Terry Fox in Newfoundland

Signal Hill National Historic Site

On April 12, 1980, Terry Fox began his Marathon of Hope at Mile Zero in St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador. In the hours before his run, Terry brought an empty glass bottle to a small beach in Outer Cove and filled it with Atlantic seawater. He planned to pour the jug of water into the Pacific Ocean at the end of his run, symbolically connecting our country from coast to coast.

Parks Canada, the Terry Fox Foundation and the Town of Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove hosted the Terry Fox Outer Cove Gathering to celebrate Terry Fox’s legacy as a person of national historic significance and the important role Outer Cove Beach played in the Marathon of Hope.

The simple glass bottle of Atlantic sea water he collected there continues to represent Terry’s determination to unite the entire country behind his cause. After 35 years, his legacy continues to inspire us.

The Terry Fox Outer Cove Gathering


Parks Canada Logo

Setting of event - Outer Cove Beach, covered with snow. Atlantic Ocean waves can be seen splashing in the background. Darrell Fox opens a book that shows a photo of Terry Fox collecting a jug of Atlantic Ocean water at Outer Cove Beach on this morning, April 12, the day he started his Marathon of Hope, 35 years ago.

Darrell Fox, Senior Advisor for Terry Fox Research Institute and Brother of Terry Fox : You can see that Terry's wearing a jacket but he looks pretty comfortable and he is actually smiling, so, I'm not smiling I'm cold. So, I think it was a pretty, warmer day for Terry at that time. But, thirty-five years ago Terry started the Marathon of Hope on April 12th and I think we all know that he started in St. John's harbour. What we don't know is where Terry retrieved the bottle of Atlantic Ocean water that he kept in the van and the plan was to take it across with him to B.C. and when he finished the Marathon of Hope he was going to dump that water in the Pacific Ocean. Well, it's only recently that we've been able to confirm that this, in Outer cove, this beach here is where Terry retrieved that water so, it's very exciting and a big day for us.

Invited guests, relay participants and members of the general public begin to gather at Outer Cove Beach, including the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary's Mounted Unit who will lead the participants in the relay procession to St. Francis of Assisi School.

Jeremy Roop External Relations Manager, Parks Canada: I'm going to put this on you and what we're going to do, we're going going to walk down to the beach

Jeremy Roop of Parks Canada outfits Reverend Bill Strong with a runner's bottle and holster before they head to the shore to collect water from the Atlantic.

Darrell Fox: We're really excited that Bill Strong is here with us, Reverend Bill Strong, because he was the only member, or the only person that was with Terry in 1980 when he retrieved the water.

Reverend Bill Strong, Collected Water with Terry Fox: I was a field supervisor with the Newfoundland division of the Canadian Cancer Society and this is where we came to fill bottles of saltwater. The plan was to bring them to the Pacific.

Reverend Bill Strong collects Atlantic Ocean water in a large jug similar to the one that Terry used 35 years ago as well as in a small bottle and places that is placed in the holder to be carried to the school.

Interviewer: And do you remember that day, what the weather was like and what you were thinking that day?

Reverend Bill Strong: It was just kind of a bit of an adventure, you know, like, it was a very pure time, as I recall. You can't you can't make this stuff up, as it were, you know. We all strive to be a little larger than we are. We strive to be more than who we are and Terry was able to certainly realize that and he was a great lesson indetermination and purpose.

Reverend Bill Strong begins the relay precession to St. Francis of Assisi School from Outer Cove Beach. He carries the bottle of Atlantic Ocean water with him.

[music fades in]

[Young girl holding sign that reads, "Terry we will always remember and love you. We are Terry Fox."]

Interviewer: What do you think of Terry Fox? Young Girl: Well, I think he helped the people with Cancer by running halfway across the world to support Cancer.

Relay continues. Individuals of all ages are participating and running, walking, and dancing to pass the water to the next person who will carry it along the route.


Participant 1: Thank you. Alright, let’s go to the next one.

[cheers and applause]

Participant 2: Hi.

Interviewer: Hi. [laugher]

Participant 3: This is my dance! [laughter]

Interviewer: is it fun to be a part of the Terry Fox Run? Participant 4: Yes. Interviewer: Yeah? How did it feel? Participant 4: Exciting. [laughter]

[Members of the Fox family welcome and shake hands with the relay participants as they cross the finish line and enter the St. Francis of Assisi School gymnasium. All participants and members of the Fox family stand together for a group photo.]

Heather Strong, Provincial Director of the Terry Fox Foundation: There were 35 participants. They were all in t-shirts that represented 35 years that the Terry Fox Run has happened so each shirt had a different design on it and the idea being that we're 35 years out, we continue to pass that water, we continue to celebrate that legacy, and also eventually we want to get that water to the Pacific, we want to get those treatments to bedside so that we can cure cancer.

A large audience has gathered in the school to welcome participants and celebrate Terry Fox.

Bill Brake, Field Unit Superintendent, Newfoundland East, Parks Canada: When you hear people talk about a Canadian hero, well, he embodies that and as I said, as a person of National Historic Significance, he is always going to be treated as such, and commemorated as such, through Parks Canada.

Kevin Parsons, MHA, Cape St. Francis, NL: This week the provincial government announced that the second Sunday after Labor Day weekend will be proclaimed as Terry Fox Day. [applause]

John Kennedy, Mayor of Town of Logy Bay- Middle Cove-Outer Cove: Once we got to the school, I thought it was really cool part of it, they combined the water with everything across the country. I mean, that just set it right off.

Reverend Bill Strong and St. Francis of Assisi student Liam Bridger stand together and pour water that was collected in Parks Canada places across the country into the jug of Atlanic Ocean water collected at Outer Cove Beach. This is presented to Terry Fox's father, Rolly, as a symbol of Terry Fox's lasting importance to all Canadians.

Bill Brake: That water was poured into that water that came from the Atlantic Ocean to give the Fox family something that really connects all Canada together as Terry wanted to do in his original journey.

Members of the Fox Family unveil a new commorateive panel in honour of Terry Fox and his connection to the Town of Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove.

Heather Strong: It was beautiful event. You know, anytime Parks Canada's involved it's going to be great event. And, they're in the business making memories and essentially most of today's generation weren't alive when Terry ran and so this is their opportunity to be a part of that Marathon of Hope and then to share this experience with the next generation.

Liam Bridger, Student, St. Francis of Assisi School: What I hope for in the future is that people continue fulfilling Terry's dream and that someday with the donations to the Terry Fox Foundation they'll find a cure for cancer. Thank you.

Darrel Fox: The first words he wrote in his journal were is "this is where it all begins" and today was that day.

Bill Brake: We appreciate the fact that so many people came out and wanted to be a part of this. I think there are more stories to be told in relation to Terry Fox and Fox and Parks Canada will certainly be a part of telling that story in the future.

Parks Canada logo.

In partnership with the Terry Fox Foundation and the Town of Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove. "Never Give Up on a Dream" (Rod Stewart, Bernie Taupin, Jim Cregan, courtesy of Rod Stewart via The Terry Fox Foundation

With speical thanks to the Canadian Coast Guard, Metrobus, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, Staff and Students of St. Francis of Assisi School

Water used in this event came from the following Parks Canada places: Fort George National Historic Site, Fort Maulden National Historic Site, Lake Superior Marine Conservation Area, Point Pelee National Park, Sirmilik National Park, and Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve, and Haida Heritage Site,

National Conservation Plan wordmark

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by Parks Canada, 2010.

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