Ellen Burka


  • Sport: Figure skating
  • Born: August 11, 1921 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Ontario hometown: Toronto 


  • 1946, 1947 – Dutch Women’s Singles title
  • 1964 – Daughter Petra won bronze at the Olympics
  • 1978 – Named to the Order of Canada
  • 1992 – Inducted into the Canadian Figure Skating Hall of Fame
  • 1996 – Inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

Ellen Burka is one of the most influential figure skating coaches in Canada, having worked with 26 Canadian medalists at the Olympics and world championship levels. A Second World War concentration camp survivor, Burka moved from her native Holland to Toronto in 1950. She coached at the Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club. Her daughter Petra, who displayed promise as a skater, was coached by her mother and won bronze at the 1964 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria. In 1965, Petra won gold at the World Figure Skating Championships and was named the Lou Marsh winner as Canada’s top athlete. Burka is also known for coaching Canadian skaters Toller Cranston and Elvis Stojko.

Learn more about Burka on the Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame website.

Read an article from the National Post newspaper on Burka, including her life during the Holocaust.

Watch an interview with Ellen and Petra Burka here: