Growing up you were probably familiar with roller skates, as it is a widely popular activity for young people and kids. Going to the skate park with friends, throwing a birthday party where you could enjoy roller skating or learning how to roller skate with private lessons was a must in anyone's childhood.
But roller skating goes beyond simple fun and games. It is a serious sport that is even considered as part of the official Olympics and that takes lots of skill and years and years of pratice.
If you are interested in learning more about how to roller skate and how you can learn to skate, keep reading so you can connect with a roller skating coach in Canada and become a total pro at this sport.
What is the History of Rollerskating
Before you learn to roller skate you need to understand a bit more about the sport itself, how it came to be and the history behind it.
Roller-skating was invented in 1735 by John Joseph Merlin, a Belgian who famously introduced his new wheeled shoes at a party in London. During this masquerade party, he attempted to skate while playing a violin but he couldn’t control his speed or command his skates to go in the desired direction and he soon plowed into a mirror, broke his instrument, and ended up with severe injuries. Merlin's skates were inline, with only three wheels and no way to turn.
Later on, French inventor M. Petitbled patented a three-wheeled inline skate model in Paris in 1819. But it wasn’t until 1863 that James Plimpton “revolutionized the roller skate” by designing quad skates. His skate was a wooden sole with three wheels attached in a line. Straps held the skates to people’s feet.
Four years later, Robert John Tyers received the first English roller skate patent. This skate was called the Rolito and it had five wheels in a single row on the bottom of a shoe or boot. The Rolito was unable to follow a curved path, unlike the in-line skates of today.
Then came Parisian inventor Louis Legrand who was the first to rethink the in-line approach, designing the so-called quad skates which had four wheels attached in two rows at the heel and the ball of the foot.
During the 1840's, in a beer tavern known as Corse Halle, near Berlin, barmaids on roller skates served thirsty patrons. This was a practical decision, given the size of beer halls in Germany, which gave dry land skating a publicity boost. Later on, the first public skating rink opened in 1857 in the Floral Hall and in the Strand of London.
The first modern two-by-two roller skates were patented in 1863 by James L. Plimpton, a New York City furniture dealer. Instead of being attached directly to the sole of the skate, the wheel assembly was fastened to a pivot and had a rubber cushion, which allowed the skater to curve by shifting his weight.
He also established the New York Roller Skating Association; opened a skating rink at a Rhode Island resort in 1866 and and taught people how to roller skate through skating lessons during the 1870s. He was also great at marketing roller skating as an appropriate activity for men and women to do together, allowing young Victorian couples to meet without reprisal or rigid chaperoning.
By 1880 London was said to have had 70 roller rinks; Paris had 40; New York City at least 20. Later on in 1884, the invention of pin ball-bearing wheels made rolling easier and skates lighter.
During the Edwardian era and the Roaring Twenties, young people flocked to roller rinks to skate and flirt. Skating even began showing up on silent movie screens, including Charlie Chaplin’s 1916 film The Rink.
The standardization of toe stops in the mid-20th century, made slowing down and stopping much easier. Also, the introduction of plastic helped make the skates easier to wear in the 1960's. Traction improved, and the roller-disco craze exploded in the 1970s.
Roller Skating was officially accepted as an Olympic sport. Skateboarding in Tokyo 2020 and roller speed skating in Buenos Aires 2018 are the two roller sports officially incorporated in the Olympic Program: a clear acknowledgment of the great appeal that these disciplines have on the young people worldwide and their capacity of bringing freshness and innovation to the Games.
Check out more benefits of rollerskating.
When Did Rollerskating Begin in Canada
If you live in any of the Canadian provinces you probably know how popular roller skating is among people of all ages but, how did it come to be?
Tied to the history described above, roller-skating facilities were built in the 1880s in Toronto and Montréal. In 1884, skating started in Chatham, Ont, which within a year had become one of the foremost roller-skating centres in the world. Speed skater George Berry, of Chatham, became the Canadian roller-skating champion in 1884 and in the next year won the North American championship and was acclaimed world champion.
Later on, the start of WWI put an end to competitive skating, but the 1930s saw a re-introduction of stimulated events such as the 5-day roller-skating derby held at the Canadian National Exhibition in 1940.
The Canadian Roller Skating Association was formed in 1961, became the Canadian Federation of Amateur Roller Skaters in 1973 and was re-named Roller Sports Canada in 1995. Canada sent a team to the World Artistic Roller Skating Championships for the first time in 1973, placing 5th among 19 countries. In 1977, these championships were held in Montréal.
Lately, the whole country has seen a resurgence of the sport. While roller skating never really went out of style, its popularity skyrocketed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic as people stuck at home, looking for something active to do outdoors, saw their social media feeds swell with joyful videos of trail skaters and roller dancers.
Find more places for roller skating in Canada.
Famous Canadian Roller Skaters
There are plenty of successful and internationally famous Canadian roller skaters who in the last decades have put the name of Canada out there in the skating world. If you are looking for some inspiration to help you take the next step into learning how to roller skate, these are some names you should become familiar with:
- Kailah Macri: Kailah Macri is Canada’s top artistic roller skater and has competed at seven world championships. She finished fifth at Guadalajara 2011 before choosing to retire from a sport that has little exposure and few competitors in Canada. But the lure of competing at home at the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games was too much to resist, so she began training again in the fall of 2014. Since she took up roller skating in grade school, Macri and her family have logged thousands of kilometres just to find a place where she could hone her skills. For a while, that included driving overnight to Toledo every other weekend for training.
- Jade Macri: Kailah Macri's younger sister Jade has been one of her staunchest supporters and her competition. The sisters trained together in California and faced off at the world level until Jade retired in 2008.
- Clint Shaw: to celebrate Centennial year in 1974, Clint Shaw came to roller-skate across Canada, in an odyssey that began in Victoria. That 7,900-kilometre effort landed him in the Guinness World Records book. He earned another entry in 1974 when he became the first person to skate across the U.S. He earned two other records, too.
Are you ready to learn to skate with the help of a private skating professor? Keep reading to know how Superprof can help you make it a reality.
Learn more about the different types of roller skating.
Learn How to Roller Skate With the Help of Superprof
Superprof is a platform designed to help students of all disciplines connect with potential teachers and tutors who can help them reach their academic and non-academic goals.
If you want to learn how to roller skate in Canada, you will find that our platform has plenty of excellent options for private rolling skating tutors who can teach you everything you need to know to become a pro in this discipline.
Both online and offline, you can connect with these teachers who will teach you things such as freestyle methodology, artistic figure skating, jumps and tricks and much more.
All you need to to is conduct a quick search of the available profiles in your area and look at their experience and qualifications giving classes. Once you find the ideal teacher for you, take a trial class to make sure you connect and have common expectations about the lessons and get ready to become a true roller skating pro in no time!
Is roller skating popular in Canada? Find out here.
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