Claim: A Toronto lawyer demonstrating the safety of window panes in a skyscraper plunged through a window to his death.
Example: [Collected on the Internet, 1998]
Origins: It isn't often we have occasion to employ the term "accidental self-defenestration" in an article, but that phrase certainly applies to the case of Garry Hoy, a 38-year-old lawyer with the Toronto law firm of Holden Day Wilson, who on 9 July 1993 plunged to his death from the
For motivations that remain unclear to this day Hoy had apparently developed a fondness for showing off the tensile strength of office building windows (and/or demonstrating his fearless trust in that aspect of building design) by running and hurling himself at window panes in front of onlookers, who would watch a stunt that always ended with Hoy's bouncing off of the window panes, leaving both glass and lawyer unharmed. On a fateful day in 1993, however, Hoy attempted his feat in front of a group of prospective legal apprentices with disastrous results: Apparently the first attempt came off as usual with Hoy harmlessly rebounding off the window, but when Hoy threw himself against the pane a second time, it popped out of its frame and sent Hoy fatally tumbling 24 stories to the courtyard below.
The firm's spokesperson said
As the Torontoist reported of the incident years later:
We do know that his early demise could have been avoided had he left the testing to the experts. Or consulted with structural engineer Bob Greer, who later told the Toronto Star "I donÂ’t know of any building code in the world that would allow a 160-pound man to run up against a glass and withstand it."
In front of dozens of lawyers, the window gave way and Mr. Hoy fell to his death 24 floors below.
The combined challenge of recovering from Mr. Hoy's death and holding together a newly merged firm proved too great for Holden Day's partners.
By 1996, more than 30 partners had left the firm, and Holden Day closed its doors amid controversy about unpaid bills and compensation.
Last updated: 1 February 2015
Demara, Bruce. "Corporate Lawyer Plunges 24 Floors to Death." The Toronto Star. 10 July 1993 (p. A4). McNish, Jacquie. "Law Firm Goodman and Carr Shutting Down." The Globe and Mail. 14 March 2007. Metzger, Patrick. "Toronto Urban Legends: The Leaping Lawyer of Bay Street." Torontoist. 3 January 2013.