Should YVR be renamed Terry Fox International

Comments 24 by Rebecca Bollwitt

Toronto has Pearson, Paris has de Gaulle, New York has JFK, and Liverpool has John Lennon while we have Vancouver International Airport or simply, YVR.

terry fox
Photo source: wiki

Over the years many have been tossing around the idea that the three airport code letters “YVR” don’t do our region justice and recently this school of thought has been gaining momentum. It would seem the popular choice for renaming Vancouver International would be after Terry Fox — our local hero who made a big impact on the world.

Terry was born in Manitoba but he grew up in Vancouver before moving to Port Coquitlam. In 1980 Terry Fox set out to cross Canada on foot as a part of his Marathon of Hope to raise funds and awareness for Cancer research. “Terry was only 18 years old when he was diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma (bone cancer) and forced to have his right leg amputated 15 centimetres (six inches) above the knee in 1977.” – [source]

He wanted to bring hope to inspire a nation by going across the country — 8,000 kms from St John’s Newfoundland to Victoria, BC. He dipped his toe in the Atlantic and set out on the journey. When he reached Thunder Bay, Ontario about 143 days in (and over 5,000 kms through) he had to stop for medical reasons. He was brought back to BC and shortly after he passed away.

Each year, to honor his legacy, Canadians participate in the Terry Fox Run to raise funds for his cause. Recently he was named one of the single Greatest Canadians who ever lived.

A website has been setup to get online signature for a petition and a Facebook group is gaining support in favour of Terry Fox International Airport.

Although he never got to dip his toe in the Pacific Ocean, his mission is legendary and lives on through education, research, and each man, woman and child who participates in the Terry Fox Run around the world.

“It occurs very rarely in the life of a nation that the courageous spirit of one person unites all people in the celebration of his life and in the mourning of his death….We do not think of him as one who was defeated by misfortune but as one who inspired us with the example of the triumph of the human spirit over adversity.” – Pierre Trudeau to the House of Commons about Terry Fox.

Despite all of this, many still feel the airport would lose an international identity without the word “Vancouver” in the name. Toronto International was renamed Lester B. Pearson International Airport (known to many as Toronto Pearson) in 1984, after our 14th Prime Minister and many others have also been renamed. However, the debate is not out of a lack of respect or honor for Terry’s legacy, but many simply see it as a poor business move when it comes to identifying Vancouver on the world stage.

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Update October 7, 2010: This is in the new again as online petitions grow. “Vancouver Liberal MP Hedy Fry said Wednesday she thinks it’s an excellent idea and said she’s looking to present a motion in the House of Commons calling for the name change.” – CBC

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24 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. AC MoneyFriday, August 21st, 2009 — 8:46am PDT

    Terry Fox was an incredible human being who inspired countless people to do more for cancer research, themselves, and for other people. His selflessness is rarely matched. He is honoured in many, many ways, but renaming an airport doesn’t seem to fit or commemorate how he contributed to the world as a person. My thoughts are that he did so much for cancer research, but not for Canada itself as a country (vs Lester Pearson or Trudeau), which was not his goal anyway. It doesn’t matter if other countries don’t recognize his name. Many don’t know the relevance of other international airport names, but the ones named after specific people usually honour someone who made a valuable contribution to the country or region, as opposed to a cause, however honourable and great that cause is.

  2. DarrenFriday, August 21st, 2009 — 9:40am PDT

    I think it’s a great idea. I’m not sure about the rationale of not naming the airport after the city. It seems like most of the worlds’ most famous airports aren’t named for the city: Heathrow, Charles de Gaulle, Kennedy, LaGaurdia and so forth.

  3. fotoeinsFriday, August 21st, 2009 — 11:00am PDT

    re. OP by @RB : I think this is a great idea.

    @Darren : Heathrow is a wae hamlet in the greater London area, and it’s entirely possible LHR could have been named Hounslow Heath or … … Slough. Hey, LGW Gatwick has “goat farm” to go for it.

