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As Dave Fisher retires, so does Tomato Talk

Tomato Talk’s Gary Beauvais, left, says goodbye to his friend Dave Fisher’s show. (Courtesy Gary Beauvais)

By: Gary Beauvais, The Eastern Door’s Gardening Guru

It’s a wrap. The Dave Fisher era in Montreal English radio is no more. Dave removed the clamshells from his head for the last time this past Sunday morning at his farewell broadcast at the ground-level CJAD studios.

Those who needed news weather and sports to start their weekend mornings tuned into CJAD and Dave’s World.

Thirty-two years in the same chair on the same radio station is unheard of: A radio professional like no other.

Born in Winnipeg and raised in Toronto, Dave began his radio career when he turned 18 years old and never looked back. With stints in western Canada and many radio stations in Ontario, Dave landed in Montreal at CFCF.

Some of his fondest memories at CFCF were getting to know the legendary baseball player and Expos broadcaster Duke Snider and iconic Expos play-by-play man Dave Van Horn.

On a Friday afternoon 32 years ago, Dave received word he was fired. Later that afternoon he was hired at CJAD and never looked back.

He ended his reign on his own terms. He operated his radio show on his own terms. He always had high ratings and the largest share of Montreal English radio listeners.

If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it. Management never interfered with what Dave did on his radio show. He was proud of that fact. As Dave strolled the halls, anyone he encountered always took a step back.

Dave ran a well-oiled machine. Early in the week, researching and staying on top of current events. Reviewing mail and the many books that came, sent by publishers looking to get on his show for a plug and their publication.

At the end of the week on Thursday’s Dave would contact all his contributors and lineup that coming weekend’s show. Early on Friday morning he would head to the downtown studios and prepare. He would record all the advertisements that everyone has come to know.

Come the weekend, he was up and at him, ready to go. Come noontime on Sunday, he was out of there.

Straight home to be with his beloved wife, “she who must be obeyed” Ardy and his two beloved pooches.

Dave was a private man and he disliked publicity and the limelight, which he managed to stay out of for the most part.

I got to know Dave and his wife on a different level that few did. First and foremost, His wife, home and pets were his world.

Contributing by doing Tomato Talk for 15 years, I have come to know Dave.

Always keeping on top of his home doing minor and major renovations, he took pride in his well-kept lawn. His well-manicured flower planting beds and all his plant containers were meticulously cared for.

He loved nature and all the trees that were on his property. He loved houseplants, and has dozens. He loves old collectible McCoy Pottery, which housed most of his houseplants.

He and his wife loved to travel and they have seen many parts of the world. In his retirement, travelling is on the top of his bucket list.

Dave’s sad departure also sees the end of Tomato Talk. Having contributed on Dave’s World for the past 15 years talking gardening early Saturday mornings. I am forever grateful for Dave’s confidence in me to give to his listeners what they wanted to hear.

Now it has sunken in. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t sad. Definitely not upset or bitter. Very sad for the listeners who wanted Tomato Talk to continue and even expanded to a one-hour show.

It had become part of my life the past 15 years, always thinking about Tomato Talk and putting together the next show, and in some cases the next few shows in my mind as I went about life’s daily chores.

Hard on myself when I felt my last show was not my best, my children only ever knew I was on the radio – starting the stint when they were very young and Emily was born two years after I started tomato Talk.

I have made many new friends along the way. It was fun 98 percent of the time and then there was that 2 percent, when I woke up Saturday mornings with a hangover. Those weren’t fun shows to do.

Bon Voyage Dave!

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