The City of Toronto, University of Toronto (U of T) and The Legacy Art Project today announced that an inter-generational committee including Terry Fox’s brother Darrell Fox and niece Jessie Alder, with public feedback, has selected the artists and design concept that will be painted this summer on the north side of U of T’s Rehabilitation Sciences Building, 500 University Ave., in honour of Terry Fox.
A signature project of ArtworxTO: Toronto’s Year of Public Art 2021–2022, the City’s StreetARToronto (StART) program has partnered with U of T and The Legacy Art Project to create a mural commemorating Canadian legend and hero Terry Fox. The Legacy Art Project is a citizen-funded public space initiative dedicated to the spirit of courage, determination, and action that Terry Fox embodied.
The collaborative design concept by Toronto artists Alexander Bacon and Que Rock was selected by the committee, following a competitive process that included input from a public engagement survey in fall 2021. The committee closely reviewed each design concept and, with public feedback, selected a final mural concept from the five finalists.
The large-scale, community-engaged landmark mural will commemorate Fox and support the legacy of his “Marathon of Hope.” Once painted, the mural is expected to cover as many as eight storeys and overlook University Avenue, part of the route Fox followed into downtown Toronto on July 11, 1980 (day 90 of the Marathon) before eventually making his way to Nathan Phillips Square, where he was met by thousands of people cheering him on.
Bacon and Rock’s submission was inspired by Fox’s courage, message of hope and continuing legacy. The mural concept features Fox smiling and waving at spectators, while standing in a heroic pose. A ribbon running through the painting acknowledges cancer research with the mural’s colours symbolizing the many types of cancer researched by the Terry Fox Foundation. An image of a bison recognizes and celebrates Fox’s Metis heritage, including characteristics of strength, courage and resilience. An iris flower and the word “hope” running vertically through the design highlight Fox’s most prominent message for the marathon.
The design concept including a full artist explanation is available on the City’s website.
In 1980, with one leg amputated due to cancer, Fox embarked on an east-to-west cross-Canada run to raise funds for cancer research and awareness of the toll of the disease. Although illness forced Fox to end his quest after 143 days and 5,373 kilometres, his efforts resulted in a lasting, worldwide legacy.
The family of Terry Fox lost their son and brother early and publicly. Terry knew before he passed away that there would be an annual run in his name and helped to establish the values and vision that the organizations that bear the Terry Fox name adhere to and proudly share today. Betty Fox, with Rolly Fox close by her side, stepped up to speak for Terry when he no longer could, accepting a role in the development of the Terry Fox Run that would later evolve into The Terry Fox Foundation. The direct descendants of Betty and Rolly Fox, Terry’s mom and dad, fulfill a governance role with the Terry Fox Foundation, Terry Fox Research Institute and Terry Fox Centre, as members with defined responsibilities and roles. They are also charged with being the lead on initiatives that wish to honour Terry’s legacy, use his name and likeness or communicate his powerful and moving story.
Working closely with artists and Toronto’s major cultural institutions, ArtworxTO is delivering major public art projects and commissions across the city from fall 2021 to fall 2022. Supporting local artists and new artworks that reflect Toronto’s diversity and celebrate key aspects of our shared history, ArtworxTO is creating more opportunities for Torontonians to engage with art, as part of one of the largest arts and cultural investments in the city’s history.
More information about ArtworxTO is available on the City’s website.
StreetARToronto (StART) is an initiative of the City’s Transportation Services Division and includes a suite of innovative city-building programs intentionally designed to showcase, celebrate and support street, mural and graffiti artists and art throughout Toronto. StART’s suite of nine programs, career development ladder, and skills building pipeline provide artists and curators with an integrated system of support and professional development that is bringing Toronto international acclaim as a leading centre for street, mural and graffiti art. StART programs and projects are rooted in values that demonstrate the positive and powerful impacts of diversity, representation and inclusion, celebrate active transportation like cycling and walking, and make our streets more vibrant, safe and inclusive.
More information about StreetARToronto is available on the City’s website.
More than 1,000 works of street, mural and graffiti art can be viewed on the StreetARToronto map.
Read more about The Legacy Art Project.
“I want to thank all of the artists who submitted concepts and designs for the new Terry Fox mural. Each design was inspiring and powerful and helped honour the legacy of Terry Fox – a true Canadian hero. Congratulations to the artists for their winning design, and for being part of this process. This will be a fitting tribute in the core of our city and will help us recognize the contributions Terry Fox made and the role he played in our country. I look forward to seeing the completed mural this summer and I’m certain it will be a great addition to our roster of public art through ArtworxTO: Toronto’s Year of Public Art 2021-2022.”
– Mayor John Tory
“We want to acknowledge and sincerely thank the five talented artists who submitted Terry Fox mural designs. Alexander Bacon and Que Rock truly captured the euphoria and power of Terry running down University Avenue to Nathan Phillips Square on July 11, 1980. We will attempt to be patient as we await the unveiling this summer!”
– Darrell Fox and Jessie Alder
“We are honoured to have had our design concept selected by the Advisory Committee for this landmark commission. Terry Fox is an international hero, a timeless symbol of selflessness and resilience against all odds. We are so proud to celebrate this global icon through our mural.”
– Artists Alexander Bacon and Que Rock
“The University of Toronto is pleased to collaborate with the City of Toronto and The Legacy Art Project to commemorate Terry Fox’s brave journey and his legacy of inspiration and support for advanced research to fight cancer. This project will enhance Toronto’s public space and provide our city with an uplifting public art installation in the heart of our city’s hospital and health care corridor.”
– Meric Gertler, President, University of Toronto
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