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New signage helps visitors learn more about Port Coquitlam's biggest hero

The city has put up new signs at Terry Fox Hometown Square to help visitors learn more about the national icon and his 1980 Marathon of Hope.
New signs at Terry Fox Plaza in Port Coquitlam will allow visitors to follow Fox's journey across Canada by scanning a special QR code.

Who is Terry Fox and why did he run across Canada in 1980?

If you don't know the answers, they're now written on two new signs set up in Port Coquitlam's Terry Fox Hometown Square.

The square is located behind the new Port Coquitlam Community Centre (PCCC) and shows the route Fox ran during his 1980 Marathon of Hope to raise funds for cancer research.

The two large signs feature photos, graphics and text to provide understanding and context, and were developed in consultation with the Fox family.

They were unveiled this week, just as Fox's younger brother Darrell is about to embark on a 360 km ride with a team of cyclists from PoCo to Chilliwack.

Called the Terry Fox Ride of Hope, he's scheduled to start at the square on Saturday (July 9) with the route covering a significant chunk of the Fraser Valley, and all funds will be donated to the Terry Fox Foundation.

Terry Fox grew up in Port Coquitlam in the 1970s

According to Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West, the signs will help people understand the significance of Fox’s journey and his legacy.

Fox grew up in PoCo and has become an important hero, inspiring annual fundraising runs and a statue.

"We hope it will help inspire a whole new generation of Canadians to follow in the footsteps of our hometown hero, both literally and figuratively," West stated in a news release. 

The new 60-inch signs encourage passersby to "Follow Terry's Journey" and trace Fox's route through the Atlantic provinces, Quebec and Ontario. He had hoped to finish at his home in B.C.

The signs include quotes from Fox, images captured from the Marathon of Hope, and details about the stops Fox made along the way — starting on Apr. 12, 1980 in St. John’s, N.L. 

In his journal entry that first day, Fox wrote: "I had a police escort out of the city and many people followed me in cars. The Mayor ran a few steps with me. Along the way, everyone was honking and waving."

QR code to hear Terry Fox history 

A QR code is also on the signs, taking visitors to more of Fox’s journal entries and audio file links on the Terry Fox Foundation website, along with additional photos and details about the Marathon of Hope. 

When Fox’s journey ended on Sept. 1, 1980, just east of Thunder Bay, Ont., he had run for more than 143 days and 5,374 km — the equivalent of about 128 marathons.

"We are equally proud and thankful with how the City of Port Coquitlam has recognized our brother and uncle with the Terry Fox Hometown Square, which features Terry's Marathon of Hope route," said Darrell Fox on behalf of the Terry Fox family. 

"The related signage and linkage to offers visitors the opportunity to gain inspiration from Terry's vision and values and to understand why he was driven to give everything he had to help others."

Competitive or recreational cyclists are encouraged to plan their own Ride of Hope fundraising rides on July 9 of any length on and in any location, or join in existing rides.

For more information about ways to participate, raise funds or donate, you're encouraged to visit the Terry Fox Ride of Hope website.