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This way to Wychwood Park

Our trip today to see Marshall McLuhan’s old home was inspired by this Andrew Horne painting. It plays off a vintage photo of an old sign, but replaces the words with a quote from McLuhan’s The Medium is the Massage.

horne-mcluhanSigned, limited edition prints available at the Flying Pony Gallery/Café

Brian Hickey spotted a print of the painting in Andrew’s café and realized that it would be a perfect image-icon for changes his wife is implementing as new principal of her school. Jolanta agreed and bought one of the larger prints for her office wall.

Brian also mentioned that, as a young man driving a delivery truck, he had visited the McLuhan home on a few occasions. He didn’t remember the address exactly, but it was in Wychwood Park. Danica and I went to find it.

Brian might not recognize the place now. A helpful neighbour said it used to be white with a very traditional green trim. She also said we should note the carvings that have been done on the trunk of a dead tree by the driveway.

Around back, the house sports an added-on deck that McLuhan would never have seen, but might have liked. It offers a splendid view over a natural pond, fed by the underground Taddle Creek. The neighbour told us that a lad had released his pet turtle into the pond during WW I. It lived there for many decades, growing bigger and bigger, until it was removed to a sanctuary while the pond was cleaned up. It did not survive to return. Is the little turtle we saw a relative? Not likely. Someone probably put him/her in there. Pet goldfish are put in, too, and grow to be very large.

Anyway, that’s where Canada’s best-known media guru used to live. Not too shabby. You’d never know that it was smack in the middle of urban Toronto, near Bathurst and Davenport.

Wychwood Park consists of private yards and houses, heavily treed and gardened, but without fences and sidewalks. Winding asphalt streets are open for the public to walk through. The area has been described as a gated community where the gates are open. It would be a lovely place to live, but extremely expensive to buy into. Homes come on the market rarely. McLuhan’s present owner purchased the house about 7 years ago. We were told who it is, but why intrude on their privacy?

A sensible answer

A tourist was visiting a small village in Newfoundland. He approached a local person and asked “What’s the quickest way to Marystown?”

The local, scratched his head. “Are ya walkin’ ER drivin’?” he asked the stranger. “I’m driving,” said the stranger.

“Well, that’s the quickest way.” said the Newfie.

Thanks to Ian and his sister Eileen

Clothes shopping in the cloud


I don’t like clothes shopping, so I would welcome an opportunity to make the process more convenient and efficient. In my limited experience, online shopping isn’t it. How is it better to guess how something will look, fit and feel, wait for it to be shipped, try it on and then send it back? Or take it back to the store?

Online shopping destroys the hope of a shopping commando raid, where you go into a store, try on a few candidate items, pick one if you’re lucky, and get out fast. If you leave empty-handed, at least that’s fast too.

Online shopping sucks you into a vortex of choice, speculation, comparison, guesswork and review reading. Too much information, too much time wasted. It is neither efficient nor convenient and you are still quite likely to come up empty-handed because you haven’t tried anything on.

You could try something on in a store, note its product ID and size if you like it, order it online, and wait for it. This isn’t better. Your time is probably worth a lot more than any small savings you may achieve.

A perfect Autumn afternoon

John and Ruth Colombo live a couple of doors away from Dell Park. I went over today to visit and they treated me to a surprise lunch at the Columbus Centre. Thank you both! The food there is terrific.


After lunch, I persuaded John and Ruth to pose with a colourful art display in the Columbus Centre lobby. Then we went back to their patio for conversation and enjoyment of the very fair weather. There won’t be many more days like this, so we didn’t waste it.

As John gave me a lift to the subway, he suggested that next time, I might read the history now posted in the park. The photo below will be a surprise. Click the “Read more” …

Read more

Moon shot with tiny camera


I’m amazed that little point-and-shoot cameras can capture craters on the Moon. I just zoomed in to the max while holding the camera steady on a fence.

The Moon is getting very large as it reaches its orbit approaches the closest point to Earth on Sunday. That’s Supermoon night and it will be a Blood Moon in Earth’s shadow, to boot. Just practicing to see what I might be able to capture if the clouds stay away.

The annual woodpile shot

A little earlier than past years, but right on time. Autumn begins September 23rd.

As it happens, it was a good thing to get our fireplace stock before the rush. We got the end of last year’s supply, so our wood has been drying for an extra year. Two face cords will last us until April.