John & Marilyn Bate

Marilyn Bate

John & Marilyn Bate

John Bate

How did an accomplished young figure skater from Saskatoon come to meet and marry a scrappy Vancouver ice hockey player? Little did John Bate know that a dare from his work colleagues to join the Ice Capades in 1958 would have a profound impact on his life. Marilyn had been with the Ice Capades for a year and they toured North America and Russia together for five years before retiring to get married.

After their marriage, Marilyn worked as a Dental Assistant while John was Building Supervisor at the Pacific National Exhibition in the new Agrodome. They moved to Victoria in 1965 and John’s career really took off. His work accomplishments include: Assistant Manager of the Victoria Memorial Arena and later Royal Athletic Park, McPherson Playhouse and Royal Theatre and Manager at Crystal Pool. In 1970, John became Deputy Director of Recreation for the City of Victoria and in 1997, he retired as the Director of Parks and Recreation.

Marilyn’s and John’s accomplishments and community work are impressive. Separately and together, they have been involved in international, national and local sport competitions in figure skating, speed skating, fast pitch, basketball, lacrosse, ice hockey, curling, golf, darts, tennis, and soccer. They have been recognized many times by the Recreation Facilities Association of BC (R.F.A.B.C.). A few of their outstanding achievements include:

• 1967 – R.F.A.B.C. Manager of the Year Award
• 1968 – Award of Merit, R.F.A.B.C. for Meritorious Service
• 1982 - Facilities & Awards Chairman Air Canada Cup, National Hockey Championships.
• 1984 – Media Relations Vice-Chairman, Labatts’ Brier Men’s Canadian Curling Championships
• 1985 - Honorary President, R.F.A.B.C. Honour Roll
• 1988 - Certificate of Merit, Service to the Community, Government of Canada
• 1988 – Chairman, Celebration ’88 Olympic Torch Ceremony, Greater Victoria
• 1991& 93 – Chairman, Membership Committee, IAAM International Association Arena & Auditorium Managers
• 1991 – Charter Member and past President of the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame (GVSHOF)
• 1993 – Life Membership Award, Recreation Facilities Association of BC
• 1994 - Co-Chair, Memorial Arena & Royal Athletic Park, 1994 Commonwealth Games
• 1994 to 2016 – Chairman, GVSHOF “Dobber Classic” Golf Tournament
• 1995 – Greater Victoria Sports Council Award in Recognition of Outstanding Contribution to the Sporting Community.
• 1995/96 – Board of Directors, Tourism Victoria
• 1999/2000 – Director of Sport, Victoria BC Summer Games
• 2016 - Honorary Life Member of the GVSHOF

• Treasurer, Hillside Park National Little League Baseball
• Secretary and Chairman, Vancouver Island Little League Baseball Association
• Public Relations Officer, Skate Canada and the Canadian Figure Skating Championships
• School District 61 parent representative and District Chair of the Adhoc Committee
• 1994 – R.F.A.B.C. Harry Atkinson Award
• Registrar, 22 years for the GVSHOF “Dobber Classic” Golf tournament
• 2016 - Honorary Life Member of the GVSHOF

For some people, Marilyn and John may best be known for their decorated home and yard at Christmas time. The Bates led the way in Victoria’s Annual Christmas spirit for over 30 years on “Candy Cane Lane.” Marilyn and John have a son, David and daughter, Lisa and 6 lovely grandchildren.



Victoria enjoys a stellar sports history and we celebrate the many athletes, teams and builders who have contributed to that history.  Our displays are seen at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre (1925 Blanshard St.)  through Gate Three.


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