Purvis was a member of Ridley’s swimming, gymnastics, boxing, cricket, and football teams. He moved on to McGill University, where he enjoyed water polo and ski jumping. But he diversified even further when a group of skiing friends introduced him to sports that were popular in Europe but relatively unknown in this country. So began his storied career as one of Canada’s pioneering advocates of bobsledding and luge.
At the 1960 World Championships, Purvis competed in the two-man bobsled event. He was brakeman, while Vic Emery drove to a 17th place finish—very encouraging, considering their relative lack of experience. In 1962, Purvis placed fourth in the four-man event on the world stage, the best result yet for a Canadian team. Enthusiasm for the sport began to build— along with financial interest—so the athletes no longer had to fund their efforts entirely from their own pockets. Purvis, who also competed at the 1965 World Championships in luge, represented Canada as a bobsledder at the 1968 Olympic Games in Grenoble, France. There he met his future wife, Martha, a member of the Canadian women’s luge team. After retiring from the sport, Purvis served as a coach for Team Canada, helping young athletes achieve their Olympic dreams.