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The Sport Information Resource Centre

Skate Canada – OTTAWA, ON: Legendary skating coach Ellen Burka passed away yesterday evening at the age of 95 in Toronto. Burka was a Skate Canada Hall of Fame coach and one of the world’s most respected coaches and choreographers, taking skaters to the highest level of competition over her lifetime.

A national skating champion in her native Holland, she emigrated to Canada in 1950 after surviving the holocaust. Burka joined the Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club and began her successful coaching career.

Burka, an Olympic and World coach, taught many accomplished skaters. Memorable students include her daughter Petra Burka, the 1964 Olympic bronze medallist and 1965 World Champion, as well as Toller Cranston, six-time Canadian Champion and 1976 Olympic bronze medallist.

Her commitment, innovative coaching techniques and dedication earned her the Order of Canada in 1978. In 1996, she became an honored member of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. In 2013, she was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.

Skate Canada offers its sincere condolences to Burka’s family and friends.


Skate Canada is the nation’s governing body for competitive figure skating and is dedicated to creating a nation of skaters, both recreationally and competitively. Over 125 years old, Skate Canada is the world’s oldest skating organization and Canada’s preeminent leader in skating instruction and education. Over 130,000 Canadians participate in Skate Canada educational programs each year, including our flagship CanSkate program that teaches beginners of every age the basic skills of skating and fundamental movements.

As one of Canada’s most successful governing sport bodies, Skate Canada athletes have won 25 Olympic medals and 32 world championships. Today’s Canadian world and Olympic medalists all began at one of our 1,200 local Skate Canada clubs or skating schools. Through our programs, more than 5,500 certified professional coaches encourage Canadians of all ages to skate together as a family, pursue competitive ice sports and enjoy an active lifestyle.

Skate Canada has a National Service Centre in Ottawa, marketing headquarters in Toronto and high performance facilities in Toronto and Calgary.

For Information:


Emma Bowie
Communications Manager
+1 (613) 747-1007 ext. 2547