VICTORIA — A Saskatchewan man who walked across Canada to raise awareness about domestic abuse was greeted by a tiny cheering section as he arrived at the Terry Fox statue at Mile 0 in Victoria after a four-month odyssey.
A beaming Conrad Burns says he endured blizzards, winds and long stints without food during a journey where he was able to speak with Canadians about ending domestic abuse.
The 38-year-old Cree man from Prince Albert says the walk from Ottawa to Thunder Bay was the loneliest and most trying portion of his 7,400-trek across Canada.
Burns says he did not walk the entire distance himself, estimating he personally walked 3,500 kilometres, but he counted the kilometres of friends who joined him for portions of the journey as part of his total.
Burns says he set out to raise money to build safety homes for abuse survivors, but was not able to accomplish the goal and the money he did raise went to defray the costs of his walk.
He says the walk and the support he received cost about the same — $10,000.
Burns says he was honoured to end his walk at the Terry Fox statue.
"It's great to stand at the footsteps of an icon," he said.
He said he was not disappointed that only three people, his mother and two friends, were on hand to witness his achievement.
"A lot of people aren't here today, but I do have a lot of friends and supporters that have come with me along the way," Burns said. "I put a picture on Facebook Sunday and we have 250 likes. I have people congratulating me from all over Canada. Unfortunately, just because they aren't here physically doesn't mean they aren't here spiritually."
Burns says he plans to run for mayor of Prince Albert this fall.