This December, CBC Radio 1 aired our final Vinyl Cafe Christmas Concert, recorded in Thunder Bay, Ontario on November 22nd, 2015.

The special features holiday music by The Once, pianist and musical director John Sheard and the Vinyl Cafe Orchestra. It also includes “The Christmas Card”, a new Dave and Morley Christmas story.

We are so happy to come together once again in story and song. We hope you can join us.

The show is available by podcast in iTunes or online and on select public radio stations in the USA (check with your local station).




Wondering about the music featured in the Vinyl Cafe Holiday Special? Here it is:

I Won’t Do Christmas Without You

Composer: The Once

Performer: The Once


Come, O Come Emmanuel/Lo how a rose er blooming

Composer: traditional

Performer: John Sheard


Fairytale of New York

Composer: Jem Finer, Shane MacGowan

Performer: The Once


So This is Christmas

Composer: John Lennon

Performer: The Once



We’re delighted to announce that McMaster University will be the home of Stuart’s extensive personal and literary archive.  

The archive is 100 boxes, or 16 metres!  It includes manuscripts of his stories and books, correspondence, photographs, fan mail, sound recordings, and even set pieces from live Vinyl Cafe performances.

Stuart donated his papers to McMaster before his death. He spent months going through boxes and desk drawers, gathering and re-reading letters and scripts and rediscovering some favourites along the way. He donated boxes filled with all kinds of things: dozens of notepads used to scribble down story ideas; personal correspondence with Margaret Atwood, Farley Mowat, Timothy Findley, Ken Dryden, former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson and cartoonist Lynne Johnston, among many others; hundreds of original manuscripts, such as “Dave Cooks the Turkey,” along with hand-written notes.

It’s pretty incredible.

And what makes it really special is that anyone is welcome to come in and view the material. If you are interested, please contact McMaster University Library’s William Ready Division of Archives and Research Collections by email at

We are delighted that future generations will be able to explore the extraordinary contribution that Stuart made to the tapestry of Canada. For more information, and for photos of the archives click here.



Christmas has always been a special time at the Vinyl Cafe.

Every December – for two decades – Stuart McLean travelled across the country with The Vinyl Cafe Christmas tour, bringing laughter and light during the darkest days of the year.

For many, reading the Vinyl Cafe Christmas stories became a beloved family tradition. Now, for the first time, they have been brought together in this special collection: Christmas at the Vinyl Cafe.

There are 12 Dave and Morley Christmas stories in the book. Classics like “Dave Cooks the Turkey” of course (how could that not be included), but also five new, never-before-published Christmas stories, including "The Christmas Card",  the last Christmas story that Stuart wrote.

The book is available now.

You can order it on AmazonIndigo or from


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 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.

The album is available now. 

You can order it here.


The Vinyl Cafe was a radio show heard on CBC Radio, on selected public radio stations in the United States, on Podcast, and online. The show was written and hosted by Stuart McLean and featured stories, essays and music.

The Vinyl Cafe stories are about Dave, owner of a second hand record store called "The Vinyl Cafe". The stories also feature Dave's wife, Morley, their two children, Sam and Stephanie, and assorted friends and neighbours. The stories are collected in books and on CD.

The motto of Dave's store and of the radio show – is "We May Not Be Big, But We're Small."


Stuart McLean 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 YoungWelcome 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 and have sold more than one million copies since Stories from the Vinyl Cafe was published in 1995. 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 CafeVinyl Cafe Unplugged and Secrets from the Vinyl Cafe

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.  He was a professor emeritus at Ryerson University in Toronto and former director of the broadcast division of the School of Journalism. In 1993 Trent University named him the first Rooke Fellow for Teaching, Writing and Research. He was also honoured by Nipissing University (H. Ed.D.), 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.).  Stuart served as Honorary Colonel of the 8th Air Maintenance Squadron at 8 Wing, Trenton from 2005 to 2008.

Since 1998 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.


Stuart McLean passed away February 15th, 2017, at age 68.

Stuart always emphasized that the world is a good place, full of good people, trying to do their best. He believed in people’s extraordinary capacity for love and generosity. And he had faith in our ability to work together for the common good. 

He was, in other words, firmly committed to celebrating the positive, joyful and funny side of life. Stuart assured us that even in difficult times, we can find things to be grateful for and ways to laugh. Now that he is gone, we will try hard to do just that. 

Stuart connected us – to our country and to each other. He entertained us, he made us think, he made us smile. Occasionally he made us cry. And, through all of that, he reminded us that life is made up of small moments. We never know which ones will be forgotten and which ones will stay with us forever. We celebrate Stuart’s life by trying to make each moment count and by being grateful for all of them.

We are certainly grateful for each and every moment we shared with Stuart. 


The Stuart McLean Camp Kanawana Fund  

Stuart worked at Camp Kanawana for five summers, and he often said that it changed his life. This fund will help children and teens without the financial means to attend Camp YMCA Kanawana, a community where they learn to care for themselves, each other and the environment.