David Barkway’s desk on the open trading floor at BMO Nesbitt Burns in downtown Toronto looks just the way he left it on Friday, Sept. 7, before he headed off to New York. Photos of his wife, Cindy, his two-year-old son, Jamie, and a copy of his itinerary sit amid a pile of memos and reports—reminders of a respected, fun-loving colleague. Barkway’s warmth stood out on Bay Street. “There are a lot of egos in this business,” says Byron Bianco, recalling the buddy who liked to chat and joke. “It didn’t matter if you were the CEO or the cleaning lady, David made everyone feel important.” Vince Murray, another friend and a vice-president at the firm, says the mourning continues: “We miss him. We miss him badly.”
A week into his new job as managing director of capital markets, Barkway had business to attend to at the World Trade Center. The big man with the little boy grin looked forward to the buzz of Man-
hattan. “He would get really excited about things,” says Cindy, who is expecting their second child in January. “He worked hard, he took it seriously.” The couple flew to New York on Sunday, the day after they celebrated his birthday on Sept. 8. “He kept saying, ‘I’m 34, I’m so old now,’ ” recalls Cindy. “Then this happened. You know, 34 isn’t so old.” Adopted at six months, Barkway was born in Ottawa and grew up in tiny Martintown, near Cornwall, Ont. He never had any interest in seeking his biological parents, telling a sometimes curious
Cindy that Peter Barkway, a minister, and his wife, Mary, a schoolteacher—the couple who raised him and his adopted brother—were “unquestionably my mom and dad.” In high school, he worked as a lifeguard and did a stint as a DJ. Fie worked part time at a bank while attending Carleton University in Ottawa, where he met Cindy. “He was your allCanadian guy, the kind you immediately flock to,” says Anthony Ferrari, a friend since university.
In 1992, after graduating with a BA in economics and law, Barkway moved to Toronto to work full time with Canada Trust. “He was so successful at work,” says Randy Reid, a former colleague and best man at his 1997 wedding, “but work would be the last thing he would talk about in his spare time.” Barkway had outside passions, too. “He wanted to golf all the time,” says Cindy. “After my brother invited him to play his first game five years ago, he caught the fever.” A big fan of the Tragically Hip, he liked fast boats and an occasional cigar. But it was Barkway’s enthusiasm for life and his willingness to share it that people admired. “I consider myself a close friend,” says Reid, “and I am sure there are another 100 guys out there who do as well.”
His biggest passion, friends say, was his family. “For such a young man, he had his priorities straight,” says Ferrari. “I think the saddest thing for all of us is how much he enjoyed being a father. For Jamie, he
would have been the dad every kid dreams of having.” Last February, he and Cindy moved into an ivy-covered house in a prosperous Toronto suburb. Most nights, around 6:30 p.m., he’d stride past the picket fence, up the flagstone path that curved through the small Englishstyle garden, and when he opened the red front door, little Jamie, blond like his mother, would come running down the hall and reach out for Daddy. “He loved being with Jamie,” says Cindy. “We were still getting settled in. We were having fun just going through life.” m
The story you want is part of the Maclean’s Archives. To access it, log in here or sign up for your free 30-day trial.
Experience anything and everything Maclean's has ever published — over 3,500 issues and 150,000 articles, images and advertisements — since 1905. Browse on your own, or explore our curated collections and timely recommendations.WATCH THIS VIDEO for highlights of everything the Maclean's Archives has to offer.