British Columbia

Terry Fox pitched to grace new $5 bill

The Bank of Canada announced last Thursday it would be launching public consultations for the design of a new $5 note.

The 21-year-old from Port Coquitlam began his Marathon of Hope in 1980 to raise money for cancer research

Marathon of Hope runner Terry Fox had his dream of running across Canada, a venture he launched in 1980, cut short near Thunder Bay, Ont., when he learned that cancer had spread to his lungs. To this day, annual Terry Fox Runs raise money for research. (The Canadian Press)

Could Terry Fox be the latest Canadian to grace our currency? 

That's the hope of some on social media after the Bank of Canada announced last Thursday it would be launching public consultations for the design of a new $5 note.

The consultation process hasn't officially begun — that's scheduled for the end of the month — but it hasn't stopped people from putting forward names for consideration. 

Terry Fox is considered a national hero.

In 1980, the 21-year-old athlete — who had already lost a leg to cancer — started his ambitious Marathon of Hope. He hoped to run across Canada to raise money and awareness for cancer research. 

He died before he could complete his journey, but in the process he raised over $24 million. The foundation created in his name has raised hundreds of millions of dollars for cancer research in the four decades since Fox's death.

Dave Teixeira, the co-ordinator of the Terry Fox Hometown Run in Port Coquitlam and a longtime fan, says Fox is the perfect embodiment a "banknote-able" Canadian.

"Terry just represents, I think, just the best in all of us as Canadians. He's courageous. He's selfless. He's doing things for other people, and he's just an image, I think, would be wonderful to have on a piece of currency here in Canada," he told Gloria Macarenko the host of CBC's On The Coast

Other names put forward for the new $5 bill include musician Gord Downie, hockey player Wayne Gretzky, and astronaut Roberta Bondar.

"I'm sure there's many, many deserving Canadians," Teixeira said. "No matter who gets on that bill, it will certainly be a great Canadian. I want to make sure that Terry Fox was one of the names being considered."

Sir WIlfrid Laurier is currently on the $5 bill and has appeared on at least part of the past four versions of the bill dating back to 1969.

Viola Desmond, a Nova Scotian civil rights pioneer and businesswoman, was chosen to be on the $10 bill after the Bank of Canada asked for an open call for an iconic Canadian woman who could appear on a bank note.

Wanda Robson, right, sister of Viola Desmond, admires the new $10 banknote with Finance Minister Bill Morneau during an event in Halifax on Thursday, March 8, 2018. (Darren Calabrese/Canadian Press)

Listen to the interview with Dave Teixeira here

With files from On The Coast


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