the little newspaper that could – Dad’s paper

Not quite sixty years ago, my father created a small newspaper in the basement of our house. It was a trade paper, and it served the graphic arts and printing industry in Canada. He named it PrintAction. Although Dad died suddenly of a heart attack in the early 1990s, the name and the newspaper stuck. No longer in print version, it’s now digital and owned by a business media company.

I never log on to their website, there’s no reason for me to. But something compelled me to do so the other day. And there I found a tribute to PrintAction and its beginnings. It’s well written, but for some unknown reason the name of the founder and visionary isn’t mentioned. I left them a comment at the bottom of the article.

In my memoir I’ve written a lot about my parents. Why? Because they are the spine, the heartbeat and the scaffolding of my life story.

I was tied to my mother and father at a level deeper than that of a mere filial bond.  I loved and honored them. Urbane, witty and literary, they had drawn on their ingenuity and creative talents to build a successful life for themselves in their adopted country. From their hearts flowed goodness and love, and it was in the regenerative rays of that love that I basked and flourished.


Here’s a small excerpt from my memoir about my father:

Dad found his calling in Canada. The word ‘action’ characterized him aptly, and it was no accident that his newspaper — Canada’s leading authority on the printing and graphic arts industry — would be titled PrintAction.

Mornings, after he cooked our breakfast, packed our lunchboxes and got us off to school, he’d clatter down the stairs to the basement where his workspace — low-ceilinged, brightly-lit and neat as a pin — served as the offices and production area of his trade paper. Dominating the open space at the foot of the stairs was a large drafting table. Beside it stood a filing cabinet and further along a metal shelving unit. All sorts of paraphernalia sat on those shelves: brushes and pots of rubbery glue; T-squares, triangles and colored markers; Gaebel steel rulers and Rapidograph pens; ink bottles, pens, and Letraset sheets; a small magnifier called a printers’ loupe and a marble roller used to smooth glued columns of text onto stiff white paper called layout boards or dummies: they were tools of the trade for Dad, after-school playthings for me.

When he wasn’t on the telephone or typing copy, he was attending trade fairs and industry events, interviewing people, taking photographs, selling advertising space and visiting the plant where Linotype machines clacked loudly and an offset printing press churned out his publication.

Self-taught and self-directed, Dad loved the freedom of being his own boss and charting his own destiny. He was a principled, forward-thinking man; a creative visionary of sorts. There was something about his face that earned respect from his peers; wholly without artifice it was an honest face with candid eyes and a quiet determination.

John Alexander Young. Born in Northumberland County, England; died in Toronto.


I miss you, Dad.

Here’s the PrintAction article with my comment at the bottom:

60 years of print