Farewell Andy Barrie

Andy Barrie has been a household name for almost a generation of CBC
listeners in Toronto. As of Monday March 1, he will be gone from the

After a 45-year career in radio, Barrie announced Feb. 1 that he would retire. The CBC report about his decision quoted him:  “A guy’s got just so much stamina. You have been there and done
that, and it’s time to do something new … If we go back to my student radio days hosting something called The
Suppertime Show in university, I’ve been doing daily radio now for 45
of my 65 years. Forty-five years of me doing the talking and you doing
the listening. Well, it’s that part of the conversation where it’s time
to say, well, enough about me.”

Wrote Richard Ouzounian in the Toronto Star, “Despite considerable career success, the last few years have been tough
ones for Barrie. In 2007, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease;
last year his wife, Mary, died of lung cancer.”

In his Globe and Mail
column Rick Salutin attributed Barrie’s success to the respect he
showed to listeners: “he treats us as citizens who share public, social

“Andy is like the Platonic model of what Canadian public broadcasting
should be. This is despite the fact that he grew up in the United
States, came here as a deserter in the Vietnam years and spent most of
his career in private radio. Or maybe it’s because of those things,”
wrote Salutin.  “He’s also the model of a public intellectual, a vague,
overused term. Usually, it means a guy who talks like a prof but
doesn’t work at a university, or someone with tenure who goes on TV a
lot. But it suits Andy: The intellectual part since, when he’s on air,
you sense a mind at work in real time, a rare thing in media.”

Check out some photos from a reception for Barrie at CBC’s Toronto headquarters on the Inside the CBC blog.