Hemlock Printers honours founder's legacy with gift to SFU

The owners of a well-known Burnaby printing company are honouring its founder’s legacy with help from Simon Fraser University.

Hemlock Printers was started in 1968 by Dick Kouwenhoven. He led the Burnaby-based company from a 600-square-foot store front to the 75,000 sq. ft. facility that exists today and became known as a trail blazer in Canada’s printing industry.

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Kouwenhoven ran the company for almost 50 years. He died in April 2017 from esophageal cancer.

Dick Kouwenhoven
Hemlock Printers founder Dick Kouwenhoven in 2012 at the Canadian Printing Awards in Toronto. Photo: Contributed

In recognition of his contribution to the printing industry, his family is donating funds to open the Dick Kouwenhoven Book Arts Studio at SFU.

“Dick was a visionary leader and a true entrepreneur who, throughout his career, was dedicated to the craft of print,” Richard Kouwenhoven, current president of Hemlock Printers, said in a press release.

“He was passionate about the business and most of all its roots – typesetting and letterpress, where his career began. This gift from our family to the SFU Library will help achieve one of his greatest passions, sharing his love of print and the unique beauty that it conveys.”

The studio will be a hands-on space for “education and activities designed to inspire university and community members with the same enthusiasm for books, book-making and print culture that Kouwenhoven was known for,” according to a press release from the company.

The Dick Kouwenhoven Book Arts Studio is slated to open in 2021.

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