(April 5, 2006)
A new exhibition entitled Lace Up: Canada's Passion for Skating is now on display at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Quebec. It is the first exhibition to explore the history of how the three ice sports of figure skating, hockey and speed skating developed in Canada.
Grey Challenge Trophy
The exhibition includes more than 200 artifacts from the museum's own holdings, private collections and from museums throughout Canada and Europe.
Skate Canada has loaned numerous artifacts such as Kurt Browning’s infamous “Casablanca” costume and the 1907 Grey Challenge Trophy, an elaborate bronze statue of pair skaters. Also on loan are three 1905 Minto Challenge Cup trophies for men’s, ladies and pair champions (The Minto Challenge was the precursor to the first official National Championships in 1914) and a register of the 1932 Championship of the World with the list of competitors and their marks. (Canada won two medals at the event that took place in Montreal: Montgomery Wilson won the men’s silver medal, while Constance Samuel won the ladies’ bronze.)
Emery Leger, Skate Canada’s archivist, visited the Museum and was enthralled by the exhibition.
Louis Rubenstein, "The Father of Canadian Figure Skating"
“It’s a great show on skating. There’s a mixture of everything – costumes, music, video footage. They’ve got it all. And it’s something the whole family will enjoy.”
One section features "The Father of Canadian Figure Skating" Louis Rubenstein, founder and president of the Amateur Skating Association of Canada (now Skate Canada). Missing is a pair of silver engraved blades that belonged to Rubenstein. The blades were lent from a Montreal collection for an exhibition in the 1960s and have never been seen since. As an archivist, Leger hopes that they will one day resurface.
“Their significance to Canadian skating legacy is immense. Who knows? They could be sitting in a box somewhere. It’s a piece of history waiting to be rediscovered.”
Lace Up: Canada's Passion for Skating will be at the Canadian Museum of Civilization until March 4, 2007. More information can be found at www.civilization.ca.