The Doc Project


The Doc Project

High-stakes storytelling at its most artful and human -- radio documentary on the next level. Stories lived, stories told.

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Independence Day

Think finding housing is hard? Try adding a wheelchair... Sean Towgood has cerebral palsy and has been on a waiting list for supportive housing for four years. He's desperate to move out of his mom's house and into the city to start his adult life. Now, Sean is on a mission to find out where he is on that list, and whether he'll ever get off it. He also wants to meet someone who actually lives in supportive housing, to find out if it's everything he's dreamed of.

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[mp3 file: runs 00:30:44]

Hutterite Runner

Elaine Hofer lives in Green Acres, a Hutterite colony nestled in the southwestern corner of Manitoba. Elaine spends her days working with her community and teaching at the local school. And although she is 38 years old, as an unmarried woman Elaine lives at home with her parents and two adult siblings. But for all the tradition and responsibility, there is one thing Elaine does just for herself... Elaine is a trail runner, running across the fields with her long skirt flapping in the breeze. Her love of running is sparking something bigger, and Elaine is bumping up against the edges of tradition.

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[mp3 file: runs 00:29:31]

The People's Ice Bridge

Since 1896, the residents of Dawson City have been betting on the Yukon River: the day, hour and minute when the river ice will "break up" in the spring. Because of the ice pool bet, the date and time of the past 123 break-ups have been recorded... and for the past four winters, the river has been behaving completely differently. As the river changes, so do the lives of the people who live along its shores.

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[mp3 file: runs 00:28:18]

Stand Up Bureaucrats

Ron Porteous and Rae-Ann Kublick's day jobs sound pretty dull - Ron's an IT guy for Canada Post and Rae-Ann's a government analyst. But by night, the two public servants are taking a six-week course on stand-up comedy that will have them cracking jokes in front of a roomful of strangers come graduation night. Also, to gain Ron and Rae-Ann's trust, Omar Dabaghi-Pacheco, an anchor for CBC News in Ottawa, has promised to do a set himself. Will Ron and Rae-Ann be able to poke fun at their day jobs? Will Omar return to the CBC Ottawa newsroom drenched in flop sweat? Will everyone be able to live their lives a little bigger?

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[mp3 file: runs 00:29:23]

Revolution Photo

Samira Mohyeddin thought she knew pretty much everything about the Iranian revolution - a revolution that caused her own family to leave the country for Canada when she was four years old. So when she saw that the photojournalist David Burnett had published a book on his own time in Iran in the 1970s, she couldn't wait to pore over his photos. Samira got to page 126, and a shot of a group of women standing in a stadium. And that's when she saw her mom, Zarrin. Zarrin and the other women were at an anti-revolution rally that, after the photo was taken, would turn violent. 100 days later, Zarrin left the country. And she had no idea that the photo existed.

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[mp3 file: runs 00:28:41]

Three Weddings and a Funeral

Joanne and Bob Wotherspoon are soulmates, but that didn't stop them from getting divorced. Their complicated love story spans over thirty years, documented in meticulous detail through home videos, wedding speeches, and Bob's autobiographical music. For years, Bob would write and record love songs that he'd send to his ex-wife, Joanne, and she'd treasure them. So when Bob got sick, the couple reexamined their relationship. Soon it was up to hospital staff to pull off the (re)marriage of the century.

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[mp3 file: runs 00:30:22]

Me, myself, and han

Eunice Kim was born in South Korea and speaks the language fluently, but recently, she stumbled upon an unfamiliar word: han. Han has no English translation. It's used to describe a combination of rage, grief and regret - a feeling so powerful, some believe you can die from it. To many Koreans, han is part of the cultural DNA. Once you know what it is, you see it everywhere, from Korean movies to the unofficial national anthem. So, how exactly did it escape Eunice? Why did her family never mention it? Eunice turns to her grandmother, her mother, and her father to ask them about han. Have they had it all this time? And is it possible that she's inherited something she never even knew existed?

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[mp3 file: runs 00:28:09]

Doctor Piano

Nola Keeler quit tap-dancing when she was seven years old, never expecting to regret it. But decades later, when her 12-year-old daughter started dancing, Nola decided it was time to slip back into her dancing shoes and take the stage. AND when Patrick Kahn and his wife saw their Halifax apartment, they knew it was the one. Second floor, in a beautiful Victorian style house... but there was 500-pound problem. The piano that Patrick has owned and loved for 30 years couldn't get up the stairs. So Patrick called Doctor Piano, aka Gary Trenholm, who learned piano tuning at the Halifax School for the Blind, and has been THE piano guy in Halifax ever since.

