terry fox mural

Toronto is getting a huge mural to commemorate Terry Fox

Terry Fox is being commemorated in a big new way in Toronto, literally: A mural in his honour is going up on the north side of U of T's Rehabilitation Sciences Institute.

Proposals are now out from several artists as to their vision for the north-facing wall at 500 University Ave.

"Thousands of people gathered along University Avenue and on Nathan Phillips Square to witness his courageous journey and to cheer him on during the Marathon of Hope," said Mayor John Tory of Fox when announcing the project.

"Terry Fox's legacy as a role model is everlasting and whichever mural is selected will be a fitting tribute in Toronto to the legacy of a great Canadian."

The public can currently give feedback on the designs until Oct. 31. You'll want to have your say now, as the work will have a massive impact on the surrounding landscape, rising multiple storeys into the air.

The project is part of ArtWorxTO's "Year of Public Art" from 2021 to 2022, and is being created in partnership with the City of Toronto's StreetARToronto (StART), U of T and the Legacy Art Project (a public art and landscape project inspired by Terry Fox).

Toronto street artists Alexander Bacon and Que Rock, Christiano De Araujo, Keitha Keeshig-Tobias Biziindam, Emmanuel Jarus and Jason Pinney have submitted their designs for consideration by the public and an Intergenerational Advisory Committee, which will select a design to be painted in summer 2022.

Alexander Bacon and Quentin Commanda (Que Rock) have submitted a colourful but soft design of a collage of images, tied together by the word "HOPE" in bold lettering in one version, though there are version without the lettering and different colour schemes. A ribbon running through the imagery represents cancer research.

Bacon wanted to highlight Fox's prosthetic leg, and Rock will be contributing Indigenous imagery representing courage and determination.

A design by Christiano De Araujo shows Fox running down the street, a list of stats about his Marathon of Hope under his massive running shoe: 143 days, 42 kilometres per day, 5,373 kilometres total over six provinces. Araujo wanted to make a statement about Fox, but also educate those who might not be familiar with him.

Indigenous artist Keitha Keeshig-Tobias Biziindam presented a lively design that embraces lots of natural elements, and also highlights both a portrait and silhouette of Fox. The flora represented signifies the land where Fox's ancestors lived and the diversity of Canada, while Fox running against the sunset background highlights disabled capability.

Emmanuel Jarus submitted a beautiful black-and-white design that might blend in a bit more naturally with the streetscape, focusing on portrait imagery that shows Terry Fox's sense of determination.

Jason Pinney himself survived cancer in childhood, and has submitted a design that shows two angles of Fox running, not shying away from portraying the way he persevered through pain. Brought together by soft angles, lines and shapes, there are three colour scheme options for the design.

The mural will be going up along the route in Toronto that Terry Fox ran in 1980 during his Marathon of Hope, which he began after having one leg amputated due to cancer, in order to raise money for research as well as awareness. The spread of his cancer sadly ended his run and ultimately his life.

Lead photo by

Terry Fox Foundation


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