa, Canada’s European-style capital, a rite of passage for thousands takes place each winter when the Rideau Canal Skateway opens for on-ice fun. But the canal, which becomes the world’s largest ice rink during the winter months, isn’t Ottawa’s sole claim to figure skating fame. The city is Canada’s own “skateway” of sorts, having hosted a multitude of top-level figure skating events over the decades, from the Canadian Championships to North American Championships to World Championships to Skate Canada, including 1981 Skate Canada, the eighth such in the series and the subject of this blog.
When the Canadian Figure Skating Association (CFSA, or today also called, somewhat confusingly, Skate Canada) launched Skate Canada in 1973, it 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 the first 15 Skate Canada events, a stylized figure skater logo appeared in some fashion on the event pins—sometimes prominently, sometimes subtly—and showed slight, yet progressive, variations in design over those years. Distinctive and consistent, as an enduring brand should be.
Through the first 15 Skate Canada events, a stylized figure skater logo appeared in some fashion on the event pins…
Two pins were issued for the 1981 Skate Canada event: a standard logo pin for sale to the public and a second, larger version given only to competitors, officials, and volunteers.1 The standard pin measures approximately 1″ x 13/16″ (2.5 cm x 2.1 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 silver against the rich red background, and a thin border highlights 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, something not usually seen on figure skating pins.
For the larger pin, the color palette was swapped out for white and a different shade of red, and the pin features the same overall design but on a gold-color base metal. Even more than 40 years post-event, the red and white enamels create a clean and fresh look that has a timelessness. This pin easily could have been issued for a Skate Canada event today. Measuring approximately 1-3/4″ x 1-1/4″ (4.4 cm x 3.2 cm), the word substantial comes to mind, making this pin a standout souvenir for all who received it.
Enjoy this week’s figure skating pin blog: Ottawa: Canada’s Skateway. 1981.
(This is an edited edition of a blog titled “Figure Eight in Ottawa. 1981.” originally published January 30, 2021.)
1Source: Quinn, Robert J. and Nancy D. Figure Skating Pins. Larchmont, N.Y. Quin-Tel Productions, Inc. 1987.
1981 Skate Canada Figure Skating Pin Gallery
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