Ottawa man makes record donation of vinyl records

An Ottawa man has made a record donation of records to the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library.

Yves Pigeon turned over his lifetime collection of LP's, nearly 12-thousand of them.

Pigeon kept just one; the very first album he ever bought.

There is pure pleasure on 85-year-old Yves Pigeon's face as he listens to music. 

One of his favorites is Maureen Forrester singing Serse “Ombra mai fu” by Hendel.

To say he has a passion for vocals is clearly an understatement.

“I love coming up here in the morning and saying, “Who's going to sing for me today?” says Pigeon, who worked with the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada before retiring 29 years ago.

It took Pigeon some 65 years to amass an amazing collection of LP's and just a few hours to gift them to the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library; nearly 12,000 vinyls that will be sold to raise money for the library.

“There were a lot of boxes,” says Jackie Young, with the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library, “140 boxes total and we had to hire movers to take them from Pigeon's home and put them in storage.  The donation was so large, we had to secure off site storage.”

Pigeon meticulously categorized his vinyls, keeping the vocals apart from the instrumentals, even separating the men's voices from the women's.

“Because you never know what could happen,” he jokes.

He admits he's eccentric, with an extensive collective of books on war and now about 35-hundred CD's.

“I keep saying this is the money I did not drink or smoke over the years,” he says, when asked how much his collections would have cost him.

But his passion for LP's and the space they occupied became a concern.

“It's something that had to be done,” he says, “because can you see me move into retirement home with 12,000 LP’s?”

So, he parted with all but one. His first and his favorite: Elizabeth Schwarzkopf’s “Songs of Love” that he bought in 1959.

“It still brings me pleasure.  She's not the best soprano of the world but she's still my first.”

Pigeon says there is some pain in parting with his collection but he knows others will gain from it.

“They've got to go out there in the world and do other things than being on the shelves for me.”

As for those empty shelves, if his wife thought she was going to claim a piece of that property, that’s not going to happen.

“I'm going to buy books,” he adds, “If I can't buy records, I buy books. It's a sickness, but a socially acceptable one.”

The Friends of the Ottawa Public Library plans a special vinyl sale in the fall of Pigeon’s collection, once they categorize and price the albums.  Pigeon admits he plans to attend and perhaps even buy back a few of his albums.