Home Sweet Home
Excitement and anticipation is building for the team’s return to Canada, after over 17 months and 33 counties. Under sunny skies in Cape Spear, Newfoundland, Rick and the team begin their long journey home. Over the hilly roads of Newfoundland, people pour out of their homes to donate coins and bills. They cheer him on with waves, and blueberry muffins, and Atlantic salmon. A tidal wave of support is growing – and corporate Canada notices
In less than two days, the people of Newfoundland had donated over $97,000. This incredible support continued throughout Rick’s journey through the Maritimes.
It was in Petitcodiac, New Brunswick that news of Rick and Amanda’s quiet engagement slipped out, setting off a media storm of interest: a new Canadian love story was born.
Friday October 23, Rick wheels across the bridge from Hull, Quebec into Ottawa, Ontario, and onto Parliament Hill. There, with much media fanfare, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney drops a $1million cheque into a bucket held by Rick. National newspapers report: ‘The $1 million Drop in the Bucket’. The cheque represented needed funds, and the government’s commitment to the Tour and what it stood for.
The Tour rolls on through Ontario and St Elmo’s Fire is playing on the airwaves. A final private highlight for Rick before leaving Ontario is an emotional stop near Thunder Bay, the place where his friend Terry Fox had ended his Marathon of Hope.
Through the cold winter months, Rick wheels across the frigid Prairies, Canadians lining the snowy highways to cheer him on. Alberta Premier Don Getty promises that his government would match all donations made to the Tour in the province – that match ended up being $2.45 million.
Homecoming – British Columbia
March 19, 1987, the Man In Motion World Tour crossed into B.C. They are almost home.
A scant 2,000 miles stand between Rick and the team, and the finish line in Vancouver. Crossing the border at Valemont into B.C., hundreds of friends and family are on hand to greet Rick after a long two years. Premier Vander Zalm is on hand for the official welcome – and a pledge to match British Columbians’ donations – dollar for dollar. This pledge raises over $5.45 million for the legacy fund.
A sea of yellow ribbons and balloons meet the team on April 2, 1987 as they wheel into Williams Lake - a hometown welcome for both Rick and Don Alder. After a day of rest, the Tour continues through Glacier National Park, over the daunting Rogers Pass and finally on to Vancouver.
May 22, 1987, Rick and the entire MIMWT team cross the Port Mann Bridge into Vancouver. Thousands of people gather to greet Rick, lining suburban streets all the way to their final stop, the place they’d decided on over two years prior: Oakridge. An overwhelming experience, the team can barely believe what they had been able to do.
The next day, over 50,000 people gather at BC Place Stadium for a huge celebration. Rick recalls this moment: “It was a warm and wonderful celebration – a meaningful recognition of and commitment to, people with disabilities in our province and our country”.