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[mp3 file: runs 00:28:09]

The Motherhood Mosaic

Two stories of mothers bridging the divide between cultures. First up: When Bebe Carletti's mother immigrated from El Salvador to Canada, she wanted a better life for her children. So how will she react to Bebe's tattoos, when, for her, tattooing represents fear and violence in her old country? Next: Fourteen Japanese mothers gather in downtown Toronto for their singing circle, surrounded by their young children.

Download The Motherhood Mosaic
[mp3 file: runs 00:28:09]

The Seamstress in the Basement

Growing up, it seemed to Pascal Huynh that whenever he went over to his aunt Thi Dung's house, she was in the basement, bent over a sewing machine. As a child, he didn't question it. But as he grew up, it struck him as more and more strange. Now, Pascal has re-opened family history to reveal that his aunt, Thi Dung Nguyen, spent 30 years toiling long hours as a seamstress, feeling trapped, pressured for money, and isolated by language. Until finally, she found a way out.

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[mp3 file: runs 00:28:29]

Towel of Song: a documentary-musical

One day, Tom Howell walked into a store on Toronto's Queen Street East, overwhelmingly drawn to a sign that said "Turkish towels have arrived at last!!!" Tom didn't know what a Turkish towel was. $250 later, he's still scratching his head over the thin, trendy towels, especially when confronted with his fiancée's insistence that they don't actually dry you - which she argues is a towel's one job. But still, Tom is inexplicably attached to his Turkish towels. Why, in the face of an item's questionable usefulness, do we hold onto it nonetheless? This is one of the questions that inspired our first ever Doc Project documentary-musical!

Download Towel of Song: a documentary-musical
[mp3 file: runs 00:28:20]

Sisterhood of the Travelling Exoskeleton

When Alex McEwan walked across the stage at his high school graduation, the audience went wild. Not because he was collecting his diploma, but because he was walking at all; Alex is paralyzed. But Alex wasn't cured, he was using an exoskeleton, a wearable robot that lets patients control the motion of their legs through movements in their upper body. Only catch is, you don't get to keep it. Once you've had your turn with the exoskeleton, it passes on to the next person.

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[mp3 file: runs 00:28:20]

The Comedian's Guide to Family Bonding

At 12 years old, Zachary Coffin is quite possibly the youngest comic in Winnipeg. His mom, Dawn Lavand, makes for his best material. But Zack's got to be careful, because Dawn is a stand-up too! PLUS: Comedian Bob Kerr and his dad loved nothing better than sitting outside on summer evenings, looking at stars, listening to crickets... and arguing about homosexuality. Bob - who is straight - just couldn't convince his dad that gay people weren't "destined for the hell locker." But when his dad got sick, a nurse named Terry accomplished what Bob never could.

Download The Comedian's Guide to Family Bonding
[mp3 file: runs 00:29:09]

Kai and Wendy

There's a lot of common ground that parents share. From diaper changes to bedtime stories, or going to the park, or the local pool. But is there space on this common ground for parents with disabilities? In this documentary, Kai and Wendy talk honestly about how they must constantly adapt their parenting... as the infrastructure they parent within remains resolutely ableist.

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[mp3 file: runs 00:28:16]

Evidence of a Father

Author Camilla Gibb's father was brilliant, talented, but also menacing. Thirty years after he disappeared, Camilla got a message from a doctor saying, "I believe I am taking care of your father." Suddenly Camilla knew where he was... and what had happened to him. The discovery sent Camilla on a journey across the country and into her past. (Rebroadcast. Originally aired April 17, 2018)

Download Evidence of a Father
[mp3 file: runs 00:27:50]

Life in a Laundry Room

Nearly half of Nunavut's population of 38,000 people lives in overcrowded conditions. But it's hard to imagine exactly what that looks like... until you meet Brenda Maniapik. Brenda is a mother of four who lives in Iqaluit, in a windowless laundry room. She's been living there for seven years, while she waits for public housing. So what's the hold up? This week, we climb the bureaucratic ladder to the source of Nunavut's housing crisis. And try to get some answers for Brenda.

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[mp3 file: runs 00:28:20]

Bite out of Life

On this episode, four stories from the dentist's chair and beyond! Essayist Kate Burnham's discount dentist found a tooth behind her nose... and things went downhill from there. PLUS, the most horrific 21st birthday present a girl could ask for, a 90-year-old's advice on how to keep smiling, and what to do if your dog eats your denture.

