Archive for the ‘Montreal’ Category


October 12, 2016


McKenty Live with host Neil McKenty

On today’s program, Neil is discussing municipal politics, especially in and around Montreal. With the live callers.

First aired on February 28th 1989 on CFCF 12

Jean P.


October 6, 2016

McKenty Live!

This one is about house pets with guest Cynthia Drummond who works for the MTL SPCA, and the live callers.


October 4, 2016

Many of you might not know that Neil use to write for The Senior Times, he had a column called Pit Stop.  Since the weather is quickly changing here in Quebec, I found the perfect article for you.

Resist hibernating and enjoy the outdoors this winter.

”If you want to enjoy the Montreal winter, you’ve got to join it.”  I wish I had heeded that advice when I first arrived in Montreal in the autumn of 1972.

That first winter I was broadcasting editorial comments on CJAD and producing and hosting ”Prime Time”, a program for seniors.  On the week-ends I huddle with my wife, Catharine, (a writer-researcher at the Reader’s Digest) inside our apartment on the twenty-first floor of a high rise near the old Forum, and read the newspaper including the weighty Sunday New York Times.  This regimen turned out to be a recipe for lethargy, lassitude and recurring stupor.

At the time we didn’t have a car (once we toured a good part of the island of Montreal on two metro tickets), but the following winter, Catharine reconnoitred the lower Laurentians by bus to find a place to stay and to ski.  Happily, she discovered on the perimeters of Prévost, then Shawbridge, a sprawling white frame house with many appendages, the Laurentian Lodge Club, founded in 1923.

Catharine and I have now been members of the Club for more than twenty-five years, enjoying chef André’s savoury cuisine and cross-country skiing on trails with such evocative names as The Barking Dog, Fallen Women, The Madonna, and of course, portions of the Maple Leaf, laid out by the famous Herman Smith ”Jack Rabbit” Johannsen himself.

One stormy Saturday, I was chatting with Mr. Johannsen (then more than a hundred, still a skier and long-time member of the Club) in the living room beside the fireplace when the ”Chief” with a glint in his eye, lit a cigarette.  ”I never smoke before lunch,” he explained, ”but I usually have lunch early.”

Mr. Johannsen was not the only notable member of the Laurentian Lodge Club, chock-a-block in those early years with young families and their children.  Other distinguished members included the renowned Dr. Wilder Penfield and Brooke Claxton, a minister in federal Liberal governments.

Not that the Club was an elitist conclave or luxury resort.  Far from it.  The original iron beds were purchased from the Montreal General Hospital for three dollars each.  Their springs were so dilapidated the mattresses had to be propped up by large sheets of stiff brown paper that crackled down the halls whenever the sleeper turned over.  Still, the spartan bedrooms were merely a counterpoise to the charm and gentility of afternoon tea served in front of the blazing fire by ladies in long gowns.

From its beginning in 1923, the Club was at the heart of early ski developments in the Laurentians.  Just beyond the first door across the river and through the trees loomed the Big Hill where in 1932 Alec Foster, using an old Ford engine for power, installed the first rope tow in North America, charging skiers five cents a ride.

From those early days, the Laurentian Lodge Club developed and still retains a distinctive élan marked by enthusiastic and warm camaraderie.  ”The atmosphere,” as one senior member described it, ”was set by people in their eighties who had nothing to prove,” and who, it might be added, encouraged a tradition of fun skiing which meant taking time on the trail to stop to eat an orange and feed the birds.

This spirit continues, epitomized by the Club’s oldest active member, a vivacious ans elegant lady in her early nineties.  She still skis and still serves afternoon tea in a long gown.  She joined the Montreal winter a long time ago.  Obviously she had never regretted it.  Neither have I.

Published in February 1999

Jean P.


September 26, 2016

Exchange on CJAD with your host Neil McKenty

The Lines Are Blazing!!

This episode is about Aislin cartoon in the Gazette with guess Terry Mosher and the live callers.


Jean P.


September 22, 2016

Exchange on CJAD with host Neil McKenty


Today’s show is on Quebec politics in the 50’s and in more modern time with guess Gérald Pelletier and of course the live callers.

Visit the Bookshop: click here.

Jean P.

Tuesday Writing Conversation: “civilised, sophisticated, roguish, Irish…”

May 2, 2016

An early review of In The Stillness Dancing: The Journey of John Main by Neil McKenty.

“…an attractive and indeed inspiring account of Main’s intriguing personality and interesting life…

The author gives a full account of John Main’s method, and an engaging picture of the man: civilised, sophisticated, roguish, Irish, yet with an essential spiritual solitariness. It is a fine introduction to a stimulating teacher…”
The Church Times, U.K.


