The renovated Marshall McLuhan house located at 11342 – 64 Street now open to the public was originally built for McLuhan’s father in 1912, the year that the Highlands neighbourhood was named. One hundred years later, the Edmonton Arts Council acquired the house, which was being eyed up by a developer who wanted to build a larger home on the site. Designated a municipal historic resource in 2013, the house will now play host to an artist-in-residence program.
This is at the highest point of the Highlands, so it’s a development opportunity,” says Linda Huffman, executive director of Arts Habitat Edmonton.
Although McLuhan only lived in Edmonton until he was four years old, the EAC hopes that whichever artist ends up working in the house’s studio (a large, heated garage space that was built by a later owner) engages with some of his ideas.
We wanted to find a way to honour Marshall and his legacy in Edmonton,” Huffman says. “When we took this project people said: ‘Oh, it’s just a little project.’ But what we learned is a little project is just as big as a big project.
The McLuhan House is indeed a small sign of big things to come. Arts Habitat Edmonton is working with the city to open the Arts Common on 118 Avenue and the Artist Quarters on 96 Street downtown. Unlike the McLuhan House, both of these developments will include apartments, not just studio space. But the little house has its own quiet charm—complete with friendly neighbours and a small library of McLuhan’s work.
I love the fact that this is a modest house,” Huffman says. “It’s not one of the mansions on Ada Boulevard.
The house is open to the public for tours on the first Monday of each month, from 2 pm until 6 pm.
adapted from an article on Vue Magazine’s website by Ryan Bromsgrove
See more about Herbert Marshall Mcluhan (1911 – 1979) in this three part lecture recorded by ABC Radio National Network on 27 June 1979 in Australia:
See more about Marshall McLuhan at: www.marshallmcluhan.com