Tessa Virtue was born on May 17, 1989 in London, Ontario and has studied ballet and other forms of dance since she was three, even moving away from home at age nine to study with the National Ballet of Canada for a summer. She still takes a variety of classes including ballet, modern and hip-hop to supplement her skating. She began skating because she didn’t want to be the only person who couldn’t skate when her class took a field trip to a rink. Both Virtue and Moir were coached by Moir’s aunt, Carol, when they were singles skaters. She paired them together when Virtue was seven and Scott was nine.
In 2001, Skate Canada held a national championship for pre-novice skaters. Virtue and Moir won the title, taking all three phases of the competition. They were 11 and 13, in an event that could include skaters as old as 19 and 21. In 2002, they moved up to the novice level. At that year’s Nationals, they were the youngest and smallest team in their competition against competitors that were as much as six years older. Although only placing third, the high quality of their skating was apparent. In 2003 they moved up to the junior level, placing seventh at Nationals. That fall, they competed in their first ISU Junior Grand Prix events. Back at home, they won the junior national title in 2004 and went to their first World Junior Championships where they finished eleventh. They were still 14 and 16.
In 2004, Virtue and Moir made their move to be international contenders. That summer, they changed training sites, leaving coaches Paul MacIntosh and Suzanne Killing in Kitchener to join world-renowned coaches Marina Zoueva and Igor Shpilband in Canton, Michigan. Virtue and Moir medaled twice on the Junior Grand Prix and finished second at the Junior Grand Prix Final. They competed in their first senior Nationals in 2005, and finished fourth. Still age-eligible, they returned to the World Junior Championships and won the silver medal. At the.