Today we are celebrating the new edition of In The Stillness Dancing being released by

Journalist, soldier, barrister and Benedictine monk, John Main’s spiritual odyssey was a deep seated quest for an authentic life of prayer. The door finally opened when he met an Indian swami who taught him to meditate using a mantra, only to close again when he entered the Benedictine noviciate and adopted a more traditional form of prayer.
Long after ordination in 1963, John Main discovered that the form of prayer advocated by the swami already existed within the mainstream of Western Christianity but had fallen into disuse. From then on, he was to devote his life to restoring this form of christian meditation to its rightful place within the Church. His work began with the foundation of a meditation centre at Ealing Abbey in London and led, some years later, to the foundation of the Benedictine Priory of Montreal and the establishment of a worldwide spiritual family linked through the daily practice of meditation.
Neil McKenty paints an attractive portrait of this compelling Irish monk whose teaching and writing on meditation were to transform the lives of thousands of men and women.

Click below to hear Neil being interviewed about John Main

John Main

John Main

Some more reviews of In The Stillness Dancing:

“Neil McKenty has presented this remarkable man with enthusiasm and devotion, warts and all. The account of his last illness when he struggled against, and finally accepted, his cancer, is movingly told”.
Catholic Herald, U.K.

“This is a remarkable book about a remarkable man.

The author sees three major contributions made by Dom Main: rediscovery of a formula, a discipline for ‘pure prayer’ as an instrument of reform for the monastic life; made ‘pure’ imageless prayer more accessible to the person on the street (as St. Paul always urged).

McKenty introduces the reader to a man who made a deep impression during his too short life, a man many would liked to have met”.
The Telegraph-Journal, Saint John, N.B.


January 14, 2016



Here is an episode of Exchange with Neil on CJAD.

This episode is on welfare.





* Adjust your volume.

Jean P.


January 12, 2016



Lets continue last week’s writing conversation.


Building Community


Much to my surprise, I received a letter back from Neil within a week.  He just assumed that my husband and I had the necessary strength of spirit that it takes, and would manage through this rather frightening time.   His words gave us hope, and his assurance that the Montreal Children’s Hospital was a wonderful health care facility gave us confidence.  We began our journey through the process of repairing Erin’s lip.

As time went on, I would update Neil on Erin’s progress.  I sent him pictures of my beautiful girl.  Life has a way of getting in the way, and years slipped by.  Then I was looking at wedding pictures of Erin and her husband, and remembered Neil, and that it had been a while since I had had any contact with him.  I sat down, put pen to paper, and filled Neil in on what had transpired, and how we loved our new son-in-law.  Neil always replied to my letters and appreciated the pictures and updates.  I felt that he was my friend.

Neil touched my life as I am sure he did with many of his friends and listeners.  His letters showed compassion and understanding and encouraged me when I needed encouragement.  Watching your child disappear into an operating room, spending hours in the waiting room, can leave one feeling helpless.  Having support is vital.  I was blessed in that I had a strong connection with my husband and family.  But having support from someone outside that circle is important too.  The whole process was foreign to us.  Today, when I look at my lovely daughter (artist, wife, and mother), I know how lucky I am.  That Neil took such an interest in an anonymous caller added to our coping skills.

In 1982 Frank Gallagher nominated Neil as a ”Great Montrealer.”  ”He is the host of one of the city’s leading talk shows.  His ability to handle all types of subjects, and give his audience the time to express their opinions, is always handled in the most gracious manner.  His tolerance with the senior citizens, who are often very nervous when on the radio, is very heartwarming.  Whenever he speaks with children, he never talks down to them and always treats them as equals.  May callers keep his lines blazing.  May he never run out of fuel.”

A Christmas to Remember

One morning just before Christmas 1983, Neil was having breakfast when he heard that, as a result of corporate funding cuts, Ville Marie Social Services would be unable to provide food baskets for about 4,000 families.  Neil immediately decided to do something about it.  But he was aware of the risk.  What if he raised the issue on ”Exchange” and no one called in?  Among his first callers were his neighbours, Gail and Gerald Fellerath, who had both served in the Peace Corps.  They phoned in to say they would open a drop-off food depot at their store called Folklore on Sherbrooke St. in Westmount.  Then the superintendent of an apartment building in the east end said he would do the same.  A woman from Rosemere said she would drive people down to that depot.  (A third of Neil’s listeners at the time were francophone).  The appeal snowballed.

Stoph Hallward, a grade school student, volunteered to go door-to-door with a friend to collect canned food.  He recalls that Neil’s efforts set off a chain reaction throughout the city.

”Neil McKenty stood out among my parents’ friends when I was growing up,”  Hallward wrote.  ”It was exciting to know someone I could hear on the radio, but when I think back on it, he never sounded any different hosting his own show than he did challenging my family in friendly banter around the dinner table.  His being so so himself was probably what gave me the confidence to call him on his show, once.  My friend Roddy and I, who went door-to-door in our neighbourhood collecting canned food.  It was an easy sell and everyone gave generously.  Neil and Catharine drove down to Ville Marie headquarters where they were met by a social worker, tears streaming down her face.  ”I’ve never seen anything like it,” she said.  That Christmas, thanks to Neil, four thousand families were fed.”

Jean P.








January 7, 2016



This is an episode of Exchange, Neil’s radio show broadcast on CJAD.


This one is about drunk driving.


Jean P.


December 16, 2015


Hosted by Neil McKenty on CJAD.

This episode focused on child day care.

* Adjust your volume.



Jean P.