Frank Lloyd Wright

The Informer

Random Stuff

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Toronto vs. Chicago: mayors, ballparks and nicknames edition

After hearing that Chicago is crazy jealous of Toronto’s annual Luminato festival—and the international tourists it attracts—we got to wondering how Hogtown really stacks up against its similarly sized cousin. We looked at everything from restaurants named Acadia to notable rich guys to talk show hosts extraordinaire (and a whole bunch of other admittedly arbitrary categories). Here’s how the two cities compare in matters civic.

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The Informer

Real Estate

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House of the Week: $1.6 million for a Scarborough home with hints of Frank Lloyd Wright

ADDRESS: 9 Annis Road

NEIGHBOURHOOD: Guildwood

AGENTS: Caroline Ilaqua and Ron Baldwin, Royal LePage Estate Realty

PRICE: $1,650,000

THE PLACE: Architect Wayne Olson transformed a once boring ranch-style bungalow on a hill overlooking the Scarborough Bluffs into a roomy modern home.

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The Informer

Real Estate

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Cottage of the Week: $5 million for a palatial spread in the heart of ski country

ADDRESS: 201 Brophys Lane

REGION: Blue Mountains, Ontario

AGENT: Veronica Lord, Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, Brokerage

PRICE: $4,950,000

THE PLACE: A muscular, Frank Lloyd Wright–inspired four-bedroom on Georgian Bay.

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The Informer

Real Estate

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House of the Week: $2.9 million for architectural elegance in the middle of Mississauga (no, really)

ADDRESS: 1420 Birchview Drive

NEIGHBOURHOOD: Lorne Park, Mississauga

AGENT: Jennifer Rebecca Labrecque, Royal LePage Credit Valley Real Estate, Brokerage

PRICE: $2,950,000

THE PLACE: A massive, contemporary stunner in Mississauga’s ritzy Lorne Park neighbourhood (an area so Beemer- and Botox-filled it has its own housewives reality show).

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The Informer

Features

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In the ’60s, Marshall McLuhan was Toronto’s most famous intellectual; now, the world has finally caught up with him

In the ’60s,  McLuhan was hobnobbing with celebrities, advising politicians and forever changing how we think about mass media. A hundred years after his birth, the world has finally caught up with his theories

Marshall McLuhan

Marshall McLuhan. (Image: Robert Lansdale Photography/University of Toronto Archives)

Nineteen sixty-five was the turning point of Marshall McLuhan’s career—the Annus McLuhanis, the Year of Marshall Law, the heady, vertiginous breakout of McLuhan-mania. It was the year the irreverent journalist Tom Wolfe published a star-making profile of the Canadian media guru in the New York Herald Tribune that repeatedly asked, in Wolfe’s typically antic, hyperbolic way: what if he is right? “Suppose he is what he sounds like,” Wolfe wrote, “the most important thinker since Newton, Darwin, Freud, Einstein and Pavlov, studs of the intelligentsia game—suppose he is the oracle of the modern times?”

In the 40-odd years since Wolfe first posed this question, many others have asked it again and again. McLuhan was right about so many things. Browse his books, dip into any of the interviews he gave, and almost every probing, aphoristic utterance feels preternaturally prescient. Decades before doomsayers decried the Internet’s negative rewiring of the brain, he dramatically outlined the psychic, physical and social consequences: “One of the effects of living with electric information is that we live habitually in a state of information overload. There’s always more than you can cope with.” He predicted the slow death of magazines and newspapers: “The monarchy of print has ended and an oligarchy of new media has usurped most of the power of that 500-year-old monarchy.” And he foresaw the rise of crowd-sourced news: “If we pay careful attention to the fact that the press is a mosaic, participant kind of organization and a do-it-yourself kind of world, we can see why it is so necessary to democratic government.” McLuhan anticipated reality TV long before it was a glimmer in the Survivor producer Mark Burnett’s eye: “I used to talk about the global village; I now speak of it more properly as the global theatre. Every kid is now concerned with acting. Doing his thing outside and raising a ruckus in a quest for identity.” When, in his bestselling book The Medium is the Massage, he wrote, “Wars, revolutions, civil uprisings are interfaces within the new environments created by electric informational media,” he could have been writing about how Twitter and Facebook shaped the Arab Spring. The world that McLuhan conjured is a world that now looks an awful lot like ours.

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The Informer

Real Estate

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House of the Week: $3.3 million for an homage to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater

ADDRESS: 80 North Drive

NEIGHBOURHOOD:  Edenbridge-Humber Valley

AGENT: Richard Sherman, broker; Barbara Kaplan and Edith Weiss, salespersons, Slavens and Associates Real Estate Inc. Brokerage.

PRICE: $3,295,000

THE PLACE: Nestled in a greenbelt and sitting atop a riverbank, the 6,600-square-foot house comprises four split levels cascading down a verdant hillside toward nearby Silver Creek. Skylights littered throughout and an outdoor courtyard dividing one side of the home from the other blend the surrounding environs with the interior space, which features South American Cumaru (also known as Brazilian teak) floors, granite walls in the bathroom and exposed, accented structural elements.

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