Terry Fox’s journey started modestly in St. John’s with little attention or fanfare.
The monument that marks that moment at No. 1 Water Street is equally quiet and subdued, a simple slate plaque — hardly noticeable to someone not looking for it.
Soon, though, a new monument and garden will be installed at the site where Canada’s champion against cancer dipped the toe of his artificial leg in the Atlantic Ocean before setting off on his Marathon of Hope April 12, 1980.
Fred Fox, a member of the family and the manager of supporter relations at the Terry Fox Foundation, says the family was recently approached by officials from the St. John’s Port Authority — which is located next door to the current monument — Parks Canada and the City of St. John’s, with the idea to replace the current monument with a life-sized representation of Terry Fox dipping his toe in the water.
“They’ve come up with not only some kind of a garden design, but they’ve now included a statue in it so it’s been a bit of a process and there’s still a bit of a process to go yet,” Fox said, explaining a request for proposals has gone out to the arts community and that the end result isn’t ready to be unveiled yet.
“We’re pretty excited about the opportunity. I mean that’s where Terry started. It’s a significant location from the whole story, of course,” Fox said. “I hear from a lot of people who visit Newfoundland and visit St. John’s and they always wonder where Terry started from, and it’s a difficult spot to find sometimes.”
There are several other Terry Fox statues throughout the country, including one in Thunder Bay, Ont. — where Terry Fox had to end his daily marathons due to his illness.
Bill Brake, superintendent of Parks Canada for eastern Newfoundland, says $250,000 has been earmarked for the project.
Terry Fox was recognized as a person of national historical significance in 2009 and 2010 was 30th anniversary of Marathon of Hope, which is why Parks Canada got involved now, Brake explained.
“Terry Fox was a person who resonates with all Canadians young and old.”
The City of St. John’s is handling the request for proposals process and packages can be picked up and dropped off with the city clerk.