On February 15 I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Stuart McLean.
For those who don’t know, for more than 20 years Stuart was the host of the popular CBC radio show The Vinyl Cafe. For an hour every Saturday and Sunday Canadians around the globe tuned in to hear stories of Dave, the owner of the “Vinyl Cafe, the world’s smallest record store… We may not be big but we’re small.” The stories of Dave, his wife Morley, daughter Stephanie, son Sam and Arthur the dog were funny, heart warming and uniquely Canadian. The program also featured Canadian musicians and the Story Exchange (personal stories submitted by listeners).
Through the sharing of music and stories Stuart McLean brought Canadians together. This was never more evident than after his passing. Many people wrote in to CBC. They shared their stories, music and photos of how Stuart McLean brought their family together every weekend, or made them feel close to home while thousands of miles away, or lifted their spirits during a difficult time.
While reading all the touching tributes to Stuart I am reminded of my own 20 year relationship with the Vinyl Cafe and even longer still with CBC Radio. I admit I am a bit of a CBC Radio geek. I grew up in a village on the west coast of Vancouver Island and for a time lived on a sail boat with my parents. No matter how remote my locale I always had CBC Radio. It was my connection to arts and culture. From RSVP the Classical Music Request Show, The Royal Canadian Air Farce, Basic Black with Arthur Black, Sunday Morning and many more. CBC Radio always awoke my imagination and brought my family and I closer together as we shared in the experience.
I will miss Stuart Mclean’s gentle voice, his brilliant story telling and his love of Canada. Thank you Stuart for the warm feelings. You will forever be a Canadian treasure. ~ e.f.