Donald Swinburne

Obituary of Donald Gregg Swinburne


1949 – 2019


“If I had known I was to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.  Thank you to the many people I have touched along the way.”


Don is survived by his darling wife Evelina, his six wonderful children: Nadia, Lauren (Brian), Patrick (Lori), Katelyn (Robert), James (Stacey) and Michael (Kim).  Don will also be remembered by his perfect grandchildren: Alex, Sam, Bennett, Jack, Alyssa and Emilia, with more to come; and his wonderful sisters Carole (Stirling), Debra (Ronald) and Janice (David); predeceased by his brother Frankie.  Don will be forever loved and never forgotten. His legacy will be one of kindness, respect and generosity as remembered by his wife, sisters, children, grandchildren and all whom he met. Don left the world a better place than he found it.


Don was the oldest child of Frank and Norma Swinburne.  The family moved from Montreal to Toronto in June, 1964.  He attended York University and gained employment at Methuen Publishing Company. In 1978, Donald compiled a book titled “Together We Stand,” published by Gage.  Contributions came from six sitting Premiers as well as three Prime Ministers and over 50 celebrities and mayors.  The goal was to keep Canada together after the election of René Lévesque in Québec.  In 1979 Donald left Methuen to become a literary packager.  In 1981 he secured the rights to market “The Lord of the Rings Silver Anniversary Calendar” from Saul Zaentz.  He hired the art directors and artists.  He sold over 125,000 copies in North America.


In 1982 Donald joined Family Communications with the mandate to explore new launches with a publishing fit.  1984 marked the purchase of You magazine.  In 1985, Expecting was conceived.  Over the next 10 years a number of strikes were taken, including the purchase of 50% of the New You television show.  Today’s Bride magazine was purchased in 1986.  In addition, The Baby and Childcare Encyclopaedia was created and distributed.  The 2004 January issue of Today’s Bride was 784 pages in length, a record size for a Canadian periodical that will never be beaten.  Other significant launches included ParentsCanada (eight issues in 2012), Puppy Basics, Naissance, PromCanada, and PC Guide to Private Schools.


It was a great run at Family that lasted 35 years.  Don’s latest project is “Raise our Flag.”  The goal is to place a Canadian flag in every classroom.


The family will receive friends at the Humphrey Funeral Home A.W. Miles – Newbigging Chapel, 1403 Bayview Avenue (south of Davisville) from 2:00 – 4:00 and 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Thursday, September 12th.  Service to be held in the Chapel on Friday, September 13th at 10:00 a.m.  Interment York Cemetery.  If desired, donations may be made to Epilepsy South Central Ontario, 2155 Dunwin Drive, Unit 5, Mississauga, ON L5L 4M1.  Condolences may be forwarded through