Dignitaries gather around Rick Hansen and the monument erected at the Tourism Discovery Centre in honour of his achievements. The monument was unveiled during a public ceremony on March 26.

Dignitaries gather around Rick Hansen and the monument erected at the Tourism Discovery Centre in honour of his achievements. The monument was unveiled during a public ceremony on March 26.

Monument a symbol of what’s possible: Hansen

Under sunny skies the community of Williams Lake gathered Monday for the unveiling of the Rick Hansen monument at the TDC.

Under sunny skies the community of Williams Lake gathered Monday for the unveiling of the Rick Hansen monument at the Tourism Discovery Centre.

Standing 12 feet high, the monument is basically a copper globe supported by four metal pillars, which some observers have said resembles the Olympic torch podium. A thick strand of copper traces the route of the original Man in Motion Tour.

“To have this as a symbol that we’re not done, that we still have such a long way to go. It represents Williams Lake connected to the global community. The world is much smaller today than it was 25 years ago. It’s not about an individual, it’s about all of us that had that original dream that we were pursuing, and how we’re all connected,” Hansen said after the monument was unveiled.

The monument, he added, is a symbol of what’s possible when people work together.

The ceremony began with a traditional welcome and presentation delivered by Esket’emc Chief Fred Robbins and members of his community, followed by speeches from Mayor Kerry Cook, Coun. Surinderpal Rathor and Ross MacLean, general manager of Gibraltar Mine.

Robbins gave Hansen a framed photograph of a pictograph, believed to depict Simon Fraser’s tour of the Fraser River.

“He was one of the first people to come up the Fraser River with a horse and on the pictograph it’s a man with a horse and you can see the horse’s tracks,” Robbins said, adding they call the picture Travels Far Man, and that it seemed appropriate for the Man in Motion to receive a copy.

He also gave Hansen a pair of buckskin gloves, handmade by a young member of the community, who received his instructions from an elder.

“I don’t know about you, but it’s so exciting to be this close to a change maker,” said Cook as she inched her way toward him during her speech. “I felt in my heart yesterday at the celebration as I listened to his words and what he’s accomplished that if I only got close enough that some of that might wear off on me. It really shows the importance of having a dream and never letting go,” Cook said.

Everyone here believes in what Hansen has done and what he stands for, she added.

Coun. Surinderpal Rathor announced that $68,000 in pledges had been collected from community sponsors.

“There was not a single person that said no they couldn’t help when I came asking for donations,” Rathor said. “He (Hansen) has put Williams Lake on the map.”

The list of donors was extensive. A few of the largest donations came from Taseko Mines Limited, $25,000:  Axis Family Resources, $10,000; and Fountain Tire Mining Service $10,000.

Rathor informed the crowd that some white rocks and lighting still need to be added at the monument, which is entirely wheelchair accessible.

“You have made this community wonderful,” he told Hansen.

MacLean said Hansen was a hero, not only in Williams Lake, but all over the province and the country.

“Through your high standards, you have set an example for everybody, an example for everyone to live up to. It’s an honour to be here to represent Gibraltar and Taseko and I think I speak on behalf of all the other contributors that it’s really been a privilege to support this monument and that represents all the values you represent,” he said to Hansen.

As the tarp was removed to uncover the monument there was a loud cheer and applause from the crowd.

“Thank you so much to the city to take time and honour our 25th anniversary in such a special and meaningful way. This city is such an incredible community of people that care and encourage each other and take time to make a difference,” Hansen said.

Williams Lake made a difference in his life and supported the Man in Motion tour, he added.

“In reality, even though we’re celebrating 25 years of progress, we’re also still on the pathway to the ultra marathon of social change. Another 25 years of hard work and determination until our community is 100 per cent inclusive for people with disabilities, until we find a cure for spinal chord injury,” Hansen said.

The monument, he suggested, is a monument to everyone with challenges and reminds them they are not alone.

“Every time I come back home I’ll see this and will be reminded that my best work’s still in front of me and I’ll be encouraged to keep going and never give up on my dreams.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Avalanche Canada has issued a special avalanche warning for the Cariboo Mountains effective through the weekend. (Wes Gregg photo)
Avalanche Canada special avalanche warning includes Cariboos

The warning is in effect through the weekend

The city of Williams Lake has received provincial funding for a proposed boardwalk connecting the RC Cotton Trail to the River Valley Recreational Trail. (City of Williams Lake rough visualization of the proposal)
$550,000 provincial funding announced for Williams Lake boardwalk trail

The boardwalk will connect the new RC Cotton Trail to the river valley

100 Mile RCMP Staff-Sgt. Svend Nielsen. (Patrick Davies photo, 100 Mile Free Press).
100 Mile RCMP investigate theft at airport hangar, 88 other incidents

Incident is one of 89 calls attended by police from Feb. 17 to 23.

Williams Lake city council is interested in acquiring the former Poplar Glade School property on Eleventh Avenue. (Greg Sabatino photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake city council sets sights on two former school properties

School District said there is a five-step process for property disposal

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
‘Stay local’: Dr. Henry shoots down spring break travel for British Columbians

B.C. is reportedly working with other provincial governments to determine March break policies

“Our biggest challenge has been the amount of vaccine,” said FNHA acting chief medical officer Dr. Shannon McDonald. (First Nations Health Authority Facebook photo)
All First Nations on reserve to be vaccinated by end of March: First Nations Health Authority

Vaccinations continuing for B.C. First Nations amid shortages

(Delta Police Department photo)
B.C. youth calls 911 after accruing $7K in online gaming charges

‘Police spoke with the student about appropriate times to call 911’

Site C will go ahead, one year later and $5.3 billion more, the NDP announced Feb 26. (BC Hydro image)
B.C. NDP announces Site C will go ahead with new $16B budget

Reviews recommend more oversight, beefed up foundation stability work

The BC Prosecution Service announced last year that it was appointing lawyer Marilyn Sandford as a special prosecutor to review the case, following media inquiries about disclosure issues linked to a pathologist involved in the matter. (Black Press Media files)
Possible miscarriage of justice in B.C. woman’s conviction in toddler drowning: prosecutor

Tammy Bouvette was originally charged with second-degree murder but pleaded guilty in 2013 to the lesser charge

A kid in elementary school wearing a face mask amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Metro Creative)
Union asks why an elementary school mask rule wouldn’t work in B.C. if it does elsewhere

B.C. education minister announced expansion of mask-wearing rules in middle, high school but not elementary students

A pharmacist prepares a COVID-19 vaccine at Village Green Retirement Campus in Federal Way on Jan. 26. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
Canada approves use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine

The country joins more than a dozen others in giving the shot the green light

Most Read