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Night view showing the line of vision through the entire sculpture.

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Illustration revealing the passing of sunlight through the gates on September 1st, the day Terry had to end the run.

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The structure dips below grade to allow comfortable seating, places to hang out.

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All images developed by the artist and Alissa North for NorthDesign Office.

Today it all begins

Today it all begins is a proposal for a public artwork designed to inspire vision, reflection, and compassion for taking on life’s challenges by celebrating the achievement of Canadian sportsman Terry Fox as a shining example. The sculpture consists of text panels that form a series of gates and a weaving, bordering wall. One side of the wall is made of reclaimed wood, the other is of mirror-polished, stainless steel.

The panels tell the story of Terry’s inspiration to help others through the conception of the Marathon of Hope. He ran 143 days and covered a total of 3,339 miles (5,373 km), or, as Terry preferred to say, almost 2/3rds the way across Canada, with the hope of raising awareness and money for cancer research. The wall’s silhouette evokes the landscape of Canada, it rises up toward the sky and dips to the ground and represents the ups and downs of the elements of chance that tested his faith and purpose of vision.

Etched into the surface of the stainless steel panels are Terry’s texts from journals and public statements. While reading the wall text, one is faced with their own reflection in the polished steel. The abstract quality of the wall and the grassy terrain allows visitors to envision a glimpse of a vast landscape through Terry’s own words. The gates in the wall represent Fox’s vision and sense of direction and are oriented towards the rising sun on September 1st, the day Terry had to end the run. The alignment with the sun every year lasts for the entire month of September, the usual month of the annual Terry Fox runs in Canada. The wall forms a landscape with little vistas, places to sit and hang out alone or with friends. The terrain is gentle and challenging enough for people of all abilities. There are many ways to explore and navigate it. This allows a comparison of one’s own engagement here to Terry’s way. The wall is an imaginative space for reflection while also representing the series of challenges he faced.