Stuart McLean

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Stuart McLean
Stuart McLean.jpg
McLean on stage at the Centennial Concert Hall in Winnipeg, Manitoba
Born (1948-04-19) April 19, 1948 (age 68)
Montreal West, Quebec
Nationality Canadian
Alma mater Sir George Williams University
Notable work The Vinyl Cafe

Stuart McLean, OC (born April 19, 1948 in Montreal West, Quebec) is a Canadian radio broadcaster, humourist, monologist, and author, best known as the host of the CBC Radio program The Vinyl Cafe. He is often described as a "story-telling comic", though he has written many serious stories. He is known for his distinctive voice and his ability to alter his popular stories to make them distinctive on every show.

Early life[edit]

McLean was born in Montreal to Australian immigrant parents. He was educated at Lower Canada College in Montreal, and he graduated from Sir George Williams University with a B.A. degree in 1971.


From 1978 until 1982, McLean made documentaries for the radio program Sunday Morning for CBC Radio, and from 1982 until 1984 he acted as the show's executive producer. During the 1980s and 1990s he was a frequent guest and sometimes host of Morningside with Peter Gzowski. He was a contender in 1989 to become cohost with Valerie Pringle of the CBC's television newsmagazine series Midday, but the role went to Ralph Benmergui.[1]

As a summer replacement show, McLean created a radio program called The Vinyl Cafe in 1994. By autumn 1997 the show was broadcast every Sunday at noon. McLean's books of stories from The Vinyl Cafe have won the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour three times.

Since 1998, McLean has taken The Vinyl Cafe on the road to theatres across Canada and the United States. The Vinyl Cafe is broadcast every weekend on CBC Radio and is also heard via satellite radio around the world and on public radio stations in the US, as well as a weekly podcast.

McLean retired in 2004 as a professor at the School of Journalism at Ryerson University in Toronto after 30 years at the former Polytechnical Institute.

The Vinyl Cafe stopped touring and producing new episodes following McLean's diagnosis with melanoma in November 2015.[2] McLean announced on December 13, 2016 that he required a second round of treatment, meaning further delay in producing potential new radio episodes, and that repeats of past shows would stop airing on CBC Radio One effective January 2017 to "make room for others to share their work on the radio."[3]




  • ACTRA award for best radio documentary for coverage of the Jonestown massacre, 1979
  • Canadian Authors Association Best Non Fiction book for Welcome Home, 1993
  • Rooke Fellowship for Excellence in Teaching, Research, and Writing: Trent University, 1994–95
  • Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour, "Home From Vinyl Cafe", 1999[4]
  • Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour, "Vinyl Cafe Unplugged", 2001
  • Canadian Author's Association Jubilee Award, for "Vinyl Cafe Diaries", 2004[5]
  • Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour, "Secrets From the Vinyl Cafe" 2007
  • In 2011, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada "for his contributions to Canadian culture as a storyteller and broadcaster, as well as for his many charitable activities".[6]

Honorary positions[edit]

  • Professor emeritus at Ryerson University
  • Served as Honorary Colonel of the 8th Air Maintenance Squadron at 8 Wing, Trenton from 2005 to 2008[7]

Honorary degrees[edit]

  • Nipissing University (EdD(H))
  • University of Windsor (LlD)
  • Trent University (DLH)
  • Saint Mary’s University (D.C.L.)
  • University of Calgary (LL.D.)
  • Concordia University (LL.D.)
  • McMaster University (LL.D.)
  • University of Calgary (LL.D.)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Prime Timer headed for the Baby Journal". Toronto Star, April 2, 1989.
  2. ^ "Stuart McLean cancels Vinyl Cafe Christmas tour due to melanoma". CBC News. November 21, 2015. Retrieved December 13, 2016. 
  3. ^ McLean, Stuart. "A message from Stuart McLean". CBC Radio. 
  4. ^ "Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour winners". Retrieved March 27, 2011. 
  5. ^ "CAA Jubilee Award for Short Stories". Retrieved March 26, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Appointments to the Order of Canada". 
  7. ^ "Vinyl Cafe Website – The Official Website". CBC News. 

External links[edit]