Terry Fox Marathon of Hope Van

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“It was by no means unique. A total of 111,764 of them were built; 16,833 were bought in Canada. Yet one of them has an attachment to Canadians like no other. The 1980 Ford Econoline that slowly crawled behind Terry Fox for 143 days and 5,373 kilometres during his Marathon of Hope is being overhauled and refurbished.

Rob Reid, a Victoria runner and the driving force behind the successful campaign to build a statue of Terry Fox for Mile Zero on the Trans Canada Highway, said it would be great for Canadians to be able to see and touch the van. He said it could be driven anywhere in Canada and used in conjunction with the annual run that bears his name. “This van is like a historical site. It’s crucial to the story of Terry,” he said.

Author Douglas Coupland, who compiled a book on Terry Fox, was told about the van’s existence at a party in 2006. Mr. Coupland informed Darrell Fox and the hunt to locate the van started. For the past six months, more than 1,000 man-hours were dedicated to restoring the vehicle. Most of the original nuts and bolts would be put back on, but not all of the frame could be saved. Ford in the U.S. has a heritage department, but not even the auto giant had all the parts necessary. An exact make and model was located in Virginia, and was sacrificed for the restoration.

Despite the exterior alterations, Mr. Stoneley said, the interior has not changed, adding to the mystique of the van. “This amazing presence is still there,” he said.”

-Murray Langdon

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