Metro Morning

David Stark is Metro Morning's 2016 Torontonian of the year

For the second year in a row, CBC Radio's Metro Morning went on a search for the Torontonian of the year. David Stark, who became a vocal advocate for road safety after his wife was killed, is this year's winner.

After his wife died, Stark channelled his grief to push for safer roads

Metro Morning host Matt Galloway surprised David Stark with the news that he had been selected as Torontonian of the Year. Numerous people wrote in to nominate him. (CBC)

Torontonian David Stark's life changed in an instant in November of 2014.

His wife Erica, who was walking on a sidewalk at Midland Ave. and Gilder Rd., was killed when a minivan jumped the curb and hit her.

Alone and grieving, Stark found himself responsible for raising their three sons.

Instead of holding his grief in, he decided to channel it as best he could, becoming a vocal advocate for safer roads and rules that protect vulnerable users.

Metro Morning's 2016 Torontonian of the year: David Stark

6 years ago
Duration 0:30
Metro Morning host Matt Galloway surprised David Stark that he had been selected as Torontonian of the year.

"I don't want other families to endure the same tragedy that we went through," he said in an interview with Matt Galloway.

David Stark reflects on the year ahead

6 years ago
Duration 1:49
Metro Morning's 2016 Torontonian of the year David Stark reflects on his plans for 2017.

Stark started Friends and Families for Safe Streets, a group that seeks to stiffen penalties for careless driving, change Toronto's traffic culture, and offers support for survivors of road violence. He also began appearing in the media to share his story.

"We hear about these tragedies every day and they are just statistics. I think if you get to know the families and the people that are suffering those losses then it becomes real," Stark said on Metro Morning.

This past June, a parkette was renamed in honour of Stark's wife Erica. 'I'm delighted but I'm also sad... because Erica's death was completely preventable,' he said at the time. (CBC)

"We can achieve zero fatalities on our roads. People don't have to die." 

Neighbour Dvorah Richler was one of many who submitted Stark's name, writing in her nomination about the strength she'd seen him exhibit since the tragedy.

Dylan Stark speaks about his dad's award

6 years ago
Duration 1:43
Dylan Stark tells Metro Morning host Matt Galloway that he is happy his dad was nominated and that he deserved the Torontonian of the year award.

"This is a man who has taken his loss and his experience and shared it openly through the media so others can learn and cope. This man has done all of this while he, himself, is still grieving," Richler wrote.

Another neighbour, Susanne Truelson, described David as going the extra mile to support his sons while continuing his community work.

"David is a true mensch, a citizen and community member in the truest sense of those words," she wrote.

David Stark's friends share why they nominated him as Torontonian of the year

6 years ago
Duration 5:01
Friends share why they nominated David Stark as Metro Morning's 2016 Torontonian of the year.

With files from Metro Morning