Barry’s Wander 2014

October 5, 2014 – See below for a walking tour guide ?



Barry Duncan, the founding president of The Association for Media Literacy (AML), was a local, national and international provocateur, advocating and innovating media literacy education for over 40 years. Barry guided the efforts of the Association, fostered sister associations in other provinces, forged fruitful relationships with media educators around the world, produced  resources and taught Media Studies Additional Qualifications courses. Barry died in June, 2012.

Of his many contributions to media literacy learning, the most effective—if not the most fun—was the Mall Crawl or City Walk. Participants perambulated along a predetermined route, applying media analyses and critical thinking skills to their environments, whether architecture, signage, sounds, merchandise, traffic or fellow pedestrians. The value of the walks lay in their acknowledgment that the seemingly banal and everyday aspects of our lives are potentially rich cultural texts deserving of examination.

Barry was a friend and mentor to many AML members, and so we want to remember him with a walk in his honour.

We enjoyed a very pleasant Barry’s Walk on October 5, 2014. It was cool, calm and sunny. The company was convivial and stimulating.

You may have been on walks before, perhaps with Barry. Or you may enjoy the opportunity to walk and talk with others who share your enthusiasm for media literacy. This year we wandered Vogue’s second hippest district: Queen St. West.

Among other sights, we saw an original home, a vestige of the suburban Queen West neighbourhood. (south side of Queen just west of Gore Vale)

Original Home

Here are some highlights of the wander that you might enjoy exploring:

The wander involves casting a critical gaze at the Queen West environment from the stores to the sidewalk and the pedestrians.

The older buildings of the area date from the mid-19th Century (1860), before Confederation when the area was an industrial suburb.

Look at the architecture and imagine how the buildings might have been in 1860. How have they been modified for 2014?


Queen Street West has been favoured by Vogue because of its trendy shopping. Look at High Street. How does its design suggest fashion and elegance?

high street


How does the merchandise in Kol Kid (670 Queen) represent children? To which demographic groups does it appeal?

Kul Kid

Magpie creates custom clothing and counts Prince among its clients. How does the store’s design represent its ethos?



How might the use of chalk on chalkboards contribute to Cumbrae‘s marketing effects?


How might the term ‘experimental jewelry’ influence the trendy quality of Anne Sportun‘s store (742 Queen)?

Anne Sportun

The Trinity Bellwoods Park Gates date from 1860. How does their design match the original Trinity College?


What statement might they have made to the Torontonians who attended the College?

How might the graffiti at the end of the Park signal the artsy qualities of the neighbourhood?


All of the fixtures in Gravity Pope were imported from Argentina. How might this influence shoppers’ feelings about the store and merchandise?


The Toronto Insane Asylum was on the south side of Queen and Ossington. What now occupies that space?


What feelings do you get from the book shelves in the Drake Hotel bar?


The Gladstone House was across the street from the Parkdale train station and served businessmen visiting the area. What feeling do you get from the hotel?


What important aspects of this Wander have been omitted from this guide?

Leave a Reply