GATINEAU, QC, May 22, 2017 /CNW/ - The Canadian Museum of History is pleased to announce that Rick Hansen is donating a memento from his Man In Motion World Tour to the Canadian History Hall. Thirty years ago today, Hansen, a Paralympic athlete and disability advocate, completed an incredible 26-month, 40,000-kilometer journey. His aim was to change perceptions about people with disabilities, and to raise funds to build accessible communities and research a cure for paralysis after spinal-cord injury.
Hansen is gifting one of his well-used gloves from the Tour to the Museum. The glove will be displayed in the new Canadian History Hall alongside an image from the Tour visit to the Great Wall of China, in April 1986. Covering roughly 4,000 square metres (40,000 square feet), the Hall traces Canada's history from the dawn of human habitation to the present day. Opening on July 1, as Canadians celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation, it will be the largest and most comprehensive exhibition on Canadian history ever developed.
"The Canadian Museum of History is grateful to Rick Hansen for donating such a historically symbolic artifact," said Mark O'Neill, President and CEO of the Museum. "The glove, with its obvious signs of wear, tells the story of Mr. Hansen's passion and determination to make our country — and the world — a more accessible and inclusive place for everyone. More than that, it represents the admirable perseverance of so many individuals throughout Canadian history who have dedicated themselves to causes they care about."
"I am incredibly honoured that the Museum of History is incorporating one of my gloves from the Man In Motion World Tour as an addition to the Canadian History Hall," said Rick Hansen, founder and CEO of the Rick Hansen Foundation. "For me, this glove represents the immense effort by many to achieve a seemingly impossible dream. The glove looks battered for a reason. It was part of a journey that took 15 million strokes of the wheel over the course of two years, two months, two days and countless hours of support from an amazing team. This glove symbolizes the continuing journey to find a cure for spinal cord injury and making the world more accessible and inclusive for people with disabilities. Today is the 30th Anniversary of the completion of the Man In Motion World Tour, and I am very pleased to be celebrating it with such esteemed company at the Canadian Museum of History, and to be contributing to the long line of Canadians who have worked hard for change to make this a better country for all."
Hansen was a promising young athlete when he lost the use of his legs in a motor-vehicle accident at the age of 15. His love of sports endured, and he became the first person with a physical disability to graduate with a degree in physical education from the University of British Columbia. He won multiple medals for wheelchair racing at the 1980 and 1984 Paralympic Games, the Pan American Games, world championships, and at other competitions. He was the first person to break the two-hour time in wheelchair marathons.
Inspired by Terry Fox's cross-Canada Marathon of Hope for cancer research, Hansen began his Man In Motion World Tour on March 21, 1985. He completed the equivalent of two marathons every wheeling day, travelling through 34 countries on four continents in his wheelchair, and arrived back in Vancouver on May 22, 1987. Along the way, the Tour raised $26 million and became a catalyst for enormous change in the way people with disabilities were perceived. The donated glove is one of several Hansen wore to protect his hands while averaging 30,000 wheelchair strokes per day on his Man In Motion Tour.
Located on the shores of the Ottawa River in Gatineau, Quebec, the Canadian Museum of History attracts over 1.2 million visitors each year. The Museum's principal role is to enhance Canadians' knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the events, experiences, people and objects that have shaped Canada's history and identity, as well as to enhance Canadians' awareness of world history and culture. Work of the Canadian Museum of History is made possible in part through financial support of the Government of Canada.
SOURCE Canadian Museum of History
For further information: Media contacts: Stéphanie Verner, Media Relations Officer, Telephone: 819-776-7169, [email protected]; Jollean Willington, Publicist, Executive Office, Rick Hansen Foundation, Telephone: 778-296-1562, Cell.: 778-229-7532, [email protected]; Éliane Laberge, Social Media and Media Relations Officer, Telephone: 819-776-7097, [email protected]