Marathon of Hope Van on Display in Kitchener Waterloo

Doug Alward, Terry Fox, and Darrell Fox in front of the Marathon of Hope van.
Doug Alward, Terry Fox, and Darrell Fox in front of the Marathon of Hope van.

Drayton Entertainment is proud to announce that the iconic Ford E250 Econoline van that travelled with Terry Fox during his Marathon of Hope will be on display to the public at two locations this summer to help celebrate the award-winning theatre company’s world-premiere production of Marathon of Hope: The Musical this fall.

The van, owned by the Fox Family and normally housed at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec, is on display to the public, free of charge, at Bustard Chrysler in Waterloo from now to July 31 (Mon to Thurs, 9:00 am to 8:00 pm and Fri to Sat 9:00 am to 5:00 pm).  It will then be displayed at Heffner Lexus Toyota in Kitchener from August 1 to September 11 (Mon to Thurs, 9:00 am to 9:00 pm, Fri 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, and Sat 9:00 am to 5:00 pm).

The display is made possible by The Terry Fox Centre and the exhibition Terry Fox – Running to the Heart of Canada.

“This beige van is more than just a vehicle; it’s a piece of Canadian history,” says Alex Mustakas, Artistic Director of Drayton Entertainment.

The vehicle was loaned to the Marathon of Hope by Ford Canada in 1980 and customized by Funcraft. Marked with Terry Fox’s name and the purpose of his journey, the van also had tinted glass windows – an unusual feature for a van in the 1980s, but an important one for the van’s purpose. It served as home base for Terry, his best friend, Doug Alward, his brother, Darrell, and his promotions manager Bill Vigars, during Fox’s journey across Canada.

The van became a familiar sight to Canadians who followed the Marathon of Hope, which began in April 1980, when Terry Fox dipped his foot into the Atlantic Ocean in St. John’s, NL. He travelled for 143 days and ran 5,400 kilometres when, on Sept. 1, 1980, he was forced to stop because his bone cancer had spread to his lungs.

After being used for Terry’s Marathon of Hope, the van was given back to Ford (which had originally loaned it), and was sold. It served as a camping van for one family and it also acted as a tour van for a Vancouver-based band.

Darrell Fox asked Doug Coupland to look out for it after the renowned author published his tribute book to Terry in 2005.

After nearly three decades, the E250 Econoline was in fairly good shape – the van did not have a scratch on it and the owner had not tampered with any of the original fittings. The Terry Fox Family bought the van back in 2007 and had it painstakingly restored.

Marathon of Hope: The Musical is on stage at St. Jacobs Country Playhouse from October 5 to October 30.  This landmark event in Canadian theatre examines and celebrates the tenacity of the human spirit with unflinching honesty, grit, and grace as it chronicles Terry’s unprecedented cross-Canada marathon.

For more information about the iconic Terry Fox van and Marathon of Hope: The Musical, visit www.marathonofhopethemusical.com.

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