Lack of numbers ends city’s oldest figure skating club

Victoria Figure Skating Club folds after 86 years in Oak Bay and Victoria

Blame the changing demographic of downtown Victoria for the demise of the Victoria Figure Skating Club.

The 86-year-old institution boasted 750 members in 1966, the econd largest in Canada at the time. But now it has folded for good following its AGM on March 26.

The club was right up there with the city’s other historic sporting organizations in terms of longest running organization.

“(The end) has been coming a long time due to a gradual decline in numbers,” said president Sharon Jarymy. “As your numbers go down, so does funding and savings. We knew we didn’t have enough money to continue next year.”

The majority of the club’s remaining skaters will likely move into the Saanich Figure Skating Club based out of Pearkes rec centre behind Tillicum Mall, Jarymy said.

“We’ve worked closely over the years with Saanich. They’ve shared ice with us, we’ve co-hosted ice shows and we share a coach, so our skaters are familiar with them.”

Numbers may have fizzled downtown and in Esquimalt, but the other clubs around town are doing just fine. The family-centric suburbs of Saanich, West Shore and Oak Bay are turning out skaters at a more consistent rate.

In her final president’s report, Jarymy cited the marginal increase in  Victoria’s population and a decline in Esquimalt’s.

“Victoria Skating didn’t have so much competition from other clubs many years ago and of course this has now changed,” said Ted Barton, executive director of Skate Canada’s B.C./Yukon branch.

Aside from the club’s disbandment, figure skating is relatively healthy in Greater Victoria and  B.C., he added.

“Our B.C. numbers have maintained the 20,000 member level for the past several years.”

Oak Bay Figure Skating Club, which started when its rink opened in 1975, has tripled since the club’s current director of skating, Jamie McGrigor, joined eight years ago.

“We’re up over 210 members. The last few years have been banner years for us.”

Juan de Fuca Figure Skating Club president Janys Langer also reported growth with her club, leading to a general consensus that the demand for youth figure skating is lower in the heart of Victoria and Esquimalt than the neighbouring regions.

“Since 2009 we have experienced moderate increases in our numbers, mostly at the (beginner) level and synchro teams,” Langer said.

Victoria Skating got off the ground in 1926, the first in the area, based out of the Patrick Arena in Oak Bay. It survived fires to the Patrick (1929) and Willows (1944) arenas, before finding a permanent home at Memorial Arena from 1949 to 2003.

Since 2004 it has operated out of Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre and the Archie Browning Sports Centre.

“(The) arenas aren’t recreation centres, so we didn’t get the extra walk-by traffic, which didn’t help our publicity level,” Jarymy said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

From Feb. 25 to April 30, the Galloping Goose Trail will be reduced to a single lane between Gorge Road East and Burnside Road East for a Capital Regional District sewer line renewal project. (Map via the Capital Regional District)
CRD sewer work brings delays to Galloping Goose Trail

Parts of trail, Cecelia Ravine Park impacted until April 30

Carolyn Howe, a kindergarten teacher and vice president of the Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association, says educators are feeling the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic and the influx of pressure that comes with it. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Stress leave, tears and insomnia: Greater Victoria teachers feel the strain of COVID-19

One year in, teachers still adjusting to mask and cleaning rules, pressure from families

A wind warning is in effect for Greater Victoria Thursday afternoon. (Black Press Media file photo)
Strong winds predicted for Greater Victoria

Environment Canada issues warning for Thursday afternoon

Various Victoria locations were hit with a slew of anti-bylaw graffiti Wednesday. This image has been altered to cover up profane language. (Submitted photo)
UPDATED: Slew of anti-bylaw graffiti an ‘unacceptable’ form of communication says Victoria mayor, police

Downtown businesses, bylaw office and Ministry of Finance vandalized Wednesday morning

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media File Photo)
POLL: Are you struggling with Greater Victoria’s cost of housing?

While Victoria remains one of the most expensive cities in the country… Continue reading

The Port of Nanaimo has signed a 50-year-agreement with DP World around short-sea shipping operations at Duke Point Terminal. (News Bulletin file photo)
Lease ‘important first step’ in $105-million Nanaimo port expansion project

Port of Nanaimo and DP World sign 50-year shipping operations agreement for Duke Point

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

When his owner had knee surgery, Kevin, 2, was able to continue to go for walks thanks to volunteers from Elder Dog Canada. (Contributed photo)
B.C. woman has nothing but praise for Elder Dog Canada

National organization has a fleet of volunteer walkers ready, but needs more clients to serve

Two women were arrested in Nanaimo for refusing to wear masks and causing disturbance on a BC Ferries vessel. (File photo)
B.C. ferry passengers arrested and fined for disturbance, refusing to wear masks

Police said woman threatened their pensions in Feb. 21 incident aboard Nanaimo-bound boat

A Nanaimo RCMP vehicle in the Woodgrove Centre parking lot. (News Bulletin file photo)
Woman groped by stranger in mall parking lot in Nanaimo

Incident happened near bus loop Saturday, Feb. 20, at about 4:45 p.m.

Most Read