A 37-year-old farmer who immigrated to Canada from Sicily in 1954 with his growing family laid the foundation for what has become Canada’s largest privately owned communications company. Even though Gaetano Gagliano spoke no English and had little money, he had the strength of conviction to fuel his vision of growing a successful business. He is a true pioneer!
Gaetano’s first job in Canada was laying track for CP Rail. After the company laid off its workers a year and half later, he plunged into his dream of becoming a printer. He got a job as a cleaner in a printing shop, where he advanced his knowledge of the printing business. In 1956, Gaetano bought a press of his own and started a printing operation in the basement of his family home. He worked long hours printing business cards and wedding invitations. Gaetano would eventually name the company St. Joseph Printing and expand the business by learning new printing methods and investing in new technology.
A significant factor in St. Joseph’s success is its Values and Guiding Principles, which were established by Gaetano when he founded the company 50 years ago. These include operating under the highest ethical standards, replenishing the environment, and a commitment to giving back to the community. Through the St. Joseph Family of Companies Foundation, St. Joseph donates 10 per cent of its profits each year to various charitable causes. Gaetano also founded the Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation in 2003 – a not-for-profit, charitable organization that aims to connect Catholic Canadians to their faith.
In 1998, Gaetano Gagliano was awarded the Order of Canada and an Honorary Doctorate in Laws from Ryerson University. He will receive a second honorary degree from St. Francis Xavier University this spring. Gaetano continues to work hard and lead by example. At the age of 88, he still comes in to work every day.