Lace Up

A History of Skates in Canada

By (author): Jean-Marie Leduc
With: Sean Graham, Julie Léger
ISBN 9781772032277
Softcover | Publication Date: November 10, 2017
Book Dimensions: 6.5 in x 8.75 in
144 Pages

About the Book

A charmingly illustrated history of the humble skate and its place in Canadian cultural identity.

Throughout our 150-year history, and even longer, people have braved the treacherous Canadian winters and taken to the ice for the purposes of transportation, competition, exercise, and just plain fun. Canadian culture has developed around ice and the recreational opportunities it provides, and much has been written about our love affair with hockey, figure skating, and speed skating. However, one crucial element has always been left out of the discussion.

The skate—that piece of metal underneath your foot that allows you to move on ice—is much more than the sum of its few simple parts. Indeed, the people, the rules, and the games all have stories, but they have also been shaped by the equipment. In ancient times, skates with blades made from animal bones were used to facilitate travel during the winter. Today, the newest models of skates are constantly being tweaked and improved to allow athletes to push themselves in the face of international competition.

Drawing from his own collection of over 350 pairs of historical skates, as well as archival photos and illustrations, world-renowned skate expert Jean-Marie Leduc takes the reader on a journey through the history and development of this humble device and traces its role in our national imagination.

About the Author(s)

Jean-Marie Leduc is the world’s foremost authority on skates. His impressive collection has been featured in exhibits at the Canadian Museum of History, the Hockey Hall of Fame, and the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. His reputation within the skating community precedes him, as he has worked with Speed Skating Canada and the Hockey Hall of Fame in identifying and preserving historical skates. The father of a Canadian champion speed skater, Leduc was the in-arena announcer for numerous elite short-track speed skating competitions, including at the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002.


"Lace Up contains much fascinating content and a narrative nicely complemented by photos and illustrations." —David Mills, Ormsby Review
“We have all, at some point, laced up a pair of skates, but have we ever considered what lies behind the invention of the modern skate? From a product of leisure and transportation, it has become a tool of performance and sporting excellence. Inspired by the skate collection of Jean-Marie Leduc, Lace Up takes you on an historical journey to discover the evolution of the skate over the centuries and offers an impressive gathering of photos and descriptions to satisfy the most critical historian.” —Jean R. Dupré, CEO Speed Skating Canada (1995-2010)
"[Lace Up] is packed with illustrations and archival photos and takes the reader on the developmental journey of the ice skate and its profound place in our Canadian history and psyche." —Dana Gee, Vancouver Sun