Toronto, d. 11.October.2016
Veteran Toronto bike messenger and dispatcher
Rhys Downie passed away in his sleep on October 11, 2016.
Rhys had been a Toronto messenger and dispatcher since the 1980's.
He always had a smile and story. Rhys attended the first Cycle
Messenger World Championships in 1993. For me, Rhys will always be
a part of the story of how Alleycats races spread throughout the
world. When he was my dispatcher I would come to the office to
stand by and listen to his gravel voice tell stories of the old
Toronto music scene and messenger scene. Rhys told me the story of
making copies of alleycat race films and converting them to
European standards to show them at the first CMWC. It was those
films, in part, that led to the explosion of races in cities all
around the world after 1993.
- Joe Hendry
Another old messenger has left us. Rhys Downie was one of the first
messengers I met back in '90 when I was first getting into it and he
was one of the old boys already. Years later, we were swapping
dispatch stories. I'll miss you buddy...
- Rick Johnson
R.I.P. Rhys Downie another great soul surely missed. He was such a
nice and gentle guy. He had this feel good and love life spirit
about him genuinely nice guy he was.
- Xander Kwak Wilkes
R.I.P My friend you were always good to me I am going to miss you
Yes Rys Downie we all miss you. Such a good person. I remember him
telling me a story of how he got away with elbowing a driver in the
face. I laughed so hard.
- John MacNeil
Rhys Downie is gone. I am devastated. One of the good guys; one of
the best guys. Jeez, this one is like a suckerpunch to the gut. Such
a good man. Gentle, funny, interesting. And a good friend for
decades. I am so sad to see you go, Rhys. So sad. I'll miss you,
brother of the road.
- Mike Jursic
Was Pals with Rhys through the 60's till mid 70's then I moved to
the sticks..But was fortunate to have him come check out my Band
whenever we hit Larry's Hideaway & The Horseshoe...... We
had been Facebooking each other for years inviting each other out
for an Ale........Well Pal, like I wrote when I first heard you
passed...save me a seat and brew .....see ya on the Flip side..
- Brian Romper Renwick
OMG! This is heartbreaking I wish I had found out earlier, Im so
sorry for everyones loss, such a kind soul, I will surely miss you
Rhys Downie. I met him while dating Greg early 80s, they were both
bouncers at Lee's Palace.
Man, seems like we were just talking about getting together soon to
talk about old times! :( I just went to his page and seen
”remembering” !! I am in total shock!!! ...passed suddenly in
October, just days after I spoke with him!
RIP kind sir, much love to you I will never forget any of you guys!
Give Greg, & Steve Arnsby a kick in the ass for me ♥♥
- Michelle Seeley
He will be missed dearly...we started at the same time in the late
80s along with Toast my heart bleeds! I
will miss you buddy see you and the others on the flip side Happy
Trails till then Brother!
- Paul Gagner
I shouldn't say this but I had a great time at Rhy's wake.
At first I was crying saying "boo hoo Rhys died". As the
evening wore on things got jovial - it was great to see people I
hadn't seen in over ten years.
I saw Bebop, Sue, Steve Goof, Marek, Siobhan, Howie, Inka, Barbette,
all the good looking fashionista courier people. I met some
nice new people like Angie who came all the way from Kitchener.
Rhys knew everybody and last night showed how many people really
liked him. A kind, gentle soul who always had a twinkle in his
A big thank you to Amadeus Restaurant for the venue and appetizers
that were on the house.
- Trudy Wilner
Hi everyone I am Evan Downie, Rhys's brother.
There is a small memorial service being held tomorrow for family,
and invited friends.
As it is a small venue with limited space we respectfully ask if you
have not received an invitation, please do not to attend.
There may be other arrangements for memorials organized at a later
time. For anyone who would like to do so, using this platform would
be an excellent rally point.
Thank you to everyone for your kind thoughts, and comments.
- Evan Downie
Your brother Rhys Downie was an important piece of my Life's
puzzle... Evan, I was in Sudbury when I got the news, and didn't get
back 'til after the service; I got a mssg. (after the fact) from
Susana Rutherford that Shawn was trying to reach me - thank you for
The wake was a testimony to his open heart.
RHYS was the first guy I met when I moved to Toronto; he was
sporting a long-fringed buckskin jacket and cowboy boots.
I ended up going out with his best friend Richard....
We buried Richard together, then Emily. It was Rhys who came to my
door at 8am to tell me she'd died. She was my best friend.
Needless to say, we had huge history, and remained close (as you
know via. our Rivoli sighting!).
My heart goes out to you, Shawn, and your mom.
I'll love him always.
Take care, Evan. He loved you so much. It was my honour to know him
in so many different ways.
- Siobhan Lant
Rhys Downie... he kinda taught me the ropes of being a bike courier
and was my stalwart friend through those long years. I loved his
attitude towards life, jocular,caring,compassionate and sincere and
always the rebel at the same time... i am who i am partly because of
my time spent with him... keep the rubber side down and the painted
side up bud... you will be missed my brother
- Tim O'Neil
Not another one! Damn. Such a sad loss for all that knew him. Rest
easy and ride free!
Totally awesome human being!!!
RIP Old friend
- Jason Paul Davis