Larry Milberry is the founder of CANAV Books, Canada's only/oldest independent aviation book publisher. He was born in 1943 in Haileybury, Ontario, the youngest of four children of Basil Milberry, a prospector and miner, and Julia Brown, an independent gal who was enticed by the pioneer fringe.
Milberry has been an aviation fan since boyhood. His got his first camera at the age of five. By the time he was about 14 he started hitchhiking around to the local airports and even used to bicycle 25 miles from his home in Toronto's east end to photograph at Malton Airport. Milberry parlayed his love of flying machines into a livelihood, leaving his teaching career in 1981 to establish his own publishing company. Since then, he has been producing original, quality works of aviation history authored by him and other Canadian aviation experts. Running his modest operation from his home in Toronto’s Beach neighbourhood, Milberry has published 29 books, many of them featuring original artwork commissioned from renowned Canadian artists, and an abundance of rare and hard to find photographs.
Research into Canadian aviation has taken Milberry all around the world— from the now-kaput Canadian air bases in Germany, to the Sinai Peninsula, to Kraznoyarsk in Russia just after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Other tours have found him in Bahrain and Doha, Somalia, Ethiopia and Djibouti, Rwanda and Honduras.
Of course, plenty of interesting stories are found closer to home. Milberry regularly hits the road to track down the interesting characters – and their treasure-filled log books – whose stories fill his volumes. He travels regularly to archives and museums across the nation, and somehow finds the time to visit people and operations from the Canadian Arctic, to the Maritimes, Prairies and BC in search of the next great historical find.
CANAV Books has survived for 40 years on the sweat and determination—some would say stubbornness—of its founder. As bigger and well-established publishing houses folded under the intense pressures of the book business in Canada, Milberry just kept banging out more books. CANAV is one of the "most successful and influential publishers of Canadian aviation history," according to the Canadian Aviation Historical Society. Writes Aviation News: "Milberry is well known to aviation enthusiasts in Canada and to devotees of Canadian aeronautical history overseas. His books have become collectors' items and his work is solid."
He is often spotted out and about—at Canada Post offloading his latest mail-out, at his local home kitchen -- "The Goof", enjoying a coffee in his Queen St. East neighbourhood, or in one of the area's many parks with his grandkids.