How Andy Barrie made me leave Ontario

Next month we’ll be celebrating 10 years on Prince Edward Island as refugees from Ontario.

All along I’d thought we’d been forced to leave Ontario because of the rise of the Mike Harris Tories, because of increasing movie prices, because of the introduction of toll highways, because of the conversion of Woolco stores to Wal-Marts, because all of our friends got divorced and reconstituted in confusing pairs.

Today I finally realized the truth of the matter: we were forced out of Ontario by Andy Barrie.

During my formative years, the host of the local CBC Radio morning show was Joe Coté. From 1979 to 1992 — from the time I was 13 until I turned 26 — Coté hosted Metro Morning. Along with his breezy traffic sidekick Jim Curran he enlightened and entertained the listenership from “dark and early” 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. every morning. And he became burned into my mind as the archetypal CBC radio host.

In the intervening years, Andy Barrie has become ensconced in Joe’s position. Because we live here and he broadcasts there, I’ve never heard Andy Barrie. Until today.

Today Andy Barrie filled in for Shelagh Rogers as host of Sounds Like Canada. Ack! Now I know why we had to leave Toronto: this man is not a host, he’s a bumbling, unfocused cardigan sweater. Whatever sharpness or wit is in the man is clouded in a mist of miscues and folksiness that is very annoying. How can you people in Ontario stand to listen to this morning after morning?

Luckily we have no such problems here on Prince Edward Island, where we have eminently capable hosts morning, noon and night.

By the way, it appears as though Jim Curran is still at it. This means he’s been reporting on the Toronto traffic scene for more than 30 years. Doesn’t he ever get bored?


jAY's picture
jAY on December 5, 2009 - 22:02 Permalink

First off, I should say that I have found very, very few talk radio shows that could compel me to listen for any length of time, let alone tune in regularly.

Andy Barrie is what drew me to start listening to CBC again a few years ago after a decade-long absence. I think he’s a fine host, but I particularly like the chemistry of the team as a whole, and the format of the show. I am happy that the amount of music played is fairly small, but when they play it they are generally introducing me to something new. I don’t like all of it, I could ignore most of it, but for the few gems I’ve been exposed to, I am very happy.

I’m not sure such a poll exists, but I’m pretty sure the folks here who dislike Barrie are in the minority. I would be shocked if there were a more popular radio host in Toronto.

mike's picture
mike on December 10, 2009 - 15:58 Permalink

I can’t imagine CBC morning radio without Andy, the great Andy Barry. We Love you Andy, and please keep up the excellent work. As for those losers who posted the above trash, my Toronto doesn’t need you, so go away and vanish forever.

Tom Gaspick's picture
Tom Gaspick on December 21, 2009 - 16:42 Permalink

I happened upon your site while searching for the name of Metro Morning’s earlier host and bingo!; there it was — Joe Cote. Thank you so much. Now I can get back to my own blog post about the decline of the CBC.

I’ve come to think that Metro Morning ought to get a new name. “A.M. Angst” comes to mind.

Z.'s picture
Z. on December 26, 2009 - 23:43 Permalink

Hello, speaking as an American who made a go of living in Toronto—and could only last 13 months there, from Sept. ‘08—Oct. ‘09— I can totally understand why the OP “Ruk” here left Toronto. Clearly an intelligent gent.

Like 99.9% of Americans, I never noticed, cared about or visited Toronto, Ontario. It took only a year there to understand WHY Toronto is never on any Americans vacation itinerary—let alone the wack-ass notion of living there (egads! what was I thinking?). A flat, drab landscape of gray, dumpy row houses (Dufferin for example)—with a downtown core of gray concrete and steel hi-rises, utterly soulless, corporate and uninviting. Ugly, hulking gray concrete hi-rise apartment blocks dot the landscape for miles around.

Gridlock 24/7. Gray, overcast skies, 10 degrees with rain 80% of the year. TTC (“take the car”) is a sure way to get on Prozac fast: this subway is oftentimes so crowded you cannot physically enter the cars as humans are packed in there like friggin’ sardines in a tin. Just awful. Miserable immigrant faces glower at you from within the packed cars: “please wait for the next train, sorry no room”. Never saw anything so bad in my life. One wonders if GM, Ford or Chrysler in Detroit made a secret pact with the city of Toronto to keep the subway system so shitty, so dysfunctional, so horrible—in hopes of getting more passengers to give up and buy a car?? Most likely. Can’t think of any other reason for TTC to be the so bad.

