Louis Rubenstein: A Canadian Pioneer

Skate Canada Archives

While it is likely that many Canadian skaters have never heard of Louis Rubenstein, it is he they have to thank for their long and rich heritage in the sport of figure skating.

Rubenstein, long considered the “father of Canadian figure skating” was that nation’s most successful proponent, nationally and internationally, during his era.

Born in Montréal in 1861, Rubenstein was one of 12 children of a wealthy Jewish family. It is reported that at age 3 he was inspired to take up skating after watching Jackson Haines perform.

Figure skating, which was then known as “fancy” skating, became popular in the 1860s.

A member of Montréal’s Victoria Skating Club, Rubenstein excelled at compulsory figures and won the Montréal “fancy” skating championship when just 17.

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Originally published in February 2013