Œuvre d'art public

Rick Hansen

Blake Williams, Rick Hansen Mural, 1997
Blake Williams, Rick Hansen Mural, 1997
Blake Williams, Rick Hansen Mural, 1997
General Motors Place, 800 Griffiths Way, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Alternate title: 
Rick Hansen – Man in Motion Tour
Artwork creator(s): 
Williams, Blake; Koochin, Bill
Text author(s): 
Hansen, Rick; Reid, Amanda; Tait, Cam
Koochin, Bill (sculpture)
Installation year: 
Remarks on location: 

Centre-ville, coin sud de l’arena, sur le boulevard Pacific; au pied des marches

Text of the artwork: 

Rick Hansen


If I had the chance right now to erase all of it,

to start over again hitchhiking home

from a fishing trip with Don in the back

of that pick up truck and not have the

accident happen. If I could just pick up

my life at that point as opposed to living

the life I’ve lived since. I wouldn’t take it.


For the next months I lay in a

Stryker frame bolted tightly between

two hard narrow bed pads which rotated

in the middle of a large, metal framework

I was unable to move. For the first time

in my life I was alone and absolutely

helpless...One night I lay sweating...

my head pounding...my back on fire with

pain. I wanted everything to be over. At

that moment my life seemed worthless.


two more skids...tipping

bouncing...I’m gone...

black...awake...I’m alive

somethings wrong

no...can’t ...pain....I can’t move

my legs


At the age of 15 I was athlete of the year


at my High School. It was June 27 1973.

My friend and I were hitchhiking back

from fishing when we caught a ride with

a guy in a pick up.


a man came alongside me in a red

convertible. “ I hear you were a good

athlete. Why not get back in a little

competition?” He had his own wheelchair

in the back seat....Stan Stronge, a

pioneer in wheelchair sports, recipient of

the Order of Canada, a friend who changed

my life by being there for me, he helped

me realize the value of helping others.


Then in 1980 Terry Fox came striding along

on a prosthetic leg with his Marathon of

Hope. I watched how people responded

to him and later after his death, how they

continued to honor his spirit. They

acknowledged how much good can come

from one young man and a dream. In a world

in which people with disabilities felt

invisible Terry Fox made people see the

invisible. I decided Terry’s theme to

raise awareness would be the focus of

my wheelchair journey around the world.


When I come back and it’s all over

I want to be able to wake up ...see

a picture of me in the wheelchair,

sitting on the Great Wall of China.


Amanda is the reason I am

on the road, she has taken

the challenge.


tremendous reception everywhere

between Split and Dubrovnik, the

best in any country to date....

climbing a steep hill I was followed

until dark by about a hundred

young children.


People don’t understand what the tour

is about yet, even most of us who were

on it. Rick was off in right field with his

reality which was the pursuit and the

the preservation of his dream. We were in left

field with our own reality, the day to day grind

working in the outside world to make it as

easy as possible for him to do that and

somehow we all had to get together in the


Amanda Reid


to see the little kids in their

chairs with the fire in their

eyes ... it touched all of us


incredible things were starting to happen


the tour was opening doors

it was my job to get through

them and have the issues



against advice the decision is made

to wheel through the Canadian Winter


beyond expectations...10,000 people

...100,000 ...I’m thinking of Terry...

donations build...media attention

...are we increasing awareness?


back in the US ...nothing much

had changed...fundraising dismal

...I had to find my own personal

victories in order to carry on. So I

looked for a smile from a passerby

searched for a wheeling stroke that

felt good


eastern US...devastating failure

perhaps low point of the tour


we’d crossed one of the biggest, most powerful and

wealthy countries in the world and put only $6,000 in the



the wind in my face...thick snow...near white out...12 hours ...50 miles


stories of a big reception, brass band

thousands of people...fifteen people

national anthem on a cassette.

We started the tour before we were ready, things weren’t

happening and we were paying for it. I was sniping at everyone

I also knew that I had to uncover the source of my feelings.

If I didn’t my anger was going to drive everyone

away. I came to recognize that the driving force behind my

reactions was fear, frustration and the overwhelming

sense of responsibility.


Don’t look down at the road...just

wheel one session at a time, three

hours and 23 miles every session,

three sessions every day. Don’t think

about 24,901.55 miles...think about



Siskyou Summit, Oregon



push...two miles...push

push...push...tow  more





second day, completely overwhelmed

by doubt and uncertainty, had developed

tendonitis in my wrists, elbows and shoulders

the result of 70 miles of wheeling into 60

mile per hour headwinds with the temperature

resting around freezing.


when your dream and reality

actually meet...thousands cheering, leaning out of

windows...smell of the dream...horns

and sirens blasting, sensory overload...

the final turn...cut the ribbon...home


until one is committed there is uncertainty

for the crew, long, tiring days

with little relief


power words


I view this tour like trying to push a boulder

up a steep hill. Lately alot of people have

tried to take me from behind that boulder

and set me on top of it, make something

special out of me. please put me

back behind the boulder, and let me try to

push it a little bit further.


Halfway...12,450.775 miles...no

longer going away from home...we’re

going home...one year on the road.

.....1,086 postcards...63 flat tires

47 pairs worn out gloves...300 rolls

of tape...4 robberies...1 worn out

wheelchair...59 official receptions

...7,180,800 wheelchair strokes


we reached all levels

of society...we were treated

with respect and dignity


Heroes welcome

China promised a glimpse of

the dream coming true


The wind is relentless, fine

eye burning dust


Listen, Ive had parents come and

snatch their children away from in front of me

because my voice is strange and

my arms wave around a lot. I’ve had

other children laugh at me. That’s not an

easy thing to accept. Rick has changed that

in Newfoundland. I saw parents running

down the highway with their children, trying

to get a handshake or autograph.

And the kids? They love him. You think

that isn’t going to make a difference.

Cam Tait

Text theme: 
Surmonter une déficience physique
Artwork theme: 

Le trajet pancanadien de Rick Hansen en fauteuil roulant, la tournée "Man in Motion"; capacité de chacun/e à surmonter les défis et les épreuves grâce à sa persévérance et à sa confiance en soi.


Cette murale a été commandée par Orca Bay Sports. Elle commémore le 10e anniversaire de la tournée «Man in Motion» de Rick Hansen dont le but était d’éveiller la conscience et de ramasser des fonds pour la recherche sur les blessures à la colonne vertébrale.



Public Art : Rick Hansen

Williams, Blake (2009).  Public Art : Rick Hansen. <http://www.blakewilliams.ca/Public_art.html> : Blake Williams webpage