All posts in Publishing


SFU announces the launch of the open access SFU Archaeology Press catalogue

I watch the emerging innovations in scholarly publishing with great interest, and I was happy to get notification that Simon Fraser University Archeology and Library have announced the launch of the open access SFU Archaeology Press catalogue. They have invited the community to attend a panel discussion to explore the past, present, and future of publishing in archaeology. Continue Reading…


Tailored to Fit:
 On the Importance of Bespoke Ebooks

The Porcupine’s Quill has always been known for creating beautiful print books. For over forty years we have offered handsome editions of Canadian literature whose quality in design and craftsmanship harkens back to 19th-century letterpress volumes. Needless to say, the recent boom in electronic reading, with its emphasis on reflowable ebooks often hastily and imperfectly rendered, is not easily reconciled to the ethos of our press. Continue Reading…


A Stop by Gerard Brender à Brandis’s Home Studio

I visited Stratford, Ontario a few weeks back to take in a new adaptation of the Henriad called The Breath of Kings being presented at the Festival. In between plays, I chanced by Gerard Brender à Brandis’ studio located in his beautifully restored Greek Revival Saltbox cottage near the town’s main street.

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On Gaspereau Press’ “Glenn Goluska in Toronto” by Andrew Steeves


In 2011, Glenn Goluska received the Robert R. Reid Award for his lifetime of distinguished contributions to the book arts in Canada. Sadly he died that year. It is hard to believe that it is five years since Glenn left us – that makes the Gaspereau Press publication Glenn Goluska in Toronto especially welcome. In 2011, Andrew Steeves visited Glenn and recorded him speaking about his early years as a designer and printer. One of these occasions was the afternoon of the day that Glenn was presented with the Robert R. Reid Award and medal in Montreal.

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Birth of a guidebook

In a post-brandy haze at about 2am on a hot 1983 summer night in Vancouver BC, George, a fellow lover of European train travel and the delights it gave access to, and I were musing whimsically about the indulgent possibilities offered by the giddy freedom of a month’s Eurail Pass. ‘Yes, I can see it – after a few sweltering days in Madrid, the refreshing mountain air of Switzerland would look great and the next Express could whisk you there. But what about accommodation costs for a month?’ ‘Then one would live on the train’, said George. ‘Sure, but every now and again you’d need things like a shower and, perhaps, a pharmacy etc’ ‘So… we need a guide-book to the facilities in the major stations of Europe’. And so started the path towards a guidebook… Continue Reading…

Triggs 3

Before the Dam: Rural Life in the Kootenay Valley of B.C. Before it was Flooded


STANLEY TRIGGS was at UBC when I was there in the late 1940s, and I heard his name bruited about in relation to the Photographic Club. I never met him, so when I came to McGill in 1963 I was surprised to hear his name again, this time as Curator of the Notman Collection of 250,000 glass plates at McGill’s McCord Museum. We became great friends when we worked together producing the famous book of photographs from the Notman Collection in 1967. Continue Reading…

Bill Reid cover

The British Columbia Library Quarterly

Librarians are a civilized lot, so it was a great pleasure for me produce their quarterly journal for four years before I left Vancouver. I printed it in my basement printing shop in my home in Burnaby, and had a totally free hand with the design of both the text pages and the ad pages (including Duthie Books ads, for example). The Covers are outstanding because I got my students at the Art School, where I was teaching, to do woodcuts and linocuts for me to print on the covers. George Kuthan also contributed mightily to the covers, as can be seen by the wonderful series or wild flowers that he did for us. Continue Reading…


Publishing the Lande Bibliography

THE LANDE BIBLIOGRAPHY is a very special, lavishly produced book that reflects the monumental Lawrence Lande Collection of Canadiana that Lawrence had just donated to McGill with the proviso that McGill produce a catalog of the collection. I had just come to the McGill Press and, when handed the the project, decided that such a collection demanded a monumental book so I bought a special mouldmade paper from Spain, linen bookcloth from Holland, pigskin and Oasis Niger goatskins from Britain and hand-made papers from Britain and Italy. It was Mono-type-set in Montreal in Bulmer, the same type as you are reading here [below]. We thought the book must be printed in Canada but there was no printer capable of such a feat here, so McGill bought a Heidelberg cylinder press and we hired Ib Kristensen to come from Vancouver and print the book for us, two pages as a time on beautiful Spanish paper on the press shown here, set in the basement of Redpath Hall next to the library. Continue Reading…

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Banknotes – examples of the printer’s art

Paper currency in Canada has historically been issued by the chartered banks — hence the term BANKNOTES. While at McGill University Press I met a collector in Ottawa of Canadian banknotes and borrowed the ones shown here, among others to try and interest the Press in publishing a book about them as the tell the history of Canada from a colourful and interesting viewpoint. It was not to be, however, as all our banknotes are still legal tender and cannot be reproduced. Poor McGill would have to get an act of Parliament passed to allow us to do a book, and quickly gave up the idea. So I’m left with these beautiful samples of the printer’s art of creating gorgeous banknotes, which was ended in 1935 by the government. Continue Reading…