On July 9, 1993, Toronto attorney Garry Hoy was demonstrating his go-to party trick by throwing himself at the windows of his workplace. But his prank fell flat this time.
The physical durability of modern architecture captivated Garry Hoy. So much so that he frequently demonstrated the strength of his office building’s windows by tossing his entire bodyweight against them as a party trick.
He shouldn’t have been so confident, it turns out.
Garry Hoy: Who Was He?
After learning the details of Garry Hoy’s death, one could initially assume that he was either stupid, drunk or drugged, or possibly even suicidal.
The truth is that none of those things applied to Hoy. He may have been foolish or lacking in common sense, but he wasn’t an idiot.
The 38-year-old Hoy had a lot going for him as a successful and well-known business and securities lawyer at the Toronto-based law firm Holden Day Wilson. He was referred to as “one of the smartest and brightest” attorneys at the firm by managing partner Peter Lauwers.
The amazing tale of Garry Hoy begins and ends on the 24th floor of the Toronto-Dominion Bank Tower structure. The story has received a lot of online scrutiny, but the events are actually fairly simple.
It’s hardly surprising if you’ve never heard of accidental self-defenestration as a cause of death. Most of the time, when someone jumps out of a window, it is on purpose. But not in Garry Hoy’s situation.
A gathering for law students interested in internships at Holden Day Wilson was held on July 9, 1993. While giving a tour, Garry Hoy decided to perform his go-to party trick by flinging himself against the Toronto-Dominion Bank Tower’s windows to show the kids how robust the glass was.
Hoy had often performed the feat for audiences. It was evident that he enjoyed bragging a little bit in addition to displaying the durability of the windows.
Hoy bounced off the window the first time he body-slammed it that day, just like he always did. But after that, he again threw himself at the window. The events that followed transpired far too rapidly and no doubt completely frightened everyone in the room.
Hoy fell 24 floors straight down toward the building courtyard instead of bouncing off the window as he had done the first time. He died immediately after the fall.
The glass popped out of its frame instead of shattering instantly. Police who responded to the site soon realized that Garry Hoy’s death was the result of a horrible freak accident.
One Toronto police officer stated that “[Hoy] was demonstrating his understanding of the tensile strength of window glass and presumably the glass gave way.” I am aware that the blinds and frame are still in place.
According to structural expert Bob Greer, “I don’t know of any building code in the world that would enable a 160-pound man to run up against a glass and resist it.”
The Legacy of Garry Hoy
Garry Hoy gained a lot of popularity due to his bizarre demise. There is a Wikipedia entry for him, a Snopes piece, and numerous Reddit posts (“Oh Garry Hoy. One states, “Still one of the strangest Toronto tales that some believe to be a fiction.
Hoy’s death was also discussed in the second episode of the popular Discovery Channel series Mythbusters and was featured in the television program 1,000 Ways to Die.
Hoy’s terrible passing might have also decided Holden Day Wilson’s future. After the anguish of losing one of their own, more than 30 attorneys left the firm over the course of three years.
Holden Day Wilson officially shut down in 1996 as a result of problems with unpaid debts and compensation. It was arguably the most notorious law practice collapse in Canadian history at the time.
Although Hoy’s death is frequently mocked for the absurd reasons surrounding it, it does not erase the fact that a man died. Even more heartbreaking is how preventable his passing was.
Hoy was praised as “a terrific lawyer and one of the most pleasant individuals you could ever meet” by Hugh Kelly, a colleague of his. We’ll miss him dearly.
His death has just destroyed his family, coworkers, and friends, coworker Peter Lauwers would later remark. Garry was a shining example of the firm’s generosity and concern for others.
- Mikkelson, Barbara; Mikkelson, David P. (January 21, 2007). “Through a Glass, Quickly”. Snopes. Retrieved September 5, 2011.
- “Fact Check: Man Dies Demonstrating Window’s Strength”. Snopes. November 3, 2000. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
- Mikkelson, Barbara; Mikkelson, David P. (1996). “1996 Darwin Awards: Lawyer Aloft”. Darwin Awards. Retrieved September 5, 2011.