    It’s true CDG, JFK, LGA, FCO (Leonardo da Vinci), SCL (Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez), EZE (Ministro Pistarini), GRU (Governor André Franco Montoro), SYD (Kingsford Smith) for example, are named after people …

    but AFAIK, many other well-travelled airports around the world are not; e.g., namely, AMS (formerly SPL), FRA, MAD, MXP, HKG, ICN, NRT, SIN, KUL, MEL, AKL, etc.

  4. DaveOFriday, August 21st, 2009 — 12:24pm PDT

    Can I vote for Steve Fonyo Airport instead of Terry Fox Airport? No doubt T.Fox is a great Canadian with the understated determination and regular-ness which embodies Canadian values.

    Really i’m cool w/ either name and I think it’s a ridiculus argument that fewer people would travel to the Vancouver if the airport was named something other than YVR or Vancouver Int. etc.

    Incidentally, people would ‘yes’ for Trevor Linden Airport before naming after any BC politician ever.

  5. ColleenFriday, August 21st, 2009 — 12:29pm PDT

    I think I remember Betty Fox years ago, wanted to stop the onslaught of tributes to her son. He will be remembered well after most of us are dead. He doesn’t need a ton of tarmac named after him.

  6. Peter ~ @PvTFriday, August 21st, 2009 — 12:40pm PDT

    I voted for Terry Fox’s Mom to light Olympic Flame. Naming the Airport after Terry, not so much. I love Terry Fox, but also love Vancouver. Vancouver International Airport, it’s always been that, it’s clear where you are headed. But then again, if it isn’t named Terry Fox Airport… I fear it may be named after a politician… I prefer it remains as it is, but Terry is such a deserving soul. Thank you Terry Fox, you still inspire us to this day.

  7. KimmFriday, August 21st, 2009 — 12:40pm PDT

    I’m on the fence,

    I think it would be a great idea, as in get people from out of Canada to learn about a BC/Canadian Legend. The thought of TFI instead of YVR would take time to get use to.

    But I’m also thinking about where is all this $$$ coming from to pay for the changes? IF and WHEN it does happen?

  8. Tyler IngramFriday, August 21st, 2009 — 12:45pm PDT

    Cool they want the name the Airport after him, but I don’t like it. I like YVR, Vancouver International etc.

    Does that mean Victoria and Abbotsford are going to be named after people too?

    Fox international perhaps? Not Terry Fox International, seems just odd. Though no matter what they call it, I’ll always refer to it as YVR!

  9. Tyler IngramFriday, August 21st, 2009 — 12:49pm PDT

    Besides, there is a high school named after him, isn’t that enough or should we just refer to Vancouver as Terry Fox City?

    I’m not knocking what he did, or that his legacy continues to do. Can’t we just leave things with the names they have? I’m tired of hearing things getting their names changed.

    That reminds me.. ever go to Disneyland these days? There is no more Swiss Family Robinson Tree, it’s now Tarzan Themed 😉

  10. Sandra GarciaFriday, August 21st, 2009 — 12:56pm PDT

    I am all for the name change as a tribute to Terry Fox, but I don’t think it’s going to make a difference in how the airport’s viewed by travelers. It’s still going to be “YVR” and “Vancouver Airport” in everyone’s minds. Unless we have another smaller airport that needs differentiation (like many of the bigger major North Am. cities do) I don’t see the name “Terry Fox Int’l” being said anytime soon.

  11. Duane StoreyFriday, August 21st, 2009 — 3:06pm PDT

    Yes, I’m sure people would still visit Vancouver and associate the airport with Vancouver if it were renamed. But why rename it at all? For something to do? I agree, Terry Fox was a great individual, but we honour his memory in many ways already, and I really don’t see the need to name an airport after him. I quite like referring to YVR as Vancouver International.

  12. TawcanFriday, August 21st, 2009 — 4:16pm PDT

    While I think name change as a tribute to Terry Fox is nice but I don’t think it’s a good idea. Most people are going to associate Vancouver International or YVR anyway.

