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Our History

TR Trades Reproduction Ltd. was established in 1969 by Ron Tomilson and Jack Richardson, the ‘T’ and ‘R’ of TR Trades. Two months after the small storefront opened on Vancouver’s West 4th Avenue, Harold Duncan joined the business as a delivery driver. Approximately one year later he bought out Jack and Ron to become sole proprietor. Upon taking over the business, Harold joined the International Reprographics Association and immediately capitalized on his membership by travelling extensively, visiting hundreds of reprographics shops around North America. He surveyed larger and more advanced reprographics businesses, discovering the newest technology and bringing that knowledge back to Vancouver to implement into his business. TR Trades has remained a member of the IRGA for nearly forty years and the Duncan family continues to practice this model, keeping their finger on the industries’ pulse.

In response to the market’s demands and TR Trades’ success, the business expanded in 1976 to a larger location at 1744 West 4th Avenue. The business continued to expand up until 1989, purchasing and building into the adjacent lots in 4 stages. Having undergone multiple renovations to accommodate the development of their production facilities and equipment, TR Trades remains at this location today, owning nearly half the block at 17,000 square feet.As pioneers of Vancouver’s reprographics industry, TR Trades was a leader in the transition from analog to digital printing. The company has changed drastically over the years, supplementing the reputation they originally established within the large format and blueprinting industries decades ago. These changes have always prioritized the use of state-of-the-art technology, including TR introducing their customers to high-speed modems years prior to the Internet era. In the early ‘90’s, TR Trades purchased the world’s most advanced colour copier at the time, the Canon Colour T, making them the first in Vancouver to offer the revolutionary technology required to print colour copies fast.

As more architects and engineers experimented with colour line prints, TR Trades recognized the shift in the market and purchased one of the first large format colour inkjets within Vancouver.These postscript machines allowed photographs to be printed at a large scale. The subsequent introduction of large format colour scanning technology replaced the use of darkrooms while allowing integration with digital output devices.

 

In 2010, Harold Duncan commenced his retirement and his daughter Carla Duncan transitioned into ownership. With a combination of hands on experience and education, Carla and her team have continued to successfully develop TR’s products and services while keeping Harold’s core values at the heart of the business. TR Trades proudly celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2019.

 

At TR Trades, we recognize that our team is our success. With our career staff, some of which have been with the company since the beginning, we continue a long tradition of being industry leaders.

1992 – TR Trades, Production Floor. Staff operate some of the first large format copy machines. These machines were enormous, accepted up to 42″ originals and allowed the enlargement and reduction of prints. The introduction of automated machines sped up production and greatly reduced labour costs.

1992 – TR Trades, Xerox 9400. An operator kneels on a stack of paper in preparation for a large specification run on one of the original Xerox 9400’s. Xerox invested a fortune in creating a series of these machines in order to compete with offset printing, which had previously been responsible for the majority of the world’s specifications. TR Trades purchased the 9200, 9400 & 9500 of the Xerox series as soon as they were available and closed their offset printing department.

1992 – TR Trades, PMT Camera. An operator uses one of the original automated PMT Cameras which reproduced very high quality photographic prints. These prints could then be used on the lower resolution Xerox equipment to produce reasonable quality copies fast and inexpensively, to compete with offset printing.

Early 1970’s – Diazo advertisement. TR Trades poster ad produced on the diazo machine with 2 colours. Note the blueish and red cast—this was printed using the same ammonia-based process used for early blueprints.

1990 – TR Trades, Copier. Tony Smith, current Senior Account Manager, running a copier.

Early 1990’s - TR Trades’ customer waiting area.

1969 - TR Trades’ first flyer after opening.

Early 1990's - automated white print machines requiring significant ventilation systems.

Early 1990's - automated white print machines requiring significant ventilation systems.

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Testimonials

“TR Trades is extremely fast—they will always make sure our prints are done and delivered on time.”
DYS Architecture

TR Trades Reproduction Ltd.

1744 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver BC
604.736.4571
digital@trtrades.com

Mon to Thurs 8am - 7pm
Friday 8am - 5:30pm
Saturday 9am - 4pm
After hours printing available!

