David Onley

His Honour The Honourable
David Charles Onley
OOnt LLD (hc) BA
28th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario
Assumed office
September 5, 2007
Monarch Queen Elizabeth II
Governor General Michaëlle Jean
David Lloyd Johnston
Premier Dalton McGuinty
Preceded by James K. Bartleman
Personal details
Born June 12, 1950 (1950-06-12) (age 61)
Midland, Ontario
Spouse(s) Ruth Ann Onley
Profession Journalist
Religion Evangelical Christian, Baptist [1]

David Charles Onley,[2] OOnt (born June 12, 1950)[3] is the 28th and current Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Canada.[4]

Onley was a television journalist prior to his viceregal appointment. He worked primarily for Citytv as a science and technology reporter, and for the 24-hour news station CablePulse 24 as a news anchor and host of a weekly technology series, Home Page. A published author, he was founding president of the Aerospace Heritage Foundation of Canada.


Early life

David Onley was born in Midland, Ontario, and raised in West Hill on Orchard Park Drive in Scarborough,[5] now part of Toronto. He was educated at the University of Toronto, graduating with a degree in political science.

Beginning at the age of three,[6] Onley battled with polio, resulting in partial paralysis. However, as a result of extensive physical therapy, he regained the use of his hands and arms, and partial use of his legs. Onley is able to walk using leg braces and canes or crutches, but he generally prefers to get around using his electric scooter. He is able to drive a car using hand controls for acceleration and braking.


David Onley began his career in radio, hosting a weekly science show for Toronto radio station CFRB, subsequently joining the CKO network in 1983. He then joined Citytv in 1984, as weather specialist, a position he held until 1989. In a 2004 interview with Link Up, a Toronto employment agency for people with disabilities, Onley stated that

At the time I remember saying to my mother, ‘I don't know if I should take this job (at Citytv). I don’t know if they’re hiring me because I’m disabled.’ My mother said, ‘You’ve been turned down enough times because of your disability, so take it!’ I thought to myself, ‘Damn it, she’s right’ and that’s how my career at Citytv began.[7]

From 1989 to 1995 he was the first news anchor on the then-new Breakfast Television, Citytv's morning show. He served as education specialist for Citytv and CablePulse 24 from 1994 to 1999. Onley became an anchor on CP24, when the station launched in 1999, and both hosted and produced Home Page on CP24.[5]

He was one of Canada's first on-air television personalities with a visible disability;[5] he uses a mobility device due to his paralysis. Camera shots began with only upper body shots but Onley demanded that the shot include him in his mobility device. In honour of his contributions to the advancement of disability issues in Canada, he has received awards from the Terry Fox Hall of Fame in 1997,[5] and the Clarke Institute's Courage to Come Back award.[5] He was appointed Chair of the Accessibility Standards Advisory Council to the Minister of Community and Social Services in 2005.[8] He was most recently inducted into the Scarborough Walk of Fame in 2006.

Onley wrote Shuttle: A Shattering Novel of Disaster in Space, a bestselling novel about space travel, published in 1981. It was nominated by the Periodical Distributors of Canada as book of the year. He was founding president of the Aerospace Heritage Foundation of Canada.

As Lieutenant Governor

Queen Elizabeth II holds audience with Lieutenant Governor of Ontario David C. Onley at Buckingham Palace, 2008.

Onley's appointment as Lieutenant Governor was announced on July 10, 2007; he was privately informed of this after a July 4, 2007, taping of Home Page: "I just had reached the top of the Don Valley Parkway... and there was no place to pull over. And when the Prime Minister of your country calls, all you can try to do is stay in the same lane, avoid any fender-benders and have a meaningful conversation, which I did."[4]

David Onley is a respected author, broadcaster and tireless champion for persons with disabilities. Through this work, he has demonstrated the qualities needed for such an important position. He has loyally served the province and his country in a number of roles, and I’m confident as Lieutenant-Governor, he will continue to do so.[5]

His first known interview as the designate was to CP24.[9]

He was sworn in as Lieutenant Governor on September 5, 2007, at Queen's Park in Toronto. As the province's first lieutenant governor with a disability, Onley said he would use his vice-regal position to help remove physical barriers to Ontario's 1.5 million people with disabilities, as well as focus on other issues affecting the disabled, including obstacles to employment and housing. Onley also stated, in his installation speech, that he would expand on his immediate predecessor James Bartleman's First Nations literacy initiatives, his aim being to see computers on every student's desk in northern schools.[10] For his installation, Onley approached the legislature on his electric scooter, however he ascended the Throne on foot, using leg braces and canes. Onley also travelled to China to represent the Queen and Canada at the 2008 Summer Paralympics opening ceremony.[11]

