WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government plans to rename the August Civic Holiday in honour of national hero Terry Fox.
If all goes according to plan, the province will celebrate Terry Fox Day starting next year.
Premier Greg Selinger said the idea came from a grassroots movement that started on social media last week.
“We heard about it out in the community,” he said. “It just seemed like a really good idea, with a lot of citizen interest in it, so we wanted to be supportive of that. It’s a real pat on the back to Manitobans for showing their interest in this.”
A bill to rename the holiday after the Winnipeg-born icon will be introduced in the upcoming fall session.
Fox died in 1981 at age 22 while attempting to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research.
Selinger said Manitobans can honour Fox this long weekend by committing to improve the lives of others.
“That’s what Terry was all about when he did his run, to raise money for research,” he said. “The research over the years has made a big difference, cancer treatments are more effective now.”
The proximity of Fox’s birthday to the holiday also makes it a perfect fit, Selinger said.
“His birthday is on July 28 — that’s very close to the Civic Holiday — so it is just a way for us to think of his contribution as we are enjoying time with our family on the long weekend,” he said.
Meanwhile, the B.C. government has been working on how to further honour Fox whose family moved to Port Coquitlam, B.C., in 1968, an e-mail from Premier Christy Clark's office Wednesday stated.
"British Columbia has already proclaimed Sept. 14, 2014, Terry Fox Day, to coincide with Terry Fox runs taking place across the province," press secretary Sam Oliphant said.
"A number of MLAs are also continuing this work to identify further ways British Columbia can honour Terry Fox going forward."
The proclamation -- bearing the signatures of Justice Minister Suzanne Anton and Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon -- was made official July 22, "but the process of starting it goes back much further than that," Oliphant said.
"Now know ye that we do by these presents proclaim and declare that Sept. 14, 2014, shall be known as 'Terry Fox Day,'" the proclamation reads.
-- With files by Michael Mui