Barb and I used to listen to the weekly Vinyl Café with host Stuart McLean. Sundays at noon, we would be glued to CBC Radio to find out what ‘goings on’ Dave and Morley were up to. I can not remember there ever being another show having such mastery of the spoken word mixed with humour. You could picture exactly the scene unfolding as Stuart, in his very distinctive voice, depicts “Dave cooks the Turkey” or Dave’s wife Morley’s “Labour Pains”.

It was not surprising that Vinyl Café was so popular in Canada (with more than 400 episodes) but was also syndicated to 80 U.S. public radio stations.

These fond memories of Vinyl Café were reignited this week as I picked up my signed copy of the just-released ‘Almonte, Spirit of Place’ book by author/photographer John McQuarrie, from Mill Street Books.

There on page 72-73 was the heading ‘Stuart McLean’s musings on Mill Street and the River’. In July of 2013 CBC Radio came to Almonte.

As customary with the Vinyl Café the episode began with Stuart reciting a complimentary description of the venue’s community, Almonte, its character and history while exploring Mill Street and beyond.

In the intro to his book John McQuarrie first visited Almonte on the morning of July 26, 2019. And as before him Stuart McLean’s first impression on that same street also captured his attention with the irresistible urge to explore further.

The contents of this book detail the many alluring attractions of Almonte and the surrounding towns.

It is no wonder that the town’s magnetic charm has fostered at least six movies.

Keith Sheldrick

Editor’s Note: You can listen to the Almonte Vinyl Café episode on CBC: