POLITICS

Terry Fox's van to be preserved and stored at museum for public to see

06/27/2012 01:44 EDT | Updated 08/27/2012 05:12 EDT
The beige econoline camper van that served as Terry Fox's home during his 1980 Marathon of Hope will be on display to the public over the Canada Day weekend.

The vehicle — marked with Fox's name and the purpose of his campaign — can be viewed in the lobby of the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Que., from June 26 to July 3.

Owned by the Fox family, it will be temporarily stored at the museum until a permanent display location can be found.

In 2008, the van was restored by the Ford Motor Company to make it appear as it did during Terry's run.

The van became a familiar sight to Canadians who followed the Marathon of Hope, which began in April 1980, when Fox dipped his foot into the Atlantic Ocean in St. John's, N.L.

For 143 days, Fox — who had already lost one leg to cancer — ran a full marathon every day to raise funds to fight the disease.

He had covered 5,400 kilometres when, on Sept. 1, 1980, he was forced to stop because his bone cancer had spread to his lungs.

He died the following June.

Fox's brother, Darrell — who drove the van along with friend Doug Alward — expressed relief that the museum will look after the vehicle.

"We are grateful to the Canadian Museum of Civilization for its help in preserving this important piece of our national heritage," he said in a statement.

In the fall of 1980, the van was sold to a new owner in London, Ont., who kept it until 1984. A second London resident owned the van and gave it to his son, who drove it to Vancouver in 2000 and used it as a touring vehicle for his heavy metal band for seven years.

The econoline van was returned to the Fox family when Vancouver author Doug Coupland found out about the the van's whereabouts.

Coupland has written a book about Fox and also designed four bronze statues of the iconic runner that stand in downtown Vancouver.

"Terry Fox and his Marathon of Hope are a critical part of Canadian history," said Mark O’Neill, president and CEO of the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation.

"We are honoured to be supporting the preservation and management of the Terry Fox Collection, which documents Terry's journey and ours as a nation and as a people. Ultimately, this work will advance our shared vision of finding a home for all things Terry that can be enjoyed by all Canadians and citizens the world over."