An inclusive society without barriers

Man In Motion to Inspire Many in Motion with Rick Hansen 25th Anniversary Relay

Published: February 01 2011

Presented by McDonald’s Canada, cross-Canada Relay begins August 24, 2011 in Cape Spear, NL

Toronto, ON - Twenty-five years to the date of his Man In Motion World Tour commencing its historic cross-Canada journey back to British Columbia, Canadian hero Rick Hansen will continue his dream of making the country more accessible and inclusive with the announcement today of the Rick Hansen 25th Anniversary Relay.

“Twenty-five years ago I set my dream in motion; one that took me through 34 countries and across 40,000 kilometres as we raised awareness of the potential of people with disabilities,” said Rick Hansen, President and CEO of the Rick Hansen Foundation. “The 25thAnniversary Relay will be an exciting opportunity for Canadians to join the journey, to keep moving forward and to create a new dream. And to have the support of a partner such as McDonald’s – who were there from the beginning, and who will be with our team again as we travel across the country – makes this all the more exciting.”

The Relay will mark the beginning of the third and final phase of the two-year 25th Anniversary of the Rick Hansen Man In Motion World Tour. Since March 2010, the 25thAnniversary has served as an occasion to celebrate progress, foster international collaboration and recognize difference makers in the areas of accessibility and spinal cord injury advancements.

A project of this scope and scale could not be possible without tremendous support of major sponsors and corporations. As one of the presenting partners of the 25th Anniversary, McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada will also play an operational role during the Relay – with the Relay passing through or stopping at McDonald’s restaurants across Canada as it makes its way to Vancouver, BC.

“We’re immensely proud of our long-standing relationship with Rick and the Rick Hansen Foundation, dating back to the original Man In Motion World Tour in 1987 – where McDonald’s customers raised $1.5 million from coast-to-coast – to this next chapter of their incredible journey,” said John Betts, President and CEO of McDonald’s Canada. “Making a difference in the communities we serve is part of our core values at McDonald’s and we’re thrilled to be a part of the 25th Anniversary Relay, which will give Canadians an opportunity to come together in celebration right across the country.”

Focusing on engaging Canadians to take up the challenge and become vessels for positive change, the Relay will feature participants who will run, walk, wheel, bike and complete their segments through a variety of forms of movement for all abilities. In every province, Relay participants will pass the singular Rick Hansen Medal – produced by the Royal Canadian Mint – to each other as the Relay makes its way across the country. While Rick will be present at a number of cities and stops along the 25thAnniversary Relay, it will be these 7,000 participants who will complete this cross-Canada tour.

Chosen via a public contest that will launch in the spring of 2011, participants will represent a wide spectrum of examples of making a difference. Examples will include those whose efforts have removed barriers and contributed to making their community more accessible and inclusive, those who have overcome adversity, those who are promising youth leaders, those who live by the credo that anything is possible, those who are committed to making a difference in the lives of others and those who mirror the values of determination, courage, integrity, inspiration and teamwork.

“These difference makers’ remarkable stories will not only showcase the positive impact these individuals have had in their communities, but will remind us that we can all become champions of change,” Hansen said. “Working together, we can recognize and inspire a new generation of difference makers to never give up on their dreams and realize that with courage and determination, anything is possible.”

The Rick Hansen 25th Anniversary Relay will travel through more than 600 communities as it makes its nine-month, 12,000-kilometre journey across Canada before concluding in Vancouver on May 22, 2012. Each Relay day will conclude with an End of Day Celebration, which will provide the opportunity for communities to come together, recognize local difference makers, raise awareness about accessibility and inspire a new generation to take action.

The average Relay distance covered in a day will range from 40 to 80 kilometres. In populated areas, participants will carry the Rick Hansen Medal using a variety of modes of movement, with each participant covering an average distance of 250 metres. In less populated areas, and to cover longer distances between communities, the Rick Hansen Medal will be carried by a participant in “Endurance Mode.” Finally, in an effort to showcase Canada’s innovation in transportation, accessibility and sustainability, extraordinary transportation modes will be utilized – ranging from hand-cycle, snowmobile adaptive rowing and a variety of other forms.

25thAnniversary Relay Fast Facts:

  • Begins on August 24, 2011 in Cape Spear, Newfoundland and Labrador and concludes in Vancouver, British Columbia on May 22, 2012.
  • Fully recreates the original Man In Motion cross-Canada tour, spanning 12,000 kilometres from coast to coast.
  • Will travel through over 600 communities, visit every capital city and all provinces and territories and reach more than 70% of the Canadian population.
  • Will engage approximately 7,000 participants – difference makers in their own right – who will collectively cover an average of 40 to 80 kilometres a day, making their way across the country passing a singular Rick Hansen Medal to the next participant.
  • All Canadians (13 years and up) will be able to apply to become a participant through an online contest to be launched in spring 2011.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Rick Hansen and Richard Ellis (Senior Vice President, Communications & Public Affairs, McDonald's Canada) will be available via a moderated conference call from 1:30pm-2:00pm EST on Tuesday, February 1, 2011. Call in details: toll-free conference number: 1-866-696-5910 Participant pass code: 8780202. Media assets will be available on rickhansen.com

About the Rick Hansen Foundation:
The Rick Hansen Foundation is a registered charitable organization that provides leadership to create more accessible and inclusive communities for people with a spinal cord injury, and supports the search for a cure. The Foundation achieves its goals by connecting the people and resources that make innovation possible. Please visit www.rickhansen.com for more information.

About the Rick Hansen Foundation’s 25thAnniversary:
The Rick Hansen Foundation is currently celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Rick Hansen’s Man In Motion World Tour, and the extraordinary progress that has been made in the fields of accessibility and spinal cord injury advancement since. Over the two-year anniversary period (March 21, 2010 – May 22, 2012) a number of programs and events are planned to inspire others to dream big, recognize difference makers, create lasting and sustainable legacies and change the world, one good turn at a time.

About McDonald’s Canada:
McDonald’s is the leading foodservice company in the world. McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada Limited and its Canadian franchisees own and operate more than 1,400 restaurants and employ more than 77,000 Canadians coast to coast. Approximately 75 per cent of McDonald’s Canadian restaurants are locally owned and operated by independent entrepreneurs. For more information about McDonald’s Canada, visit the company’s web site at www.mcdonalds.ca.

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For More Information:

John Gibson (in Toronto)
Rick Hansen Foundation Communications
Mobile: 604-644-0811
Email: jgibson@rickhansen.com

Robin Russell (in Vancouver)
Rick Hansen Foundation Communications
Mobile: 604-644-2785
Email: rrussell@rickhansen.com

McDonald’s Canada

Media Relations Line
1-877-786-3342