“McKenzie is always eager to respond and help. Great customer service as always!”
Smart Design Group

McKenzie

Account Manager

McKenzie joined the TR team with a solid foundation of experience in the print industry. His career began in production, where he developed his skills in maintenance, operations and finishing. Quickly recognized for his talent, initiative and charisma, McKenzie was promoted to Production Lead. At the helm of the production team, he proved a natural leader and infected the team with his positivity and work ethic.

After building his knowledge leading the production team, McKenzie progressed into the Sales department, honing his sales skills under the leadership of Carla Duncan and TR’s customer focused approach. His natural penchant for customer service and dedication to quality assurance proved an ideal fit for the TR sales team where McKenzie now functions as Account Manager.

Never one to rest on his laurels, McKenzie enhanced his knowledge with sales courses at BCIT and can regularly be seen applying his skills throughout the shop. Don’t be surprised to find him supporting the finishing department, assisting clients at the front desk, or onsite ensuring installations surpass customer expectations.

Also goes by: Mac

Interesting fact about McKenzie: he can be found on Wikipedia

Best described in three words as: loyal, funny, and stubborn

Cannot live without: his back massager

Quote to live by: “When you look at someone through rose-coloured glasses, all the red flags just look like flags” – Wanda the Owl

“Bruce has always provided excellent customer service.”
InterCAD Services Ltd.

Bruce

CAD & eProject Manager

When you meet Bruce you automatically know he is a seasoned professional in the reprographics industry. Starting out as a driver for Hughes Owens Printing in 1978, he eventually transitioned to Trimen Blueprinting where he acted as a reprographics technician for 13 years. With the onset of the digital era in 2000, TR Trades hired Bruce as CAD Manager. Since then he has been an invaluable asset to the company and anyone who has questions regarding CAD plotting. When Bruce is not overseeing others in the CAD department, he spends countless hours troubleshooting client issues, unearthing customer print errors, and providing eProject software support. He is regularly looked to for printing advice by both coworkers and clients.

Bruce is also well versed in troubleshooting onsite issues and participating in client presentations, having assisted Carla and TR sales staff in many client meetings. If you’re looking for a history lesson on the print industry or if you want to optimize your drawings for print, you’ll want to call on Bruce. Many may not know, but Bruce is a musician at heart! He originally studied engineering and math, eventually realizing it was not the career path he wished to pursue. Following this, Bruce went on to complete both a music program and a piano technician program through Douglas College. During his spare time, you’ll find him creating music or acting as a vocalist in several bands. When he is not playing the guitar and recording music, you can find Bruce tinkering around on one of his computers or watching hockey.

Also goes by: Stretch

Best described as: Humble

Favourite place in Vancouver: Minnekhada, Coquitlam

Guilty pleasure: Audio software

Favourite TV show: Hockey

Ideal meal: Mac & cheese (with ketchup)

Cannot live without: Music

Carla Duncan

President

Having worked in the family business since before she can remember, Carla has a natural talent for helping clients reach their printing goals. Always an advocate for education, Carla completed the Marketing Management course at Kwantlen Polytechnic University and then obtained a degree in Business Administration from Simon Fraser University with a double major in Management Technology and Human Resources. And all of this is in addition to sales and marketing courses at BCIT!

Combining her extensive education with a lifetime of experience, Carla is a driving force behind the success of TR Trades. On a daily basis, she can be found anywhere in the shop, always striving to enhance client satisfaction. Her familiarity with our systems, equipment, and services make her uniquely capable of ensuring clients benefit from every possible way that TR Trades can help businesses grow.

Favourite place in Vancouver: None. She would rather be off the grid camping!

During her free time you can find her: riding her atv or dirtbike, camping in the wild, fishing off the West Coast, fishing in a river, or in her garden.

Ideal meal: steak and double stuffed potatoes

What gets her motivated in the morning: coffee and coming to work!

Contact Me

“If you’re looking for an alternative option to your current print supplier, please call my cell at 604.376.7803. I would love to speak with you about how we can help your business.

604.736.4571 x 121