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Man in Motion statue gets a new place in the sun

April 9, 2015

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A large statue of wheelchair athlete Rick Hansen has found a new and better home on the grounds of the Vancouver General Hospital.

After a year and then some spent behind barricades in a parking lot on the west side of the Blusson Spinal Cord Centre,  the statue has been relocated to the green space of the 700 block of West 10th Avenue, on the east side of the Blusson Spinal Cord Centre, in front of the Heather Annex Pavilion.

A posting on the ICORD Facebook account explains that the statue of Hansen was relocated on Tuesday, April 7 by 7:30 a.m.

Nice to see your back Mr. Hansen

When I first saw the statue in February of 2014, it was sitting in the Blusson Centre’s parking lot. It had been displaced from its original home of 17-years in downtown Vancouver on the grounds of Rogers Arena, in order to make way for condo development by the arena’s owner, real estate developer Francesco Aquilini.

Just another long-time Vancouver resident kicked to the curb by rampant condo development (cue violins).

The larger-than-life granite statue of Rick Hansen was created by sculptor William (Bill) Koochin, who sought to capture the man as he looked during the 8 hours and 50 to 70 km he wheeled each day of his legendary two year Man in Motion World Tour (1985-1987).

Beginning in 1997 (the 10th anniversary of the tour), the statue was located at 800 Griffiths Way, outside of GM Place (now Rogers Arena).

To help people better understand the significance of the statue, it was accompanied by a large ceramic wall mural created by Blake Williams and made up of photographs from Hansen’s 792-day fundraising journey around the world to raise money and awareness for spinal cord injury research.

How I will always remember Rick Hansen

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The new placement of the statue could be ideal. It is set well back from the sidewalk, currently at the end of a temporary path of steel plates, over which the statue was moved.

Quite possibly the plan is to have the statue sit on a dais of concrete embedded in and surrounded by the field of grass but I would so much prefer that the current strip covered by steel plates becomes a permanent broad paved path leading straight to the statue. For me, this would complete the statue by evoking the man wheeling towards the viewer along a stretch of highway — which was the simple yet grueling task Hansen so memorably undertook on the Man in Motion World Tour, day-after-day, for tens of thousands of kilometres. Click the images to enlarge them.

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Look! Here comes the Man in Motion!

From → Art, Fairview, People

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