The Sunday Magazine

The Sunday Edition for December 22, 2019

Listen to this week's episode with host Michael Enright.

Listen to this week's episode with host Michael Enright.

Michael's essay on the joy and wonder of Christmas windows: "Christmas did not become a real possibility, something that might actually happen, until my parents took me downtown to see the window. The window was at the corner of the Simpson's department store. It was truly magic … The window was a work of patience and craftsmanship with meticulous attention to detail. I felt I could stare at that window for hours, in all weathers."

How community mediators help keep the peace between feuding neighbours: Robert Frost said, "Good fences make good neighbours," and it seems that bad fences can make bad neighbours, especially in an age when neighbours are less likely to know each other. So volunteer community mediators are among the unsung heroes of harmonious neighbourhoods, helping resolve disputes. Michael's guests are Rukiya Mohamed of Community Mediation Ottawa and Jasmine Schulz of Mediation Services Winnipeg.

The Regina Music Box and the heavenly music of the gears: Heather Barrett's documentary introduces us to Sister Patricia Whittle of St. John's — the custodian of a rare specimen, the Regina Music Box. It's a mechanical marvel of wood, metal discs, gears and wheels from a century ago, when 100,000 of them were sold in North America. They're extremely scarce now, but they still produce music that's richer and more complex than you might imagine.

Repeat: The Christmas music of black America: Robert Harris has been on the program several times to talk about the sublime, the treacly and just plain ridiculous in Christmas music. We'll replay Michael's 2015 conversation with Robert Harris about some of the best Christmas music from the gospel, blues and jazz traditions.

At the outset of winter, a poet for all seasons: A. F. Moritz has won The Griffin Poetry Prize, and he's a three-time nominee for the Governor-General's Award for Poetry. His title these days is Poet Laureate of Toronto. And he does indeed absorb the life and rhythms of the city with a poet's eye for detail, precision and the unexamined weight of the quotidian. A. F. Moritz talks to Michael about writing, loneliness and how our cities and technology are changing us and our society.

As Nova Scotia honours the Boat Harbour deadline, Northern Pulp confirms shutdown: Every day, tens of millions of litres of toxic effluent pour into Boat Harbour from Northern Pulp, a mill located across the water from Pictou. Successive governments have attempted — and failed — to clean up Nova Scotia's most contaminated site. Now, a deadline looms. The company has been ordered to stop the effluent flow into Boat Harbour by January 31, 2020. David Gutnick reports from Pictou in his documentary, "Every Problem Has Eight Sides."

Remembering Monique Leyrac: France had Edith Piaf. And Quebec had Monique Leyrac. Both had voices that could send shivers down spines, and they were beloved songstresses of their people. Monique Leyrac died last weekend at the age of 91, and we'll pay tribute with some of her best-loved music.

Mail: about The Paper Bag Princess documentary we aired last week.

Music: Vince Guaraldi, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, David Myles, Shaye Zadrevic, The Fairfield Four, Bessie Smith, Fats Waller, Count Basie and Jimmy Rushing, Tony Bennett, Dave McKenna, Oscar Peterson, Monique Leyrac, Duke Ellington