May 8, 2024

May is Asian Heritage Month!

In celebration, we’re profiling Plumleaf Press, an independent book publisher in Bronte Village! Plumleaf Press opened its doors in 2022 and is an Asian–owned business that publishes engaging, beautifully designed literary books and embraces authors from our diverse community. They focus on books for women and children. 

We had a chance to sit down with the owner, Maggie Goh, to learn about her journey, how she came to open her business in Oakville, her key milestones and advice she would have for aspiring entrepreneurs looking to start businesses of their own.

Below are excerpts from Maggie’s interview.

1. Can you provide some background information about yourself and your business? What inspired you to start your own business?

I moved to Canada from Singapore with my husband and two sons more than 40 years ago. Our daughter and another son were born here. I have loved books since early childhood, hence a career in publishing just seemed the obvious path. After working for major educational publishers, I started my own company, Rubicon Publishing Inc. in 1987 — basically because I wanted to make my own decisions as to what to publish, and also wished to work from Oakville, and cut out the grind of commuting to Toronto.

With my husband and son running the business affairs of the company, I had the pleasure of working with amazing educators and creating thousands of books for schools, from kindergarten to grade 12, plus an amazing digital math program that is now used across Canada. Rubicon was one of the major Canadian educational publishing houses. I’m proud of our success.

We sold Rubicon Publishing in 2022 to a major publishing company in the US, and instead of retiring, I started Plumleaf Press, to publish books for the general market — embracing authors from our diverse community, and focusing on books for women and children. Plumleaf Press publishes engaging, beautifully designed literary books. Books to linger over.

2. Can you share some of the key milestones and successes your business has achieved?

Although we are only two years old, we have had some great successes. We have published a wide variety of books, from children’s books to poetry, two cookbooks, and a memoir.

I am proud that our authors and illustrators, most of whom are women, are representative of Canada’s diverse population, including African Canadian, Metis, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, and Korean. 

Some recent successes include:

The Food Doula Cookbook by Oakville author Lindsay Taylor won a gold medal in the Taste Canada Awards; continues to sell very well.

I Am Not A Ghost: The Canadian Pacific Railway by David Bouchard and Zhong Yang Huang, was named one of Best Books 2023 by Canadian Children’s Book Centre.

Nocturne: Poems to Linger Over  Selected by Marilyn Lightstone has been very well received.

Our picture books have been well reviewed by Quill and Quire, Globe and Mail, and CBC.

3. What advice would you offer to aspiring entrepreneurs looking to start their own businesses?

My top 5 tips are:

  • Find out all you can about the market you are entering.
  • Find a mentor.
  • Learn about cash flow.
  • Build a team of people who are smart and passionate, and who share your vision.
  • Only work with people with whom you feel happy.

4. Will you be doing anything to commemorate Asian Heritage Month?

We will be launching a very significant book: A Song for the Paper Children, a poem by Christopher Tse. This poignant poem describes the impact of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1923 on the Chinese community. Last year, Christopher read the poem at the Senate Commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Exclusion Act. It brought tears to the audience and a long standing ovation for the poet.

Other Asian Heritage Month commemorations include:

  • Asian Author Catherine Little will be making presentations to schools and libraries in Ontario with her three books on Chinese traditions and history.
  • In commemoration of Asian Heritage Month, the London Drugs Foundation selected one of our books, Endgame: The Secret Force 136, for donation to all elementary schools and public libraries in the four western provinces.

5. Do you have a favourite place in Oakville?

Love my home and office in Bronte.

6. What’s next for your business?

More wonderful books!

Plumleaf Press
Address: 100 Bronte Road, Unit #11, Oakville


Get in contact: (905) 825-8788

Follow along at @plumleafpress

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