Sunday, March 5, 2017

GreenspirationTO's 'Remembering Tooker 13 years on'

Republished with permission, from the March 3, 2017 GreenspirationTO email list post by Angela Biscoff. Join the GreenspirationTO email list here.

Remembering Tooker 13 years on

March 3, 2017
By Angela Bischoff

Tooker Gomberg (photo: Angela Bischoff)
To my friends and allies, far and near,

Many of you knew Tooker Gomberg. If you did, I know you miss him. It’s still unimaginable that we lost him 13 years ago today – our dear friend, comrade, mentor. And the earth lost a skilled warrior.

I often ask myself “What would Tooker do?” I imagine he would be taking on the many crises we’re facing today with fierce courage and creative brilliance, like he always did, always sacrificing. No one could fill his shoes.

Don’t you wish he was around to see the fruits of his labour? Bike lanes, recycling, composting, green energy, conservation, green buildings – so much progress has been made in the last 13 years that would make him smile.

In Tooker’s honor, I’ll share with you some links. Enjoy.

· Listen to the song written by Mike Ford after Tooker’s passing: Tooker, Le Monde à Bicyclette (click the black bar to the left of 00:00)
· Read Tooker’s Letter to An Activist. He wrote it during his first depression (of 2). It contains lessons for us all, and reminds us how vulnerable we all are, and how to take care of ourselves and each other.
· Tooker was a prolific environmental writer. Browse his articles from all around the world.
· View a slide show of him.
· Watch the trailer (4:52 min.) for Playing with Democracy, a video documentary of the Gomberg for Mayor campaign in Toronto, 2000 (he came 2nd to the incumbent!).
· Read the tabloid I wrote following his death. It’s called Depression Expression – raising questions about antidepressants. Tooker suffered from depression but was not suicidal until after beginning his antidepressant. Rather than take him off the drug, his doctor doubled the dosage, again and again. Just 4 weeks into drug therapy – suffering with akathesia, or agitation, a recognized side effect of antidepressant drugs – he took his own life. Many suffer with similar adverse effects – know the risks.
· Read the heart breaking eulogies to this beloved man.

Aside from being a great activist and writer, did you know Tooker was a harmonica player, a juggler and puppeteer, educator, film maker and photographer?

Here’s a story I love. Once on a road trip, the moving van we were driving sported a large military advert on the side. Tooker bought some water based paint and began painting a large peace sign over the ad. The cops came thinking he was a vandal. Tooker defended his action (in French!), the cop watched him paint, and then left the scene. Tooker had convinced the cop that he was doing the right thing.

Do you have a Tooker story that you would share with me?

Peace to you, and RIP Tooker…

[reprinted from a greenspirationto-l(at) post of March 3, 2017]

Michael Holloway
Outreach Coordinator,
Ward 30 Bikes


  1. beautiful. beautiful slideshow, beautiful letter to activist, beautiful song, beautiful guy.

  2. He would smile, but he would also say: That's only the beginning, there is much, much more to, let's go!