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Terry Fox’s hometown hopes to make Canadian icon the face of the $5 bill

Local campaign grows to put Terry Fox on $5 bill
The Bank of Canada is accepting nominations for who to put on the new $5 bill, and a campaign has begun to make it B.C. hero Terry Fox.

Would you like to see Terry Fox on the Canadian $5 bill?

Supporters, including Fox’s hometown city Port Coquitlam, B.C., are mounting a campaign to have the Marathon of Hope runner be the next face of the “fin,” as the Bank of Canada prepares to redesign the banknote. Fox was born in Winnipeg but grew up in Port Coquitlam.

Fox, a cancer patient and amputee, became a national icon with his 1980 attempt to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research.

READ MORE: ‘Truly banknote-able’: Canadians to choose a new face for the $5 bill

The 22-year-old made it more than 5,300 kilometres and six provinces, from St. John’s, N.L., to Thunder Bay, Ont., before cancer spread to his lungs and forced him to cut the run short. Ten months later, the disease took his life.

Since then, his legacy has grown to include Terry Fox Runs around the world, raising millions of dollars to fight cancer.

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Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West says it makes him the ideal face for the $5 bill, as the Bank of Canada opens nominations for the currency refresh.

‘The Morning Show’ hosts question which Canadian should be on the $5 bill
‘The Morning Show’ hosts question which Canadian should be on the $5 bill

“Terry has just an amazing legacy, not only here in his hometown of Port Coquitlam, not only in British Columbia, not only in Canada, but around the world,” says West.

“He has inspired, and he continues to inspire, millions of people.”

The city has gone so far as to include a link on its home page directing people to the Bank of Canada’s nomination page in an effort to put Fox on the bill.

The public can nominate anyone to be on the next version of the $5 bill, so long as they are a Canadian citizen, have been dead for 25 years or more, and are not a fictional character.

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Could Terry Fox be the next face of Canada’s five-dollar bill?
Could Terry Fox be the next face of Canada’s five-dollar bill?

Nominations close on March 11, after which they will be reviewed by an independent advisory council which will make a short list. Finance Minister Bill Morneau will make the final decision.

You can see a list of Canadians who’ve already been nominated here.

West said the bank has been clear that public support will be one of the key drivers in its decision on who to feature, so the city is encouraging people to get involved.

“He really embodies all the values that all of us, no matter where we live, hold dear to our heart, so I think that Terry would be a great unifying national choice for our country,” said West.

“Terry was a normal guy, and he came from a very normal family in Port Coquitlam, and it was inspiring as a little guy in PoCo to hear that story.

“To have that recognized nationally in a way that would be enduring, and would be interacting regularly with, every time we picked up a $5 bill, is really hard to describe.”

Marathon of Hope organizer recounts his time with Canadian legend Terry Fox
Marathon of Hope organizer recounts his time with Canadian legend Terry Fox

West said he’s also written to Morneau and Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz to express the city’s formal support.

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Poloz announced plans to replace former prime minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier as the face of the five in January.

The refresh comes after the bank replaced Sir John A Macdonald on the $10 bill in 2018 with civil rights activist Viola Desmond.

That bill is the first to feature a solo Canadian woman on it and was later named banknote of the year by the International Bank Note Society.