The Kerrisdale Figure Skating Club was incorporated in October 1949 with Club President, Charles White, and a Board of Directors with much skating expertise – including Mr. John Wickson and Mrs John (Billy) Mitchell who later became the first woman President of Skate Canada (CFSA) from 1976-1978.
After much fundraising and negotiations with the Vancouver Parks Board and City Council by many individuals and community groups, the Kerrisdale Arena was built and officially opened on November 11, 1949 under the chairmanship of Fred ” Cyclone” Taylor.
The Club with a membership of 1300 members, children, adults and family members, became the largest club in Canada at that time providing skating fun and recreation for children and adults from three to eighty-three years of age as well as a figure skating training location for elite athletes. The first Club Coaches were Mary Rose Thacker and Betty Cornwall.
As well as teaching skating skills, the Club became renowned for its amateur ice shows in which children and parents have fond memories of performing and displaying their developing skills. In 1951, the dedicated volunteers of the Kerrisdale Club hosted the Canadian Figure Skating Championships.
In 1955, Dr. Hellmut May, with assistant Dave Ross, became the Head Coach of the club. With time, hard work and expertise, he developed a highly competitive group of skaters from the large number of young recreational club skaters. By 1960, Kerrisdale Figure Skating Club had a very impressive list of competitors and medalists at the BC Coast Regional competition and the BC Sectional competition. The year 1960 also marked the first trophy won by the future World Champion, Karen Magnussen, at the annual Club Competition.
In 1964, Kerrisdale FSC has its first entry in the Olympic games – Jim Watters and Faye Strutt in pair skating. In 1968, Steve Hutchinson made the Canadian Olympic Team in Men’s singles and in 1972 Ruth Hutchinson, Steve’s sister, also qualified for the Canadian Olympic Team in Ladies singles – an unusual achievement for one family to have two skaters participating in the Olympics. Other World Figure Skating competitors from Kerrisdale included Joni Graham with her partner in Dance.
Under Dr. May’s tutelage, there have been many National Champions between 1965 and 1995 as well as Provincial and Canadian Divisional champions and International competitors. History repeated itself several times in the 80’s and 90’s. Other talented skaters under his coaching won the BC Coast Team Trophy and the BC Section Team Trophy. Dr. May also guided and developed many young coaches who have gone on to share his expertise throughout the province and at Kerrisdale Skating Club.
Not only was Kerrisdale FSC known for its quality competitive skaters but was renowned for its large ice carnival productions – notably in the 50’s and 60’s when there was a large membership. Our last large Ice Carnival production was in 2000 to celebrate 50 successful years of the Kerrisdale Figure Skating Club.
Kerrisdale Figure Skating Club has now been in existence for over half a century. Through the dedication of its Coaches and Volunteers it continues to provide quality coaching, a variety of programs, a selection of ice times to meet the need of recreational and competitive skaters of all ages.