By:  Monica Kucharski

One thing you don’t have to drag your kids to is shopping for school supplies, right?  A comparable (if a tad stereotypical) scenario may be women shopping for jewellery or men buying a new car.  But did you know that Hilroy notebooks—one of the most popular brand of school supplies in Canada—are made right here in Mississauga?

Yep.  Hilroy’s crisp, blue-lined spiral notebooks and rainbow-bright folders are manufactured in north-east Mississauga, at a factory close to Pearson Airport.

Here’s an answer to a question your child just may pose (along with a hundred of other daily questions, depending on the age bracket).  How is the notebook made?

According to the company, it takes 45 seconds to make a Hilroy notebook, including trimming the paper, binding and adding a cover. In a seven-hour shift, about 18,000 notebooks are made.

The factory has a ruling area, where notebooks, pads of paper and other paper products are made, and a brief area, where office supplies such as folders, bristol board and Duo-Tangs are dyed, cut and packaged.

And here are some numbers your kids may not yet be able to get their minds around, but you might appreciate.  The company produces 14 million books, 8.5 million portfolios and 8.1 million report covers annually, contributing to a Canadian office-supply manufacturing industry that Ibis World estimates at $345 million.

Hilroy turns 100 this year.  Roy Corson Hill founded Hilroy in 1918 as the Canadian Pad and Paper Co. with $432 he borrowed against a life insurance policy and $1,500 his parents raised by mortgaging their home. With this capital, he formed the stationary company Canadian Pad and Paper Co. Limited.

Hill was the manager, salesman, shipper, receiver and paper cutter. He worked from dawn to dusk. In the evenings he would cut and trim the pads of books manufactured during the day. His wife would come to the factory by streetcar to wrap and label the day’s production.  Their efforts sure paid off!

The company today is Canada’s leading supplier of paper products for home, school and office.  It was acquired by U.S.-based ACCO Brands Corp. in 2012, but it still manufactures some of its best-known goods in Canada —right here in Mississauga.