This fall, The Vinyl Cafe will release a special, all new collection of stories by the beloved – and greatly missed – Stuart McLean. The 13 stories gathered together in a beautiful 4-disc package, with artwork from long-time friend and regular Vinyl Cafe guest Reid Jamieson, are available for the first time on CD and include two brand new stories recorded at Stuart’s final Vinyl Cafe performance.

The Vinyl Cafe : The Unreleased Stories invites you to laugh along with audiences from across the country as they enjoy stories about Canada’s favourite fictional family: Dave, Morley, Sam, and Stephanie.

While some audiences have been treated to “Dave Crosses the Border” or “Murphy’s Bar Mitzvah” during one of the countless Vinyl Cafe tours across Canada, two stories – “Dave and the Vacuum” and “The Christmas Card” – were captured almost by accident, at Stuart’s final show in Thunder Bay on November 22, 2015. “We didn’t know this at the time, we couldn’t have imagined this at the time, but that would be Stuart’s final show,” says Vinyl Cafe Producer Jess Milton.

“It was a fluke that we even recorded it,” she continues. “I had my computer with me, and I pressed record at the last minute…as an archive. It was supposed to be a ‘reference track’. I only recorded it so that Stuart and I could listen to those stories before the next tour. Of course, that tour - ‘the next tour’ - never happened.” As a result, the recordings have an almost bootleg feel to them, with a few ad lib references and off the cuff remarks by Stuart which were kept in the recording. “It is our hope that listening to this collection – especially those two stories, never heard outside of the live audience – will feel like attending a live Vinyl Cafe performance.”


After Stuart’s passing in early 2017, “it took me a long time to listen to that tape,” says Milton. “Months. I kept putting it off. When I finally listened, tears came quickly. But they weren’t tears of sadness, they were tears of happiness. I miss Stuart so much. But listening to his voice while I edited and mixed this album brought back so many happy memories of sitting in the wings for all those Vinyl Cafe shows. Stuart and I were lucky to do something we loved for so many years. We got to tell stories. We got to bring joy and laughter into people’s lives. We got to connect people, to each other, to themselves, to the country. And we had fun. So much fun. Listening to Stuart’s voice on these unreleased tracks reminds me how much he loved performing on stage. I thought it would make me sad but it did the opposite. It made me feel the way I felt every day working on the Vinyl Cafe: it made me happy.”


Stuart McLean (1948-2017) was a best-selling author, award-winning journalist and humorist, and host of CBC Radio program, The Vinyl Cafe.

Stuart began his broadcasting career making radio documentaries for CBC Radio's Sunday Morning. In 1979 he won an ACTRA award for Best Radio Documentary for his contribution to the program's coverage of the Jonestown massacre.

Following Sunday Morning, Stuart spent seven years as a regular columnist and guest host on CBC's Morningside. His book, The Morningside World of Stuart McLean, was a Canadian bestseller and a finalist in the 1990 City of Toronto Book Awards.

Stuart also wrote Welcome Home: Travels in Small Town Canada, and edited the collection When We Were Young. Welcome Home was chosen by the Canadian Authors' Association as the best non-fiction book of 1993.

Stuart's ten Vinyl Cafe books have all been Canadian bestsellers. Vinyl Cafe Diaries was awarded the Canadian Authors' Association Jubilee Award in 2004 and Stuart was also a three-time winner of the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour for Home from the Vinyl Cafe, Vinyl Cafe Unplugged and Secrets from the Vinyl Cafe. In 2014 he was awarded the CBA Lifetime Achievement Award.

Vinyl Cafe books have also been published in the U.S., the U.K., Australia and New Zealand.

In December 2011 Stuart McLean was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada. In 1993 Trent University named him the first Rooke Fellow for Teaching, Writing and Research. He was also honoured by: Nipissing University (Ed.D.(H.); University of Windsor (LL.D.), Trent University (D.Litt.), Saint Mary’s University (D.C.L.), University of Calgary (LL.D.), Concordia University (LL.D.) and McMaster University (LL.D.). He was a professor at Ryerson University in Toronto and former director of the broadcast division of the School of Journalism, retiring in 2004 to focus full time on The Vinyl Cafe. Stuart served as Honorary Colonel of the 8th Air Maintenance Squadron at 8 Wing, Trenton from 2005 to 2008.

From 1998 to 2015, Stuart toured with the Vinyl Cafe to theatres across Canada and the United States, playing towns from St. John's, Newfoundland to Whitehorse in the Yukon; from Bangor, Maine to Seattle, Washington.

The Vinyl Cafe aired for 22 seasons and attracted a weekly audience of over 2 million people on CBC Radio, podcast, Sirius Satellite Radio and on a number of Public Radio stations in the United States. The program was also broadcast on an occasional basis on the BBC.



“Dave and the Vacuum”, Length: 18:55
“The Summer Cottage”, Length: 14:37
“Morley’s Garden” , Length: 17:43
“The Christmas Card”, Length: 24:55

“Murphy’s Bar Mitzvah”, Length: 19:07
“World’s Smallest Record Store”, Length: 20:58
“Stephanie and Tommy”, Length: 21:28

“Dave Crosses the Border”, Length: 24:09
“In the Weeds”, Length: 22:39
“Murphy Kruger, Philatelist, Length: 21:39

“Have Snake, Will Travel”, Length: 21:11
“Dave’s Inferno”, Length: 22:02
“The Lost Chords”, Length: 20:16