2011 Hero: Matt Galloway
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2011 Hero: Matt Galloway

Nominated for: loving Toronto, and telling us all the reasons why we should, too.

Torontoist is ending the year by naming our Heroes and Villains—the very best and very worst people, places, things, and ideas that have had an influence on the city over the past twelve months. From December 12–23, the candidates for Mightiest and Meanest—and new this year, a reader’s write-in option! From December 26–29 you’ll be able to vote for Toronto’s Superhero and Supervillain of the year, and we’ll reveal the results December 30.

Matt Galloway is a hero this year for… just being Matt Galloway. He took over CBC Radio One’s morning show, Metro Morning, from Andy Barrie in March 2010, so we could make up something about how he’s the hero for hosting his first full year of Toronto’s most popular morning radio show. But to be honest Galloway’s not doing much on Metro Morning that he wasn’t doing before—on CBC’s afternoon drive show, Here and Now—and we like it that way.

Galloway still has a way of asking questions that sound like he actually wants to know the answer, not like he’s reading from a list put together by producers. He’s still courteous and respectful. He still gushes about the city and its goings-on with an enthusiasm that never wanes, day in, day out, segment after segment, 5:30 a.m. or 8:15 a.m. He still over-enunciates his “T”s.

For years Galloway has been telling us how much he likes Toronto FC, the noodles at Pacific Mall, the Wychwood Barns, and his Christie Pits neighbourhood (he told BlogTO twice). Galloway knows what he likes, and Toronto is definitely one of those things.

So if not Galloway himself, it looks like the city around him has changed. It was a year fraught with divisive political rhetoric, and all the while there was Galloway diligently stitching the city together, just like always. And we needed him to do that, to keep reminding us of all the good things, this year more than most.

He’s just the kind of art-loving, bike-riding locavore (who works in public radio to boot) that the divisive rhetoric tells us right-leaning city councillors would despise. But Galloway garners praise there too, with councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong (Ward 34, Don Valley East) telling the Grid that “Matt asks good questions and he gives you a fair shake.” Galloway’s interviews have become so integral to shaping the political discourse that he even got a shout out from Toronto’s hunkiest policy wonk, Ryan Gosling.

This is as much a celebration of Metro Morning as a whole as it is of Galloway himself. The team of producers do an impeccable job curating a collection of news, community events, art being made, sports being played, people being interesting, and, of course, music that represents the entirety of this city, not just the political bummers. Most important for the city’s well-being, Galloway and the Metro Morning team remind listeners that there’s a lot to love here. And we love them for that.