Monthly Archive: May 2018

Statues and a bust

At this time of year, the portion of the University of Toronto campus near me is a beautiful place to walk. Beds of daffodils and tulips bloomed in abundance followed by pungent lilacs, flowering crab and the tall candles of horse chestnut trees. Amid the floral splendour around St. Michael’s and Victoria College are representations and remembrances of people from the university’s past who were global figures in their fields. Here one finds the coachhouse that beginning in 1968 served as the centre for Marshall McLuhan’s program in culture and technology. McLuhan’s foresight on so many topics was daunting. Nearby is one of...

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Healing the frazzled mind

You remember Yoko Ono? The one who broke up The Beatles? Or rode the death of John Lennon to fame? But what people forget is that Yoko Ono was an accomplished artist long before meeting Lennon in 1966. To paraphrase The Ballad of John and Yoko, “You know you didn’t even give her a chance.” Yoko Ono’s exhibition at Toronto’s Gardiner Museum, The Riverbed, is fun, interactive, and makes you think. The room is divided into three parts. The first is a scree of rocks collected from the Colorado River, hundreds of them, weighing three tons in all. But they’re...

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The ears have it

I was riding in a car recently with a young driver who might have been in his early 20s. Rap was playing. He asked, “Do you like this music?” “No,” I said, “they finally invented a music I don’t like.” He quickly switched to Sirius channels from the 70s and 80s featuring songs from artists like Bob Seger and Gary Wright. I was a happy man, transported into the past via streaming music. If such technology doesn’t appeal, you’ll be interested to know that there is likely a group of ancient rockers playing a concert in a venue near you. Among the multiple touring bands...

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Happy warriors

When I recently learned that Centre Block on Parliament Hill was closing for ten years of renovation, I knew I had to take a nostalgia tour. Ten years could mean fifteen, or even twenty. If it took that long, I’d be in my nineties and might not be around for the outcome. I wanted to discover what was the same and what had changed since I worked on the Hill in the 1970s. Because I’d been press secretary for the Leader of the Opposition, I first wanted to look at Room 409-S. So I wrote to the current occupant, the Honourable Andrew Scheer, and received a...

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