Fonds F0613 - Frances Dafoe fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Frances Dafoe fonds

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  • Textual record

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  • [189-?]- 2007, predominant 1950-1993 (Creation)
    Dafoe, Frances

Physical description area

Physical description

0.74 metres of textual material
96 photographs: col., b&w, sepia ; 21 x 25 cm and smaller.
122 photographic negatives : col.; 35mm and 90 mm.
3 compact disks : (658.7 MB) : 234 jpgs, 1 psd.
1 DVD (986 MB).

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Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Frances Helen Dafoe (b. 1929) is a costume designer and former Olympic figure skater. A former World Figure Staking champion, she won a silver medal (for pairs with partner Norris Bowden) at the 1956 Winter Olympics in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy. She was awarded the Order of Ontario in 1990 and the Order of Canada in 1991 in recognition of her contributions to costume design and sport in Canada. She is also a recipient of the Confederation medal and the Golden Jubilee medal.

Dafoe was a graduate of Branksome Hall and Central Technical High School in Toronto, where one of her teachers was artist Doris McCarthy. She also attended Parsons School of Design in New York.

After her retirement from professional figure skating, Dafoe worked a costume designer for the CBC, where she contributed to such television series and specials as "The Wayne and Shuster Show", "The Royal Canadian Air Farce", The NHL Awards, and various dance or figure-skating specials. She also designed the costumes for the closing ceremonies of the Olympic Winter Games in Calgary in 1988.

A long-time collaborator with choreographer Alan Lund, Dafoe worked on stage productions at the Charlottetown Festival, as well as performances by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and numerous figure skating productions featuring Kurt Browning, Elizabeth Manley, Brian Orser and Toller Cranston.

Also a free-lance designer, Dafoe has created costumes for many professional performers, dancers and figure skaters, including Karen Kain, Michael Burgess, Alan Thicke, Al Waxman, Sharon, Lois & Bram, Kristi Yamaguchi, Scott Hamilton, Elvis Stojko, Isabelle Brasseur and Lloyd Lloyd Eisler, Katarina Witt, Elizabeth Manley and Kurt Browning.

Dafoe was nominated for a Gemini Award for costume design for such works as "Return to the beanstalk", "The true gift of Christmas", "I'll never go to heaven" and "You must remember this." She received an Ace award for costume design for her work on "Rich Little's Robin Hood", a Golden Gate award at the San Francisco International Film Festival for her work on "Strawberry ice" and a Prix Anik Award for her costume designs in the television productions of "Strawberry ice" and "Return to the beanstalk."

In 2011 Dafoe published a book "Figure skating: eight centuries of sport and inspiration." She is married and has two children.

Custodial history

Scope and content

Fonds consists of the research files and reference material used by Frances Dafoe in her capacity as a costume designer for theatre, television production, performances and figure skating competitions.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Donated by Frances Dafoe in 2011.


Language of material

  • English
  • French

Script of material

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Access is open.

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Associated materials

Dafoe's reference library of fashion, costume and design publications is available in York University's Special Collections. See"Part+of+the+Frances+Dafoe+fonds+%28F0613%29.".

Additional archival material donated by Frances Dafoe can be found at the University of Toronto's Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, Ms. Coll. 00452. See:

Related materials


The fonds comprises the following accessions: 2011-028. Further accruals may be expected.

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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

2012/02/21 Anna St.Onge:. (Creation)
2012/02/21 Awaiting review by the Data Collection Archivist
2012/02/21 Expanded extents.
2012/02/21 Anna St.Onge. Corrected capitalization in biographical sketch.
2012/03/21 Anna St.Onge. Corrected spelling errors of figure skating athletes. Tightened up biographical sketch paragraph structure.
2014/07/22 Migrated to AtoM.
2018/07/04 KCP. Added GMD, fixed extent and dates, published description, and generated finding aid.

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