Tuesday, 2 September 2014


A Discussion with an Actual Former York University Student about Richard Rohmer’s Red Arctic

A former York University student responded to questions from Reading Richard Rohmer by email. Here is a transcript of the exchange, edited to remove some sections for reasons of national security

Reading Richard Rohmer: The plot of Richard Rohmer's Red Arctic hinges on York University in 1989. Turns out? Riddled with sexy Soviet agents. Was this your experience?

Eileen Gallagher McPhee: York in the 80's did feel like I imagined Siberia would feel like so the Soviet agents might work. I was only there at night and the parking lots were vast and chilly.

Reading Richard Rohmer: Can I quote you -- anonymously, if you'd like -- about York on the Rohmer blog? Do you want to comment? Do you want to add anything?

Eileen Gallagher McPhee: Quote freely… Full disclosure I was actually at York from 1990-92 so the agents may have left by then.


  1. It would be interesting to see which professors disappeared after the Fall 1991 semester.

    I read about York years before my first visit. This would've been when reviewing Linda Frum's Guide to Canadian Universities. Wish I could remember what she wrote. That said, I can share this, from a 2010 Maclean's interview:

    Q: You called York University “ugly, impersonal, bleak, isolated and depressing.”
    A: I was there recently, and they have tried very hard to change that. Actually, they’ve put up some quite wonderful buildings.

    And now this, from a 2003 Globe and Mail profile of Howard Sokolowski, Linda Frum's husband:

    Mr. Sokolowski, 51, builds homes by the thousands, mainly in the 905 belt, through his company, Tribute Communities. He is the guy who "doesn't put the garage door in the front of the house," he says; his latest venture is what he calls an "integrated" community of 500 homes near York University.

    Senator Linda Frum is a Stephen Harper appointee.

  2. This is all starting to sound rather frightening - when I hear the word "York", I should be thinking of peppermint patties. Now I am worried that we have stumbled onto something that will see us start to disappear.

    But wait -are there "actual" York students at all, current or former? Maybe no-one has ever gone there - what proof do we have? Maybe this alleged former student doesn't exist. Maybe Chris, you've played into her trap. Lock your doors - she may be coming for you AS WE SPEAK.

  3. "[Evil laughter]"
    - former York "student"