But what really is the kicker about this sprawling, miserable, mediocre city is how OVERPRICED everything is. For example: buy a glass of beer on “the Danforth” is $10! Jesus christ! $10 for a glass of beer. This is just an example, as everything in Toronto is overpriced. Everything. Honestly I can see why housing in San Francisco is expensive, or in NYC. But Toronto!? There’s just no reason for anything to be too expensive in Toronto as its really just a large, crowded dumpy looking city with no real identity or claim to fame. In other words, Toronto is not worth its asking price. No way.

Special side-rant about “the Danforth”. Er, uh…ok. What is so special about a road lined with shops on either side? Is there something extraordinary about this? No. Are the shops unique in any special way? No: Starbucks (several of them), Tim Hortons, pizza joints, Greek souvlaki, etc. Pretty mundane stuff. But to read the local paper, or hear locals talk about “the Danforth” one would think it was an incredible strip like no other. But its not….its just a street with everyday stores on it.

Maybe the people who own and run Toronto thought that by raising the price of everything there it would be like NYC. Guess what? They were wrong. Toronto is an overpriced, crowded dump with no identity.

Malba's picture
Malba on February 1, 2010 - 17:43 Permalink

It was good to find this. I too cannot stand this a**hole. I’m sorry about his loss and his diagnose, but I am very happy with the fact that he is leaving the airwaves. Someone said in the comments that he only talks about immigrants. That is right. I am an immigrant and can’t stand that. Also, it is rare the day that some “gay issue” does not come up within 10 minutes of tuning to Metro Morning. It appears as though Toronto is all about gays and immigrants, if one judges from the program. The music is also horrible. I am still convinced that Mr. Barry — or someone of the production — has something going on with a Portuguese singer who is there yelling _all the time_. One cannot help but to jump out of bed to turn the damn radio off. The day has come when Mr. Barry will finally SHUT UP. Go back to the US, but no, wait, if he is a draft-dodger, he can’t go there, can he?

ktf's picture
ktf on February 1, 2010 - 18:15 Permalink

I suspect the phrase “miserable immigrant faces” provides all the insight I need into this poor, sad, ugly american. If you only want to see white faces, then it is certainly best to stay away from Toronto. On the other hand, if you like a vibrant, safe city to live in, Toronto ranks right there with the best of them.

Andy's picture
Andy on February 12, 2010 - 13:32 Permalink

Joe Cote is obviously an intelligent, witty man who, to our great benefit, happened to work on CBC radio for several years. Andy Barrie’s incredibly annoying personality and mannersims have prevented me from listening to “metro morning” for a very long time (I currently listen to another mother ship alum, Ralph Benmergui, on FM 91.1). I eagerly look forward to a new host for this show and hope that they have enough clout to move the show away from the “victim” radio that it became under Andy’s watch.

Heathen's picture
Heathen on March 24, 2010 - 16:05 Permalink

Andy is now officially gone. Welcome Matt Galloway.

Anybody else interested in kicking a man when he is out and dying?

Brian Perry's picture
Brian Perry on May 3, 2010 - 06:06 Permalink

CBC has spent years trying to replace Joe Cote, and so far nobody has even come close….i guess we can all pine for the glory days of CBC radio, when their on-air personalities actually HAD personalities, because, judging by what we’ve heard lately, that quality isn’t likely to return…..Metro Morning may be the top-rated morning radio program in Toronto at the moment, but that’s because of it’s lack of annoying commercials; it has little to do with who’s sitting in the host’s chair.

Michael Scott's picture
Michael Scott on February 7, 2012 - 14:07 Permalink

Sorry (for all of us), pal…..apparently you were wrong when you said Matt would improve things. Now that HE’S the morning host…….the subject matter STILL seems to be largely immigrants, gays (not that there’s anything wrong with them, especially if they ARE 10% of us) ……..AND baaaaaaaaaaaad music! Where DO they get that crap that Matt tries to pass for music?

Grace's picture
Grace on January 11, 2014 - 02:33 Permalink

Reading this string was hilarious! I too hated listening to Andy Barry, he interrupted a long love affair with CBC radio.. Searching Joe Cote, infondly remember his excellence.

not andy barrie's picture
not andy barrie on May 8, 2020 - 15:58 Permalink