Friday , 24 March 2023
Home Opinion Remembering David Onley as a champion for persons with disabilities

Remembering David Onley as a champion for persons with disabilities

Colum by Tim Nolan of the Accessibility Hamilton Alliance

Former Ontario Lieutenant Governor David Onley was laid to rest this week. Mr. Onley  was well known to Ontario, and in particular GTA, television viewers for many years on City TV back in the 70s through the early 2000s. As an occasional viewer of City TV I knew his name but was unaware he had a disability or used some type of mobility device. As a non-disabled person at that time it likely would have not resonated with me had I known.

However, after losing my eyesight in the early 80s then becoming involved in the emerging disability community in the  mid to late 80s there was purpose in knowing of his television presence. Whether he knew it or not Mr. Onley made an impression. He helped to create a legacy for other people with disabilities. Mr. Onley paved a way forward, not to use his example as a cliché.

I had the  opportunity to meet Mr. Onley on at least one occasion and an opportunity to catch one or two of his keynote addresses. Though he will never know, Accessibility Hamilton Alliance (AHA) exists today due in some part to his efforts, it does . The mission of AHA is to pursue accessibility in a way that meets the needs of people with disabilities, seniors and taxpayers.

The Alliance will do all it can to engage persons at the highest levels of government, business, and education whether elected or otherwise in an effort to impress upon those in charge the importance of accessibility for the good of the community and for the good of the public purse. Some of the highest priorities for AHA include transportation, outdoor dining, the presence of e-scooters on City streets and roadways, snow removal, employment and understanding through awareness and education. There are a good many issues to address across the City and beyond.

With the inspiration of David Onley at its root, the Accessibility Hamilton Alliance is well-positioned to help Hamilton to become again the beacon of accessibility across the province and country. Thank you David Onley for being the face of disability and accessibility these many years. May you rest in peace. 

For more information, or if you have interest in considering issues of accessibility in a practical and meaningful way please reach out to Tim Nolan via email 

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles


Green Energy Act of 2009 Still Haunts Us

  The CBC featured an article on March 20th stating how the...


Hamilton Waterfront Trust—Beginning the long goodbye?

Even though the key figures in the genesis of the 23-year-old Hamilton...


Remembering Hamilton Crimestoppers on its 40th anniversary

The Hamilton Police will be holding the Chief’s Gala dinner and dance...


Opinion: Unresolved questions surround Consumption and Treatment Services Site selection in Ward Three

Hamilton’s Board of Health agrees that there are unresolved questions about critical...