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OUP Canada History

The Canadian Branch of Oxford University Press was established in 1904. It was the first overseas branch to be set up after an office was established in New York in 1896. Although the office did not open until 1904, the first book published for the Canadian market appeared in 1896 - a hymnal for the Presbyterian Church of Canada.

Old Building

Before the twentieth century, the main suppliers of books to the trade in Canada were the Copp Clark Company, the W.J. Gage Company, and the Methodist Bookroom. These three firms acted as jobbers for the greater bulk of the lines which were later to be represented either directly by branches of their parent houses or by exclusive Canadian agents. Prior to 1904, Oxford books had been sold in Canada by Mr. S.G. Wilkinson, who, based in London, England, travelled Canada as far west as Winnipeg. Mr. Wilkinson did a large trade with Mr. S.B. (Sam) Gundy, the wholesale and trade manager of the Methodist Bookroom. When Oxford University Press opened its own branch in Canada, Mr. Gundy, already familiar with Oxford books, was invited to become its first manager. The premises were at 25 Richmond Street West and were hardly ideal for a publishing house. Lack of any kind of elevator did not help!

In 1929, the branch moved to 480 University Avenue. In 1936, after the death of Sam Gundy, the branch became closely allied with Clarke, Irwin and Company under Mr. W.C. Clarke, an association which continued until 1949 when Clarke, Irwin moved to a separate location on St. Clair Avenue West. In 1963, the Press moved to 70 Wynford Drive in Don Mills, which served it well for the next 46 years.

By 2009, however, the branch had outgrown the 70 Wynford site.  An extensive search process culminated in the move in November 2009 to a split-site configuration.  The offices moved to the new premises at the Shops at Don Mills, an innovated work-live-shop development about 3 km away, while the warehouse moved to a site in Brampton that not only offered more affordable rent and tax charges but was also a modern space much closer to major customers and Pearson airport. 

Building on University Avenue
New Building

OUP Canada is the equivalent of a wholly owned subsidiary. The President reports to the Chief Executive of Oxford University Press through the Managing Director of the International Division in the U.K. In addition to listing and making available all Oxford publications from the U.K., the U.S., and other branches, the office also publishes materials appropriate to the Canadian market. There is a higher education division, a school publishing programme, an English as a Second Language programme, and a trade and reference programme. There are over 1000 Canadian titles in print and approximately 300 new titles are published annually.

View the complete Timeline.