Canadian Skateboarding – A visual history

September 22, 2020 / By nicolas

Canada now has its Skateboard Bible. After years of hard work, Canada Skateboard recently published a coffee table book with over 200 photos taken over the past 5 decades.

Halfway between a tribute to the history of Canadian skateboarding and a collection of the most legendary spots in the country, this book was made possible thanks to the collaboration of over 40 photographers.

But the one we have to thank is without a doubt Ben Stoddard, president of Canada Skateboard.

“In 2016, I was elected to the volunteer position as president of Canada Skateboard and I was working in the video game industry. I always needed creative projects to work on outside of my jobs and I’ve been thinking about this book for a long time,” said Stoddard. “Since it would have been an impossible task to do it myself, I asked the board of Canada Skateboard for help in getting the photographers and skaters involved. I spent two and a half years working on this in parallel with my job.”

The mission of Ben Stoddard and Canada Skateboard is a noble one: to grow and promote Canadian skateboarding as much as possible. He sees the publication of this book as an opportunity to reach a new audience.

“It’s an art book that can soon be found in any library,” he says. “Anyone can enjoy flipping through the book, it’s meant to reach a large portion of the population.”

From Nova Scotia to British Columbia to Quebec, Canadian Skateboarding – A visual history is a collection of legendary photos. Stoddard was there for many of them, and has a souvenir for us.

“One of my favourite memories from the book is when we had come to Montreal for the JACKALOPE festival (in 2016) and I was accompanying Skylar Kehr, a skater from Penticton. While looking for a parking lot near the Big-O, we stumbled upon a steep mega bank where no one had done much, except go halfway down it. Skylar started trying kickflips at the top by landing in the bank. After scaring everyone around us for like a half hour, he finally rolled away and the photo ended up on the cover of SBC Skateboarding magazine. Everytime I see this picture, I remember that crazy weekend in Montreal.”

Photo : Canada Skateboarding

By the way, you can see Skylar’s trick at the end of this video.

Ben Stoddard is a walking encyclopedia and that’s kind of what he leaves behind in this book.

“I hope the book will have a long life and that people will still be able to look back in 20 years and see what the first decades of skateboarding in Canada were all about!”

After all, the profits don’t go into the pockets of the initiator of the project, but back into the organization of Canada Skateboard focused on growing skating in Canada.

Canada Skateboard: democratizing the sport

With the addition of skateboarding to the Olympics, a way had to be found to govern the sport.

For a few years now, skateboarding has been partly under the jurisdiction of Canada Skateboard, an organization under the umbrella of the Government of Canada and the Canadaian Olympic Committee.

“Just like boxing and hockey, Canada Skateboard is a registered organization with Sports Canada, says Ben Stoddard. We’re seen as the governing body for skateboarding in Canada. With the main goal is to grow and promote skateboarding in Canada.”

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UPDATE: We are sold out!! Thank you to everyone that bought a copy of our first edition. Be on the look out for a preorder option for the second edition. Limited copies of the "Canadian Skateboarding – A Visual History" first edition coffee table book are available now! Head over to canadaskateboard.com/shop or click the link in bio to grab a copy while supplies last. A huge thank you to all the skateboarders, photographers, graphic designers, translators, copy editors, printers and people who bought the book early during our presale fundraise. This was a 100% volunteer passion project and we are so very proud of it. We can’t wait to celebrate with you all in person soon. #keeppushing #canadaskateboard #coffeetablebook #picturebook

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Canada Skateboard is in part responsible for determining which skaters qualify for the Olympic Games, but that’s not all…

“The Olympics are one thing but we’re also focusing on doing cool community things like getting a network of communities across Canada to start communicating and building National events, like competitions across the country. We’re skateboarders trying to help skateboarding with a little bit of help from the outside world.”

Like almost all skateboarding enthusiasts, Stoddard’s passion was born in the street by “filming with a camera and a fisheye sitting at the bottom of the stairs,’’ so he understands the reluctance of some skateboarders to democratize the sport.

“There are people who are just hardcore street skateboarding fans and are purist and I love them and totally respect that. If the Olympics are not for you, we totally get it… but the fact remains that 5 billion TV screens worldwide will be watching skateboarding for the first time in 2021 and that can only bring growth to all areas of skateboarding.”

With Canada Skateboard, Ben Stoddard hopes to not only help the sport grow, but also find the superstars of tomorrow.

“We want to find the next Spencer Hamilton or Sascha Daley, just as much as we want to find the next Nyjah Huston…”.

2021 will therefore be the next step in the organization’s journey as skateboarding officially enters the Olympic Games. But in the meantime, you can get Canadian Skateboarding – A visual history and if you haven’t already, check out our episode of Skate District MTL with Annie Guglia… who will hopefully be representing Canada at the upcoming Olympics.