His stories are as much part of the myth-making of our great village as any other Canadian icon and so it is fitting that in this year of anniversaries, we tip our hats to a soul who brought us together around the imaginary Canadian campfire.
Beverly Akerman and Matt Aronson will read from McLean’s work at a commemorative event June 11, and remind us what made McLean’s work so mesmerizing.
Says Akerman: “For our family, the Vinyl Café was in our car. Cassettes, and later CDs, updated us
on Dave, Morley and company’s doings on weekly jaunts to visit my parents, or on longer hauls, like summer vacations in Maine.
“Stories of Galway the cat (his arrival and later, when Dave managed to toilet train him), Dave swallowing a fly, Dave and Morley’s anniversary trip to Holland, or Sam’s gourmet truffle dish, feel like family folklore.
“When Stuart McLean died, it was like losing a friend, the kind who’d regaled our kids with bedtime stories. His warmth, humour, and just plain love for what he did came through loud and clear.”
Says Aronson: “I always felt a certain kinship with him. He went to Lower Canada College, as did I, and was the Assistant Director at YMCA Camp Kanawana, a position I held for two summers in the early 2000s. Of course, I loved his stories. In my teens, the Vinyl Cafe was a headliner on the CBC as far as I was concerned. I’ve always loved storytelling, and when I have tried my hand at it, Stuart is a major influence.”
“I think it’s fitting that this event is a fundraiser for NDG Arts Week. Stuart lived in Montreal West but his high school was in NDG, and the setting for his stories about Dave and Morley can easily be pictured here.
“NDG Arts Week celebrates the creative spirit that drives this neighbourhood, and the characters and cultural landmarks that help make it a wonderful community.”
Akerman, Aronson, and Erika White, with musicians Geoff Dignam and Dalhi Gonthier will commemorate McLean’s legacy June 11, 3 pm, at the Centre Culturel NDG, 6400 Monkland.
Tickets are available at eventbrite.com. Suggested donations of $10 will support NDG Arts Week.