Inspiring Stories: David Onley

The Hon. David Onley, C.M. O.Ont

The reality is it’s beyond architecture. Accessibility is as much a matter of attitude as it is anything else. You can have the latest in ramps, automatic doors, curb cuts, wheelchair parking spots and all these things are very, very good – but if you don’t have the right attitude then…there’s still accessibility problems – visible and invisible.”
Ontario Student Trustees’ Association Annual General Meeting, May 26, 2016.

We contacted the 28th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario to ask him one question: do you remember your first summer job?

Oh, yes ! At the 1965 CNE in the Better Living Building at the Esso Hockey Exhibit where I got coffee for the staff at – wait for it – ten dollars per day or about $1.25 an hour which was 25 cents MORE than the minimum wage! Still remember it fondly. When the Ex was over, I was so proud, I laid out my entire salary in 16 ten dollar bills on my bed and just stared at it!”

During Onley’s vice-regal mandate, he participated in 2,550 engagements, during which he spoke to an estimated audience of over one million people. Before serving as Ontario’s 28th Lieutenant Governor, David was a popular television journalist. He was one of Canada’s first on-air television personalities with a visible disability; he uses a mobility device due to partial paralysis as a result of childhood polio.