Onley and his wife continue to reside in their Scarborough home; Ontario is one of three provinces that does not have an official vice-regal residence.[12]

Personal life

He is married to Ruth Ann Onley, a Christian music performer.[13] They have three sons, Jonathan, Robert and Michael.[5]

Titles, honours and awards

Shorthand titles

  • June 12, 1950 – September 5, 2007: Mr. David Onley
  • September 5, 2007 – present: His Honour The Honourable David Onley, KStJ, O.Ont, LLD, BA


Commonwealth Realms
Country Award or order Class or position Year Citation
Flag of Canada.svg
Order of Ontario Chancellor 2007–present
Personal flag of Queen Elizabeth II.svg
Commonwealth Realms
Order of St John Vice-Prior of the Order of St. John in Ontario, Knight of Justice of the Order 2007–present [14]
Non-national Commonwealth Realms honours
Country Organization Award or position Year Citation
Flag of Canada.svg
Canadian Foundation for Physically Disabled Persons King Clancy Award 1992 [15]
Flag of Canada.svg
Scarborough Women Teachers Association Award for Broadcasting Excellence 1992 [16]
Flag of Canada.svg
Clarke Institute Courage to Come Back Award 1996 [5]
Flag of Canada.svg
Terry Fox Hall of Fame Inductee 1997–present [5]
Flag of Canada.svg
University of Toronto Positive Impact Award 2001 [16]
Flag of Canada.svg
City of Scarborough Scarborough Walk of Fame Inductee 2006–present [5]
Flag of Canada.svg
Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic High School National Leadership Award 2009 [17]
Academic Honours
Country Organization Award or position Year Citation
Flag of Canada.svg
Centennial College Honorary Fellow 2003–present [16]
Flag of Canada.svg
University of Guelph-Humber Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) 2008 [16]
Flag of Canada.svg
University of Windsor Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) 2008 [16]
Flag of Canada.svg
University of Western Ontario Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) 2008 [16]
Flag of Canada.svg
University of Toronto Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) 2009 [18]
Flag of Canada.svg
York University Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) 2009


See also


  1. ^ Mackey, Lloyd (12 July 2007). "The Emergence of David Onley". CanadianChristianity. http://www.christianity.ca/NetCommunity/Page.aspx?pid=4640&srcid=1836. Retrieved 2008-07-11. 
  2. ^ "Lieutenant Governor welcomes Lieutenant Governor-designate David Onley". Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. 10 July 2007. http://ogov.newswire.ca/ontario/GPOE/2007/07/10/c5287.html?lmatch=&lang=_e.html. Retrieved 2008-03-14. [dead link]
  3. ^ "The Honourable David C. Onley, O.Ont.". Queen's Printer for Ontario. September 2007. http://www.lt.gov.on.ca/En/Their_Honours/HisHonour.html. Retrieved 2007-09-15. [dead link]
  4. ^ a b David Onley Appointed Next Lt.-Gov. Of Ontario, www.citynews.ca, June 10, 2007
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Prime Minister announces appointment of David C. Onley as Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario" (Press release). Canadian Prime Minister's Office. 2007-07-10. http://www.pm.gc.ca/eng/media.asp?category=1&id=1747. Retrieved 2007-07-13. 
  6. ^ Oliveria, Michael; Toronto Star: Onley vows focus on access; September 5, 2007
  7. ^ "David Onley: A Success Story"
  8. ^ http://lt.gov.on.ca/20070711_DavidOnleyENG.pdf
  9. ^ Gillespie, Kerry (07-10-2007). "Citytv's Onley next Lt.-Gov.". Toronto Star online edition (Torstar Media). http://www.thestar.com/News/article/234293. Retrieved 2007-07-13. 
  10. ^ Editorial; Toronto Star: Vice-regal role model; September 6, 2007
  11. ^ "Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada" (Press release). Queen's Printer for Canada. 26 August 2008. http://www.pm.gc.ca/eng/media.asp?category=3&id=2245. Retrieved 8 March 2010. 
  12. ^ Henderson, Hellen; Toronto Star: Incoming lieutenant-governor plans to smooth path for all; September 3, 2007
  13. ^ Ruth Ann Onley
  14. ^ Canada Gazette
  15. ^ City News: David Onley
  16. ^ a b c d e f Lieutenant Governor of Ontario: Honours
  17. ^ Guelph Mercury. Fight for Equality: Our lady of Lourdes Catholic High School Honours province's Lieutenant Governor. http://news.guelphmercury.com/article/442015 . Accessed 2 March 2009
  18. ^ [1]

External links

Order of precedence
Preceded by
Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada
Order of precedence in Ontario
as of 2008
Succeeded by
Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario

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