Sunday, August 18, 2013

Terry Fox Monument (1984)

In 1984, the provincial government held a design competition to memorialize cancer-research fundraiser and athlete Terry Fox, who died shortly after abandoning his cross-country run at Thunder Bay, Ontario in 1981. The winning proposal was by Franklin Allen, who gave us not a bronze statue of the man but an informational arch through which that man effectively "completed" his run. A nice idea, one that was hailed by local architects Arthur Erickson and Abraham Rogatnick, but loathed by the general public.

While the Terry Fox Monument (1984) was eventually replaced by bronze representations of the man and his motions, no one I have spoken to seems to know what became of Allen's commission. Which is a shame, because Allen's structure, like Fox's achievement, generated a great many conversations, and I think we need to hang onto that which generates conversation, particular when, as architect Trevor Boddy has argued, the Terry Fox Monument is also the first instance of postmodern architecture in Vancouver.

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