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Harvey Lowe's definitive word on 'the ideal yo-yo'

The Canadian who won the world yo-yo championship in 1932 was an authority on the best kind of yo-yo to buy.

Yo-yo champ owned 200 models, but thought pricey San Francisco-made yo-yo was the best

Harvey Lowe's 'ideal yo-yo'

Digital Archives

31 years ago
0:34
In 1990, Harvey Lowe talks to Front Page Challenge about his view on the ideal yo-yo. 0:34

If Harvey Lowe said the best yo-yo around was a precision-crafted model that cost $100, then you should probably have believed him.

Why? Because the Canadian had been anointed the world's yo-yo champion as a teenager, and he knew what he was talking about.

Back in March of 1990, Lowe said his favourite was a San Francisco-made yo-yo, which involved the same kind of metal used in aircraft manufacturing.

"It's very, very light, but you have to have this weight behind you," Lowe said, when appearing on CBC's Front Page Challenge, almost six decades after becoming the yo-yo champ.

"It's very precision-made and it costs about $100 and the kids can't afford it."

'Both hands started to go, eh?'

Harvey Lowe on the yo-yo and its history

Digital Archives

31 years ago
2:44
In 1990, Harvey Lowe talked to CBC's Front Page Challenge about yo-yo history and his own history as a yo-yo champ. 2:44

Lowe, who was then in his early 70s, had first picked up the spinning toy when he was a kid himself.

When Front Page Challenge panellist Betty Kennedy asked him what had sparked his interest in the yo-yo, Lowe said he wasn't sure.

"I don't know, it's a very funny little history I have here because I used to be left-handed and I played yo-yo with my right hand," said Lowe, recalling some of his early days as a yo-yo enthusiast.

He then developed the ability to perform with both hands at the same time.

"Both hands started to go, eh? Playing the yo-yos," he explained.

Harvey Lowe is seen performing some yo-yo tricks in front of the Front Page Challenge audience in 1990. (Front Page Challenge/CBC Archives)

The London-hosted international yo-yo contest that Lowe won in 1932 brought him his initial fame, but in the years that followed, he also made various appearances on the big and small screens.

Lowe also worked as a radio broadcaster — hosting Call of China on British Columbia's CJOR radio station — and as a restaurant manager. He died in 2009, at the age of 90.

Harvey Lowe told the Front Page Challenge that he knew how to do about 1,000 tricks with his yo-yos. (Front Page Challenge/CBC Archives)

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