Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

A message from one medium

  • Print

The recent big piece I did on the centenary of Marshall McLuhan’s birth drew one of the largest positive email responses I can remember in quite a while.

You can read it here.

Email responses, more or less, generally come signed by reasonable and thoughtful adults, unlike the posted responses from people hiding behind the anonymity of ‘Internet handles’....but I digress.

People had a variety of ideas for honouring McLuhan, who moved here at the age of three, attended Gladstone, Earl Grey, and Kelvin, and received his first two degrees, a BA and a master’s, at the University of Manitoba.

They suggested the obvious to honour McLuhan — a street, a school — and some more novel ideas, such as picking up on the suggestion of his son Eric McLuhan a few years back, to establish an outside-the-box school of communications here.

But if there was any consensus, it was a sense of being appalled that Winnipeg has virtually ignored the genius who grew up here, and who is possibly the best-known Winnipegger internationally. His centenary was celebrated far and wide, but not in Winnipeg.

Yes, U of M named a reception room after McLuhan in 2004.

These days, university buildings tend to get named after major benefactors, and it’s highly unlikely that Winnipeg School Division will get a new school built — replacement schools, probably, but not a completely new one.

It’s not unheard-of for schools to be renamed, though we’re still waiting on a school named after Terry Fox. But I digress again.

The city was apparently far too busy honouring Gene Simmons to follow the lead of Edmonton — McLuhan was born there, but left at the age of three — which celebrated his birthday with a special day, amid a much lengthier academic celebration organized by the University of Alberta.

But why in the world would Winnipeg School Division not want to proclaim to its 34,000 or so children that its schools had educated a global genius?

Talk about role models and sources of inspiration.....


Earl Grey principal Gail Singer has mused that maybe the school could honour McLuhan when Earl Grey marks its own 100th in 2015.

That’s a good start.

Surely a lot of you have some innovative ways to tell the world that Marshall McLuhan was one of us. How about sharing them?

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

About Nick Martin

Nick Martin is the old bearded guy at the back of the newsroom, the most experienced reporter at the Winnipeg Free Press, having started his career in Ontario in 1971.

He’s been covering education for the Free Press since the spring of 1997, after decades primarily covering municipal politics, including a four-year stint at the Ontario legislature for the London Free Press.

Nick moved to Manitoba in 1988 with his Winnipeg-born wife, who is a professor at the University of Manitoba. They have two kids, both of whom graduated from Grant Park High School: son Chris and daughter Gillian.

Nick has won a national journalism award from the Canadian Association of University Teachers, two Manitoba Human Rights Journalism awards, and the Ontario Reporters Association investigative award.

Nick is a long-distance runner, having finished and survived 18 marathons and 15 half-marathons and 30-kilometre races, and having (barely) survived 10 years as an outdoor and indoor soccer coach.

Nick became a soccer referee in 2007, delighting in his 60s in outrunning 16-year-olds and keeping his distance from obstreperous coaches and parents.

Nick and his wife have discovered a mutual love for kayaking at their Whiteshell cottage, and are both regulars at the Reh-Fit Centre. They hold season tickets to both the Manitoba Theatre Centre and the Warehouse, and as empty nesters, have rediscovered the joys of an active winter vacation.

A native of Jarrow-on-Tyne, England, Nick is a member of the Toon Army as a Newcastle United supporter, and a proud citizen of Leafs Nation.

Ads by Google