Remarks by Ron Vincent

Although I am unable to travel from Galiano Island, British Columbia, to be with you to remember Osborne Colson today, as a former colleague I would like to add a few words in his honour.

Osborne Colson holds a special place in the history of coaching figure-skating in Canada. He was one of the earliest of the “home-grown” professional coaches at a time when the small field consisted mostly of European imports. He became one of what was a mere handful of coaches who are our progenitors, our icons who, through their unique contributions, laid down the foundations of what skating is today.

Osborne, during the early years of his career was teaching during a particularly intense period of discovery and the development of advanced figure-skating technique. It was a period of great excitement, an excitement which I believe stayed with him throughout his life.

There is no question that Osborne was eccentric. He would not have had it any other way. He may even have deliberately cultivated his eccentricities and sensitivities. He did not wish to be boring and he certainly didn’t want to be around people who were. This sometimes led him into some rather bizarre theatricalities of which his colleagues were familiar. He could be quick to judgment, dismissive and even mean. He seemed to want to protect skating from being taken over by Philistines and in some ways he succeeded. He was vigilant in his protection of the Art and if we think about it, I believe that may explain a lot.

Osborne’s esthetic, not surprisingly, derived from the era of his youth. It was a time when figure-skating was a little bit upper-crust and strangely perhaps, influenced by the glamour of Hollywood as it then was.

When Osborne was performing in The Ice Follies in the early 40’s, (at that time it was a sophisticated show), his club-mates from the Toronto Skating Club and The Toronto Granite Club came to perform in the Rotary shows in Vancouver. Donald Gilchrist, Norah McCarthy, Virginia Wilson and Eleanor O’Meara were not your “Ah, shucks, Kitchen-Sink” stars, they were, like Osborne,….GRAND! There was also an inherent sense of integrity, a sense of spiritual elevation and of a profound respect for skating that communicated itself to the onlooker.

Osborne Colson’s place is secure in the Canadian figure-skating firmament…..

I, personally, will remember that he was GLAMOROUS, that he was GRAND and that he was a STAR!!... He will be missed!