Toller Cranston was born in Hamilton, Ontario in 1949 and grew up in Kirkland Lake. Cranston is credited by many with bringing a new level of artistry to men's figure skating. He was the Canadian national figure skating champion from 1971 to 1976. Although he never won a world level competition, he scored the highest marks in the free skate at four world championships. He won bronze medals at the 1974 World Figure Skating Championship and the 1976 Winter Olympics. He is the 1988 World Professional Champion.
At the age of 27, he began a long career in professional figure skating. He has also choreographed ice skating and been a commentator on CBC television for figure skating events.
He currently lives in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where his main artistic outlet is now his painting, which often incorporates themes related to skating. He co-wrote the autobiographical Zero Tollerance (1997) with Martha Lowder Kimball. In his second autobiography, Cranston details a sexual tryst between himself and Ondrej Nepela.
He was inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 1976, the Canadian Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 1997, the Order of Canada in 1977 and Canada's Walk of Fame in 2003.