Terry Fox – Running to the Heart of Canada


The Canadian Museum of History is marking the 35th anniversary of Terry Fox’s heroic Marathon of Hope by presenting the most comprehensive exhibition ever organized on the run and Terry’s remarkable and continuing legacy.


Terry Fox – Running to the Heart of Canada provides an in-depth look at Terry’s epic 143 day, 3,339 mile (5,373 kilometre) journey from St. John’s, Newfoundland, to Thunder Bay, Ontario. It explores Canadians’ deep and abiding affection for Terry and examines his unique place in our collective memory.

Developed in partnership with Terry Fox’s family, the exhibition features a wide array of artifacts and archival materials, displayed together publicly for the first time. They include the iconic Marathon of Hope van, Terry’s journal and artificial leg, and press clippings and media interviews. A database within the exhibition enables visitors to search by sender’s name through scans of some 60,000 cards, letters and artworks sent to Terry Fox during the run and in the months after.


“Terry Fox has struck a chord in Canada’s soul. It reverberates still,” said Mark O’Neill, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of History. “As Canadians mark the 35th anniversary of the Marathon of Hope, the Museum — working in partnership with the family of Terry Fox and the Terry Fox Centre — is pleased to present a unique and intimate account of Terry’s odyssey and legacy.”


“During the Marathon of Hope and the months that followed, Canadians filled our home in Port Coquitlam, B.C., with scrapbooks, written tributes and gifts reflecting a collective compassion and admiration for Terry’s unselfish act,” said Darrell Fox, Terry’s brother. “On the eve of the 35th anniversary of the Marathon of Hope, it is time to share the Terry Fox collection and the compelling story that the memorabilia evoke with the world.”


The Marathon of Hope began with little fanfare on April 12, 1980 when Terry dipped his prosthetic leg into the Atlantic Ocean at St. John’s and began his grueling marathon-a-day cross-country run to raise money for cancer research. His determination, courage and integrity soon drew the attention — and won the hearts — of Canadians from coast to coast to coast. His journey ended near Thunder Bay when the cancer that had claimed his leg returned, forcing Terry to abandon the project.

He died a national hero in June 1981, aged 22, having collected some $24 million — achieving his goal of raising $1 from every Canadian. During the past 35 years, close to $700 million has been raised in his name for cancer research.

Terry Fox – Running to the Heart of Canada is being presented at the Canadian Museum of History fromApril 2, 2015 to January 24, 2016. This exhibition is organized by the Canadian Museum of History in partnership with the Terry Fox Centre.

A travelling version of the exhibition will be available on loan to other Canadian museums during the presentation of the main exhibition at the Museum of History.


Located on the shores of the Ottawa River in Gatineau, Quebec, the Canadian Museum of History is Canada’s largest and most popular cultural institution, attracting over 1.2 million visitors each year. The Museum’s principal role is to enhance Canadians’ knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the events, experiences, people and objects that have shaped Canada’s history and identity, as well as to enhance Canadians’ awareness of world history and culture.

OttawaStart Staff



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