Mariposa School of Skating

The Mariposa School of Skating, located in Barrie, Ontario, is a major figure skating training center in Canada.[1]

Mariposa School of Skating
Formation1973 (1973)
Doug Leigh


The school was founded in Orillia, Ontario in 1973 by Doug Leigh and Tom Harrison. The school moved to Barrie in 1988 after the Orillia city council refused to allow the building of a new rink on land to be donated to the school by Georgian College.[2]

The current head coaches at Mariposa are Leigh for singles, Lee Barkell for pairs, and David Islam for ice dancing.[3] David Islam and Paul Matheson will become the co-owners in June 2017.[4]

Leigh began a novice skating career, but had to quit at age 16 to finish his schooling. However, he had the opportunity of competing in the Junior Championships of Canada in 1966, finishing in second place. In 1969 he began his coaching career and since embarking on the Mariposa skating school he has coached at 6 Olympic competitions and 26 World Championships. The name "Mariposa", which means "butterfly" in Spanish, refers to author Stephen Leacock's fictional name for Orillia, the school's original home.[2]


The Mariposa School of Skating has many different programs and opportunities such as The Seminar, Summer School (an extension of the seminar), A Cooperative education program for High Performance Athletes,Spring school/Fall school, Canskate programs, and Power skating programs. Skaters from Canada, the United States, South Africa, China, Japan, and Europe have attended the events.

The most popular program is the Summer School program, which is an extension of "the Seminar". It usually begins mid-June, and can last from four days to seven weeks of training. The seminar contains on-ice program training and other components:

On-ice training

  • Jump techniques
  • Spin techniques
  • New judging system component mark development
  • Performance and theatre (interpretation of music)
  • Field movements (spirals, spread eagles, arm movements, etc.)
  • Stroking and edges
  • Footwork

Off-ice training

  • Mental training
  • Dartfish analysis
  • Jump analysis
  • Spin analysis
  • Warm up theory
  • Parent sessions
  • Personal development
  • Athlete management (healthy living, healthy eating, balancing life)

Off-ice movement sessions

  • Dynamic off-ice warm up
  • Footwork ladder sessions
  • Off-ice jump classes
  • Performance and theatre training
  • Dance classes (hip hop, ballet, and Jazz)


The founders of Mariposa Skating School are Douglas Leigh, Lee Barkell, and David Islam. Many other coaches have participated in the seminars. Of the 35 coaches at Mariposa, the main ones (other than the founders) are Robert Tebby and Michelle Leigh. They have been deemed as primary coaches due to their extensive experience and their attainment of NCCP (National Coaching Certification Program) Level 4.

Former or current champions that still train at this association may provide demonstrations of spins, jumps, and other elements.

Charity galaEdit

Since 1989, The Mariposa School of Skating has hosted an annual charity gala, usually held at the Barrie Molson Center in Barrie, Ontario. This event is sponsored by The Rotary Club of Barrie and proceeds go directly to the local charity projects of Royal Victoria Hospital Foundation "Rotary House". The Rotary House has provided lodging facilities close to cancer treatment which is valuable to both the patient and their families. Since the initiation of this project, over 1 million dollars has been raised to support this foundation.

The gala involves producing an ice show where former champions voluntarily perform skating programs. Skaters that have performed in the gala include Jeffrey Buttle, Jame Sale & David Pelltier, Marie-France Dubreill & Patrick Lauzon, Jennifer Robinson, Annabelle Langois & Cody Hayes, Lesley Hawker, Melissa Briggs, Christopher Mabee, and Steven Cousins.

Mariposa has also organized an annual celebrity golf tournament, in which skaters may participate. All proceeds of the event go towards the Alzheimer Society of Great Simcoe County which supports local Alzheimer patients and caregivers.

Notable students and alumniEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "BMO Financial Group and Doug Leigh finalists for a Canadian Sport Award". Skate Canada. 2007-02-09. Archived from the original on September 29, 2007. Retrieved December 1, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Buffery, Steve (1997-02-23). "Doug Leigh is skating's master chef". Toronto Sun. Archived from the original on 2013-01-15. Retrieved 2007-07-10.[dead link]
  3. ^ "Skating Coaches for all levels". The Mariposa School of Skating. Retrieved December 1, 2018.
  4. ^ Pereira, Gene (May 2, 2017). "David Islam, Paul Matheson taking over figure-skating school from Doug Leigh on June 1". The Barrie Examiner. Archived from the original on November 28, 2017. Retrieved December 1, 2018.

External linksEdit