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About Lovell Litho & Publications Inc.

An Old Montreal institution

Lovell Litho & Publications Inc. is as much a part of Old Montreal as cobblestone streets and horse drawn carriages. This Old Montreal institution has been at the same location, owned and operated by the Lovell family since 1835. Lovell Litho stands as the oldest family-owned printing company in Canada and are now in their 5th generation of management.

A little history...

In the early 1800's John Lovell, age12, arrived in Montreal with his parents from their native Ireland. The Lovell's decided to seek a better life in Canada.

Young John Lovell began working as a printer's apprentice, eventually becoming a master printer. In 1835 he saw his opportunity in the printing industry and started his own print shop at 423 St. Nicolas. The first Montreal Directory was published by Robert Stuart Mackay and printed by John Lovell in 1842. The directory business began taking momentum.  So did the dreams. The first Canada Directory was published in 1857 and was then followed by the Dominion Directory in 1871.

A parliamentary printing contractor, John Lovell's company soon came to employ over 100 people. In 1847, he was the first printer in Canada to import and use a steam-powered cylinder printing press. The press had to be kept under watch night and day against angry workers who felt threatened by this automation.

Continuing as editor of Lovell's Directory of Montreal, John Lovell finished his career as official printer of the Government of Ottawa, with plants in Quebec and Toronto. Queen's printer of his time, he had to make contact with the Canadian political scene towards the latter half of the 19th century.

John Lovell's circle of friends included Thomas D'Arcy McGee, George-Etienne Cartier and John A MacDonald. It was important to stay connected.

Patriarch and octogenarian, John Lovell died in 1893. His oldest son, Robert Kurczyn Lovell took over as the head of the firm until his death in 1917. Robert Walter, a third generation Lovell, ski promoter and environment protector succeeded him until his death in January 1956. After WWII, Robert Walter's boys entered the business and commercial printing took on more strategic importance. They purchased their first offset press in 1948.

The fourth generation of the Lovell's: brothers Robert, Philip & Peter took over the company affairs in 1956. Robert Lovell was president and worked until his passing in 1988 where he was succeeded by Peter. Philip, who had been responsible for the Directory Department, had already passed away in July of 1981 at the young age of 58 years. Peter worked for over 50 years right up until his own passing in February of 2001. Nevertheless, the fifth generation had already taken hold.

In 1999, Renee Lou Lovell became the first ever woman president right up until the year 2003, then, deciding to become a full time mother; passed the helm on to her brother Jamie Lovell, president. Stephen Lovell, under tutor of Robert, has become like his father Philip, responsible for the Directory Department.

And so we have journeyed a long way; very fortunate of our heritage and proud of it.

For more information on John Lovell, visit www.biographi.ca

Archives 1842-2010

You can consult our directories online, from 1842 to 2010, at the Bibliothèque Nationale du Québec website.