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?

3 thoughts on “This way to Wychwood Park

  1. Good summary of a very nice day – even lucky with our TTC connections.

    Good slideshow too, but I don’t know about that turtle…I was watching it all through our chat with the kind resident/friend of Wychwood Park. It didn’t move an iota over a time span of 10-15 minutes. And now that I see your photo it looks like the shell is real but nothing else. The head looks oddly metallic and the leg looks nailed down. There are other objects afixed to the log that lead me to believe it’s actually an art piece.

    What do you think?

  2. It didn’t move, but I thought it was basking in the sun. Now that you mention it, though, it WAS very, very still. The inclusions of coloured hooks spikes and rope suggest artwork, too.

    So what do I think? I think you’re right and I think you’re pretty smart.

    I wonder if that neighbour lady knows and kept a straight face. She was looking at it when we arrived, calling our attention to it.

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