Century Mark Nears for Island Blue
May 17, 2012
(News Release) VICTORIA — Island Blue Print Co. Ltd. — operating today as Island Blue, the well-known Victoria business specializing in digital printing services and the retail supply of art materials — officially celebrates 100 years of business on July 4.
Island Blue Print Co. Ltd. was founded on July 4, 1912, when the assets of the Electric Blueprinting and Draughting Company were purchased by Joseph B. Davenport, a draftsman, and Bateman Hutchinson, a land surveyor, for the sum of $1,000.00.
In 1910, a major fire had completely destroyed the T.N. Hibbens Co. Booksellers and Stationers business, resulting in the loss of the original map of Greater Victoria. Davenport was commissioned to replace this map. This marked the beginning of a new business to be known as Island Blue Print & Map Co. Ltd. and the mapping (Davenport Maps) of the most populated cities and small communities on Vancouver Island.
The main focus of the company throughout the next 40 years was map drafting and sales, along with the sales of drafting supplies and blueprint production.
After Davenport’s sudden passing in 1954, Victor Shemilt, who joined the company in 1950 as a junior office boy/draftsman trainee, was given a year to prove he could run the business. He more than proved he could manage the company — he expanded the business with more drafting, survey, and graphic products and additional print services, and in 1969 he and wife Pam purchased the company. Throughout Shemilt’s 52 years with the company until his passing in 2003, the company continued to grow.
Today, Island Blue remains a family-owned and operated business under the second generation Shemilts: Mike, Craig, and Rob.
The company’s celebration starts with the art store’s annual art fair on Friday, June 1, at the Sidney location and Saturday, June 2, at the downtown Victoria store, where customers can enjoy talking directly to suppliers about their products and watching some of our talented art instructors demonstrate their creativity. Customers can spin the “Wheel of Savings” for discounts up to 50 per cent, and the first 100 people through the door at each location will receive a complimentary sketch book.
Lots of door prizes generously supplied by our vendors will be drawn. Local artist Steve Milroy of Wonderworks Mural & Sculpture has been commissioned to paint a historical mural on a section of the Quadra Street building to be completed on June 2.
On July 4, the company will hold an open house celebration for customers with door prizes and cake in the art store. The classroom will be turned into a museum showcasing Island Blue Print’s old maps dating back to 1912, historical calendars and cards, drafting products, including customer sheets of Letraset (dry transfer lettering obsolete due to computer technology), and marketing materials from the past.