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January 14, 2023 9:39 pm  #1

David Onley has passed away

Just read the news. It's a sad day for our province. ūüēĮÔłŹ

Last edited by betaylored (January 14, 2023 9:42 pm)


January 14, 2023 10:09 pm  #2

Re: David Onley has passed away

This is very sad and shocking news.  David was a true gentleman.  David and I worked at CityTV.  Although I did not work directly with him, we had many interactions.  A few years later, I ran into him, when he was touring another TV facility I worked at, in his role as Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.  My colleagues were rather impressed when I called him "His Honour" and he called me my my first name!

 A sad start to the new year.


January 14, 2023 10:59 pm  #3

Re: David Onley has passed away

I'm very, very sorry to hear this. I produced some of David's pieces when I was at CFTR. He did a regular weekly feature there called "A Step Ahead" and we always used to talk regularly while we were putting it together. He came to the station's attention after his book "Shuttle" had come out and the powers-that-be there saw something special in him. 

I will never forget him coming in one day and confessing to me that, "I can't believe this is happening to me!" meaning that he was on the radio in Toronto. It was almost like he couldn't comprehend his good fortune. But he'd definitely earned it. 

In all the years I knew him - and this includes his time at City TV - I can honestly say I never heard anyone say a single bad word about him. If you know broadcasting, you know how very rare that is. 

A great piece of trivia not well known about him - he was a huge fan of the TV show "Alf," the NBC comedy about an alien that comes to earth and crash lands in a family's garage. He could quote the script verbatim from almost any of the shows and it always made him laugh. He just loved that show. 

One last thing. I'm not sure how many people know this, but it was Ann Rohmer who suggested to her father, Gen. Richard Rohmer, that he be nominated for Lt. Governor of Ontario. It would not have happened had she not started that campaign on his behalf, although he knew nothing about it.

He once told me he was driving down the highway, when his cell phone rang and he was stunned to hear the Prime Minister's voice asking him if he was interested in the position. "I nearly drove off the road," he recalled. 

Which leads to this story, which I think I can now tell publicly. I once asked him about having to read the Speech From The Throne, which Lts. Governor have to do as part of their regular duties when a new government session begins at Queen's Park. "Don't you find it boring droning on and on over a really, really dull speech?"

I'll never forget his answer, which took in his old broadcasting experience. "Yeah," he admitted. "I sometimes felt like stopping in the middle of it and saying 'And we'll be back with more, right after a word from our sponsor!' " But of course, he never did it!

David had been ill in the past few years, suffering from post-polio syndrome that led to his lifelong disability, and also from a brain tumor he had successfully removed in 2019. He wrote me a few times over the past few years asking if I wanted to meet him downtown for a coffee, but something always got in the way, and I never was able to go. I now deeply regret the reunion that didn't happen. 

RIP Dave - you truly were one of a kind. 


January 14, 2023 11:38 pm  #4

Re: David Onley has passed away

That’s a shocker.

I don’t know why, but just a few hours ago I had been watching this clip of Onley on Citytv talking about the Challenger explosion in 1986:

(Starts at 4:23)


January 15, 2023 1:07 am  #5

Re: David Onley has passed away

Both City TV and CTV local news led with David's passing at 11 PM and 11:30 PM respectively. He worked for both stations and their companies at one time or another. Global, on the other hand, where he never worked, didn't bother to even mention the story at all.

He was a prominent person in this city and province and should have been remembered. I can't say why, but it certainly looks like they simply didn't want to promote the competition. But they could have mentioned he was a TV and radio journalist without having to leave the story out altogether. Shame on them for ignoring it.


January 15, 2023 3:24 am  #6

Re: David Onley has passed away

Murdoch Mysteries (CBC) will also miss him...


Last edited by Radiowiz (January 15, 2023 1:13 pm)

RadioWiz & RadioQuiz are NOT the same person. 
RadioWiz & THE Wiz are NOT the same person.


January 15, 2023 11:02 am  #7

Re: David Onley has passed away

If anyone knows how to reach someone at The Canadian Press, could they please inform their news reader that the name is pronounced On-lee NOT Only (as in "Only The Lonely.") The guy on air for the past few hours has mispronounced it every single time, which is inexcusable, especially for someone so well known.

This thing goes across the country on dozens and dozens of stations and despite my best efforts to reach someone there to get it corrected, there's no answer at any of their departments on a Sunday morning. What does that say about Canada's biggest national news service?


January 15, 2023 11:28 am  #8

Re: David Onley has passed away

I never knew Mr. Onley personally , just thru the media . He leaves behind a huge legacy that future generation's will learn about. As a champion for the disabled, he was instrumental I would think in how so many towns and businesses  made their sidewalks , and entrances accessible. RIP. 

Last edited by mic'em (January 15, 2023 11:33 am)


January 15, 2023 12:20 pm  #9

Re: David Onley has passed away

I was surprised (but impressed) that Onley's son Michael appeared live on AM640's live weekend show, despite the death of his dad the night before. There was a lot of discussion about his deep religious faith, which was not really a side of David that I ever saw. He wasn't a proselytizer, more like a "live and let live" type. The son said the last few days have been tough because they knew what was coming. 

But he noted that right up until his final day and despite his last illness, his father was thanking the nurses for their help and wanted to let them know how much he appreciated it. THAT'S the Dave I knew. Small wonder he was so well liked. 


January 15, 2023 3:29 pm  #10

Re: David Onley has passed away

Hi RA,
I was saddened to hear the news of David's passing.  What a lovely human being. 
I cut many a story with David while he was at CityPulse.  He was from the analog know, hand writing a script on a piece of lined paper.  

A few stories that demonstrate the qualities of David.
He was kind enough to attend my first wife's funeral and we had several discussions about death, dying and the afterlife.  (He never "pushed" his religious convictions on me.)

After a press conference about (can't remember the exact event), he was in the newsroom writing his story and was visibly pissed off, (he never lost his cool, just this once) that the first question in the conference  went to a CBC reporter all the while he had his hand up first.   He felt slighted that he wasn't taken seriously, and that he and CityPulse were playing second fiddle to the Corp.

David wrote for me a fantastic letter of recommendation that opened the door to becoming a high school teacher in communications technology at the TDSB.

RIP David



January 15, 2023 8:44 pm  #11

Re: David Onley has passed away

I always figured Lieutenant Governor must be the best job ever. Six figure salary with no responsibility and no one knows who you are outside of Queen's Park. 


Last edited by cash (January 15, 2023 10:18 pm)


January 15, 2023 9:43 pm  #12

Re: David Onley has passed away

I partially take back my criticism of Global on Saturday. They not only led with the story on Sunday, but they also included viz from City TV, which I never expected. But really, there's no reason they shouldn't have at least mentioned it on the day it happened. You can see the Global story here. 

City TV, as you might expect, also put together a much longer package on their former colleague, since they have access to a lot more video of him. Here's where you can see that tribute.

CTV also had ties to David, thanks to his anchor work on CP24. Their story is here.

And CBC also has a previously aired story, appropriately narrated by another former City TV colleague, Dwight Drummond. 


January 17, 2023 5:52 pm  #13

Re: David Onley has passed away

enclosed below, a personal message from the widow of David Onley via Facebook

     Thread Starter

January 18, 2023 9:39 am  #14

Re: David Onley has passed away

Anyone who worked with David at Citytv or elsewhere will know what a smart and kind man he was.
Such sad news, I will miss him, R.I.P. Mr. Onley.