Barry’s Wander, Winter 2024

 In Barry's Wander, Blog, Carol Arcus, Chelsea Attwell, Diana Maliszewski, Directors, Executive, Irene Faiz, media literacy, Neil Andersen, Nina Silver, Professional Development, Resources

l to r: Nina Silver; Carol Arcus; Wayne Arcus; Chelsea Attwell; Neil Andersen; Irene Faiz; Don Kwan


As a tribute to our leader and past mentor Barry Duncan, inspired by the teachings of Marshall McLuhan, AML has for years embraced the notion of critical engagement with our environments to better understand ourselves and society. We call it “Barry’s Wander”. January 20th marked a special day for a small but happy band of enthusiasts who gathered for a Barry’s Wander at the newly revamped (2021) Union Station. Among them were Neil Andersen, Carol and Wayne Arcus, Chelsea Attwell, Irene Faiz, and Nina Silver accompanied by her husband David. (Our adventurous colleague Diana Maliszewski joined us a bit later, but is unfortunately not in the photo.)


Irene Faiz and our colleague and fan, artist Don Kwan


The excursion was made even more delightful by an unexpected encounter with Don Kwan, an artist whose work had been featured in Irene Faiz’s classroom art lessons. Don was there to open his new installation – Material Memories – at the Craft Ontario Gallery. It seemed fitting that he join our adventure, perhaps intrigued by the prospect of dissecting everyday environments through the lens of media literacy.


Looking through the lens of Don Kwan’s business card


The Great Hall, Union Station


Union Station is one of Toronto’s most iconic buildings, and one of the busiest commuter hubs in North America. The Union Station Revitalization Project (USRP), completed in 2021, extended the life and significance of this important landmark. You can read about the project here. McLuhan reminded us that architecture itself is a form of media, shaping our perceptions and interactions with the environment. So as we delved into the heritage and Art Deco design of the Great Hall, we also couldn’t help but notice the ironic juxtaposition between its grandeur and the poignant narrative depicted in the Indigenous murals. Blake Angeconeb’s vibrant artwork served as a powerful reminder of our complex and fraught colonial history.

Blake Angeconeb at Union Station


Fun art at the new bus terminal that connects from Union Station.


Canada Post (formerly Royal Mail Canada)


As we wandered, we stumbled upon a treasure trove of trinkets and souvenirs at the Studio Ghibli memorabilia store – Japanese pop culture at its finest!  It offers a glimpse into the whimsical world of Japanese pop culture. That day, they were showcasing the newest Ghibli film, The Boy and the Heron. This film represents the pinnacle of Hayao Miyazaki‘s art – all still hand-drawn at Studio Ghibli.




CN Tower through the lens of Union Station’s underground PATH network


Some of us couldn’t resist indulging in the delectable treats offered by the Danish Pastry House, a respite on our urban odyssey.


Our quest eventually led us to Union Chicken, which after much scouting provided a great spot to unwind and share lively conversation over lunch.

To our readers, we extend an open invitation to join us on our next journey of discovery, and perhaps offer suggestions for what that might be!

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