Celebrating A Wondrous Year

Jackie_HeadShotJACKIE As you can see I always have dinnerware on my mind and this year has been no exception. My mother was born and raised in West Yorkshire, England, and I was fortunate to have had the opportunity of spending several summers as a child, and teenager, touring the beautiful British countryside. At home, in Canada, I grew up with roast beef and Yorkshire puds served on Tranquility, Royal Albert, bone china- a Sunday family ritual. Our travels through England led me to the Royal Crown Derby factory in the beautiful Peak District where Sir Hugh Gibson, who owned the company at the time, took me on a magical tour of his factory. It was quite extraordinary to see that very little had changed in the manufacturing process in over 200 years. The incredible passion for true artistry makes Royal Crown Derby one of the leading crafters of fine dinnerware in the world. One of my absolute favourite items to grace a holiday table is Crown Derby bone china!


img_DONA We celebrate Christmas on the 24th with an all out seafood and fish extravaganza! We serve barbeque shrimp, salmon and cod with steamed crab legs and lobster. I make my own pasta and sauce. There are about twenty people in all with lots of commotion (that’s how I like it) and after dinner we retire to our bar for prosecco, which will be served in our new Prestige Collection champagne flutes this year!

At William Ashley, we scour the world for new ideas, twenty sixteen was no exception. I loved the New York Now trade show as it showcases artisans and I was surprised and impressed with the Royal Selangor for Star Wars figurines we picked up on another adventure. Here was a quality manufacturer making a giftware line for a movie fan base, strange. But it worked! The pieces were well received.


bryna-picBRYNA The holidays are all about celebrating with family – continuing the tradition of lighting the menorah for eight nights as we all gather around the dining room table recounting the magic of Chanukah while eating delicious potato latkes. I always look forward to the excitement of watching the children open their gifts. This year is particularly special as we are going to enjoy the occasion with our new grandnephew, the first of the ‘next’ generation!

Choosing a menorah is a memorable event. I adore the little masterpieces by Olivia Riegel and Michael Aram; they will be a lasting homage to the times spent with loved ones.


img_2CLAUDIA I don’t entertain often myself. This year I made up for that by hosting some great events at the store. Bloor Street Entertains, a fundraising gala in support of Canfar, was a highlight this year. Having the occasion to partake in a wonderful meal created by top chef Elio Zannoni from The Gusto Restaurant Group in the company of Toronto’s finest was an honour. Dinner, served on Carnets D’Equateur by Hermes, came complete with a jungle setting in the heart of our 55 Bloor Street West location.

A successful dinner does not have to be elaborate, it is the joy of getting together and enjoying each other’s company that makes it all worth while.


“From our family to yours, William Ashley wishes you the very best of the season!” Jackie Chiesa- President

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