The Sunday Magazine

100 years ago, Canada produced beautiful pianos. Now we send them to the dump.

Once upon a time, Canada boasted a huge piano-making industry, and one in every three families had a piano at home. The industry is long gone...and now the old wooden upright is on its way out. It's hard even to give them away. From Vancouver, Willow Yamauchi's documentary is called, "End Notes."
Willow Yamauchi's documentary explores why so many old pianos are ending up in the dump. (Angelo Merendino/Corbis via Getty Images)

Like a revered member of the family, the old vintage upright piano once had pride of place at the centre of hundreds of thousands of homes across the country. The piano was a focal point for singing, for arguing about practicing, for nurturing a love of music, and sometimes for a kind of togetherness that's hard to fathom now. Its strings and hammers played the soundtrack of generations of Canadians.

Like the people who played them, these pianos had personalities, strengths and weaknesses, triumphs and troubles. It turns out that like all living, breathing things, pianos are not immortal.

End Note

7 years ago
Duration 1:24
Why are there so many smashed up pianos in the dump?

A century after they were lovingly built, most of the old vintage uprights are reaching the end. Willow Yamauchi's documentary is called End Notes.

Click the button above to hear the documentary.