Friday Afternoon Visit to Marshall McLuhan’s Home

Place as Historical Site and Mediated Experience

A Participatory Session at Marshall McLuhan’s Boyhood Home


The Idea of Place

Space and Culture 20th Anniversary Conference University of Alberta, 2017

Chelsea Boos, ArtsHab Edmonton

Marco Adria, University of Alberta

Stuart McKay, McLuhan Family

To media theorist Marshall McLuhan, “print culture” is individualistic and critical, reflected in the practice of private and silent reading, while “electric culture” is characterized by speed and many things happening at once. This session will offer participants the experience of thinking about place in different ways, using different senses, and considering historical artifacts and virtual prompts.

The boyhood home of Marshall McLuhan is protected for posterity by the City of Edmonton as a historic site, through a partnership with ArtsHab, a City of Edmonton cultural organization. This session will invite 40 participants to travel by chartered bus to McLuhan House. Enroute, a narrator will refer to local places associated with McLuhan’s association with Edmonton, beginning with his birth in 1911 through his family’s residence in the city during one of its boom and bust periods, and then to his return to the city for intellectual collaborations with Edmontonians including playwright Wilfred Watson and novelist Sheila Watson. Arriving at the house, participants will use mobile phones to scan QR codes annotating historical photos on display. The photos, curated by Michael McLuhan, the youngest of Marshall’s children, reveal the family life of the young Marshall McLuhan. A discussion about media history will be followed by a lively participatory event using the Tetrad – the “four laws of media” McLuhan devised as an alternative to western philosophy’s dialectic.

Participants will be invited to experience the McLuhan TV Wall, an art-media installation created by University of Alberta professors and students. The installation displays on vintage television sets, documentary images and sounds of Marshall McLuhan’s many appearances on U.S. and Canadian television, from the early 1950s until the late 1970s.


  • 2:00pm: pick up for bus ride to McLuhan House at Tory Building, Saskatchewan Drive (or alternatively meet 2:30pm at McLuhan House, 11342 64 Street)
  • 2:00pm to 2:30pm: Edmonton History Talk during the bus ride to McLuhan House
  • 2:30pm to 4:00pm: Visit of McLuhan House, including Tetrad workshop and McLuhan history scavenger hunt
  • 4:00pm: Leaving McLuhan House with drop off at Coast Edmonton Plaza Hotel, 10155 105 Street

We are very excited about this opportunity to explore the McLuhan House as part of the conference and look forward to an adventures Friday afternoon. The spots for this event, however, are limited. If you would like to participate in this event, please click on the following link and fill out the form to reserve yourself a spot:

The Registration Deadline for this event is Friday, 28th of April 2017. Please note that there is a donation fee for this event to compensate for any costs such as transportaion, etc. We suggest a donation of $5.