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[mp3 file: runs 00:28:20]

Asian Glow

Samantha Lui remembers the first time it happened. She was 17-years-old and shared a vodka cooler with her cousins. It was fun, it tasted like apple juice... and it turned her face bright, tomato red. The condition is called "Asian Glow" (or technically "Alcohol flush reaction"). About one in three people of East Asian descent carry this trait, which causes you to turn red when alcohol hits your bloodstream. For Samantha, her Asian Glow can make drinking feel isolating. It makes her self-conscious, especially in social or professional settings. Now, following her 27th birthday, Samantha is seeking out other Asian-Glowers, hoping to find answers and a community. And maybe even find a way to love her glow.

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[mp3 file: runs 00:28:20]

Tokin' With Zaidy

Despite their 60-year age difference, Thomas Goldhar and his grandfather Moe are soulmates. Thomas has learned a lot from Moe over the years. So when 21-year-old Thomas realized that marijuana was being legalized in Canada the day before his Zaidy's 80th birthday, he had an idea. And Moe? Moe's the kind of octogenarian who's open to anything.

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[mp3 file: runs 00:26:38]

Medieval Combat

Steve Pearson has always been into martial arts. Judo, taekwondo... and now, medieval combat. As in, with armour and long swords. Steve is a member of The Company of The White Wolf - Yukon's medieval combat team. Steve is on his way to Scotland to compete against the best knights in the world. And he has a lot to prove. (Rebroadcast. Originally aired September 10, 2018)

Download Medieval Combat
[mp3 file: runs 00:28:20]

Heart of Gold

Marty Yanishewski and Renee White love nothing more than spending a romantic day by the river together. Well, more precisely, a romantic day IN the river, up to their knees, digging in the mud. They're competitive gold panners, and their stadium is the Saskatchewan River. NEXT, three student journalists interview their parents about how they met and fell in love. PLUS, Nick Dourado and his partner have a very special relationship. They've been together since middle school. They've travelled the world together. All of their friends are jealous of their bond. And only one of them is human.

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[mp3 file: runs 00:28:05]

The Lost Skiier

In February 2018, Danny Filippidis, a Toronto firefighter, was on a ski trip with some friends. He left his buddies to go get his phone at the bottom of the slope. That's the last anyone saw of him for six days. Now, the only journalist who was ever granted access to Danny sits down to talk - about what we now know, one year later, and what no one ever will.

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[mp3 file: runs 00:28:03]

The Mountain Between Us

Asaf Nehama and Mohamed Agbariya live a 20-minute drive from each other in Israel. But if it weren't for a summer camp in Ontario, the two teenage boys never would have met - or even spoken to each other. That's because back home, they're worlds apart. For a month at Camp Shomria, in a program meant to bring Jewish and Palestinian teenagers together, Asaf and Mohamed lived, slept, ate, swam, and bonded side by side. And just like that, the two became close friends. But friendships can be complicated. Would what happened in Canada... stay in Canada?

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[mp3 file: runs 00:28:07]

FU, eh?

Eric Musekamp and Darlene Dunlop never planned on becoming activists... they were farm labourers and truckers, working in Alberta's agricultural industry. But after seeing so many workplace accidents - including Eric's alternate being killed while driving the rig they shared - the couple decided they had no choice. Until recently, farms in Alberta were exempt from virtually all workplace health and safety laws - including employers being required to purchase workplace insurance for their employees. A couple's fight for one of the most contentious bills ever passed in Alberta - and why many farmers opposed it so passionately.

Download FU, eh?
[mp3 file: runs 00:28:16]

Winning the Punk Rock Lottery

Mike Hodsall is one of those guys who never gave up on his big dream. He's wanted to be a rock star since he was a kid. But the closest he got was his AC/DC cover band, BC/DC - where Mike dressed up in a cow suit for laughs. Mike was poor and pushing 40. It looked like his dream would never become reality. But then, in a twist of fate, Mike found himself in Canada's most legendary punk band: D.O.A., playing beside his hero, 62-year-old frontman Joey "Sh*thead" Keithley.

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[mp3 file: runs 00:29:33]

This is for Andrea

Beverly Ndukwu was diagnosed with sickle cell disease when she was two years old. Out of four siblings, she was the only one in her family with the disease. But then a fifth sibling came along - Beverly's baby sister Andrea. She had sickle cell too. The sisters developed a special bond, until the disease took Andrea's life. Now, 12 years after Andrea's death, Beverly is living on with sickle cell. And turning her anger into action.

Download This is for Andrea
[mp3 file: runs 00:28:16]