  13. AC MoneyFriday, August 21st, 2009 — 5:47pm PDT

    FYI, no matter what the airport will be named now or in the future, “YVR” is the international airport code for it that will not change. All Canadian airports start with Y if you haven’t noticed.

  14. ubringlitenFriday, August 21st, 2009 — 6:27pm PDT

    To compromise, what about Fox Vancouver International?

  15. fotoeinsFriday, August 21st, 2009 — 8:37pm PDT

    Well then, I’m sure the separate terminal buildings at YVR will be named after notable persons. 🙂

  16. GangaFriday, August 21st, 2009 — 10:57pm PDT

    I like the idea. Many major cities around the world have airports named after someone (mostly politicians, so it will be refreshing to see it named after someone like Terry Fox!)

    I don’t think there is any reason to be concerned about Vancouver losing its identity as a result.

    How many know or care that Sydney Airport is Kingsford Smith Airport, Chicago is O’Hara Airport, Mumbai is Chathrapathi Shivaji Airport, Delhi is Indira Gandhi Airport, Chennai is Anna International Airport and so on? Did these cities lose their identity as a result of their airports being named after someone?

    Also, the airport identifier code that uniquely identifies airports across the world doesn’t change when an airport’s name is changed.

  17. DaveSaturday, August 22nd, 2009 — 9:27am PDT

    Even If they change the name to Terry Fox International…..It will still be coded YVR according to International Air Transport Association airport codes (IATA)………. and CYVR according to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

  18. Dwight WilliamsSaturday, August 22nd, 2009 — 12:07pm PDT

    Not sure that the name would be a good fit, really.

    I’ve seen schools, streets named for him. I can see a hospital named in his honour, or a hospital ship, should our navy ever again be so large as to make room for such things…but an airport?

  19. TomSaturday, August 22nd, 2009 — 1:09pm PDT

    Hate to say it, but this is a well-intentioned brain fart.

    What does aviation or the airport have to do with Terry Fox?
    How much would it cost to rename the airport, from physical signs (a new one was just built for the Olympics right at the foot of the Arthur Laing bridge) to print media?

    The money that would be used to rename the airport would be better served for cancer research, which was Terry’s main goal.

    This effort that is being used to rename the airport would be better served in supporting Terry Fox runs or trying to rename something more suitable or relevant to Terry Fox (like the Trans-Canada highway).

  20. vancouver limousineSunday, August 23rd, 2009 — 9:26am PDT

    I think Terry Fox was a great Canadian but not sure of the connection with the airport?

    I would consider renaming the international terminal instead to the “Terry Fox International Terminal”.

  21. Jimmie GSaturday, March 13th, 2010 — 2:26pm PST

    Is YVR (Vancouver International Airport) actually IN the city of Vancouver, or is it in the Municipality of Delta?
    Change the name to Terry Fox International, but be sure to place expected, cancer research, donation boxes everywhere throughout the whole airport facility.
    International travellers will avoid flying to or from YVR because they will perceive to be expected to donate every time they passed through the airport.

  22. Liz MWednesday, October 6th, 2010 — 7:08pm PDT

    I vote no. First, the family does not wish this to happen. That alone should be enough to stop it.

    And what on earth does it have to do with the airport, other than the airport being a convenient federal building without a politician’s name already assigned? I suspect there’s more in this movement that has to do with political posturing, using both Terry’s good name as the vehicle and the success of the airport as handy tools. How cheap is that?

  23. waitaminuteThursday, October 7th, 2010 — 8:59am PDT

    Terry Fox was a great man, and we should all look up to him. But I strongly vote no for two reasons.

    1) What does Terry Fox have to do with an airport? No one would’ve paid attention if he’d flown across Canada for cancer.

    2) How many things are named after Terry Fox already? Do we really need yet another thing named after him? If we absolutely must rename YVR after a person, can’t we find another Canadian hero who doesn’t have anything else named after him/her?

  24. MikeThursday, October 7th, 2010 — 3:41pm PDT

    I don’t really see it as renaming an airport. It’s an airport without a name at the moment, as far as I’m concerned. I think Terry Fox would be a great choice.

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