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Métis family heritage of Port Coquitlam hero Terry Fox enshrined permanently at BC Place

The provincial governing body for the First Nation presented a plaque alongside Terry's brother Darrell and other dignitaries.

Terry Fox's background is set to be read and understood by all, roughly six months after his family's ancestral discovery was unveiled for the first time in the Tri-Cities.

On Thursday (April 14), an addition to the Port Coquitlam hero's legacy was revealed in the form of a plaque detailing his Métis heritage that will permanently stay outside BC Place.

It was commissioned by the Fox family and Métis Nation BC (MNBC) and was acknowledged by Terry's younger brother, Darrell.

The hope is that those who come across it — local and regional residents, sports fans and other visitors to the Vancouver stadium — can learn more about how Terry's values align with the Métis people and how they inspired the 1980 Marathon of Hope.

"Creating a permanent display that celebrates this will provide an important educational tool for the public," explains MNBC president Lissa Dawn Smith in a release to the Tri-City News.

"The Fox family has embraced their Métis identity and helped to shine a light on the rich culture our people hold."

About 90,000 residents in B.C. identify as having a Métis background.

Terry's Indigenous lineage traces back to their great-great-great-great grandmother on his mother Betty's side: Madeline Marguerite Ross, born in 1775 in St. Francois Xavier, Man.

Inscribed in both English and French, the plaque will be installed next to his statue at the steps to BC Place's main public entrance off Beatty Street.

Fox is often called a true champion of sport not only for his crusade to raise money for cancer more than four decades ago, but he remains an inspiration to all athletes of all cultures to strive to perform at their best.

"This plaque is a symbol that shines a bright light on the strength, resilience, contributions and accomplishments of all Indigenous people through the power of sport," adds Melanie Mark, B.C.'s minister of tourism, arts, culture and sport.

"Terry Fox is our hero with a rich cultural legacy. As a proud member of the Métis community, he relentlessly pushed past the boundaries of what was possible, and inspired the world with his courage and hope. I know this plaque will, as Terry Fox did, motivate others to walk the walk and to stand proud of who they are."

The latest announcement comes six months after the Fox family brought forward a new pilot program to educate Tri-City students how personal values and identity are linked to culture through Terry's background.

School District 43 (SD43) is part of the collaborating efforts alongside MNBC and Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation Council (I-SPARC).

"Through the Inspiration in Action Lesson Plans, students will explore Terry’s life story through a new lens, examining his family’s discovery of their Métis ancestry – while further exploring what it means to be Métis," the MNBC states.

The project, earmarked for the lesson plans for teachers in grades 4 to 7 across SD43, is set to begin at Glen Elementary, where Fox attended as a child.

In November, Darrell Fox received a ceremonial sash from MNBC during a fundraising announcement by the organization for the Terry Fox Foundation.

The new plaque at BC Place reads as follows:

In honour of Terry Fox's Marathon of Hope, and in the spirit of Indigenous reconciliation, this plaque was erected to celebrate the Fox family's Métis heritage. Terry Fox was posthumously awarded the MNBC Order of the Sash, Métis Nation's highest honour, in recognition of Terry's contribution to the Nation and all people, as a leader in fundraising for cancer research.