About Town 2019

It’s time to swipe to your calendar, we have some amazing events lined up for you this season! Shop till you drop at the 44th annual William Ashley Warehouse Sale in Vaughan, then meet artist Michael Aram and master artisan, Tom Brennan, of Waterford in-person at our state-of-the-art flagship store. We’re shaking up the cocktails in partnership with Orrefors at a private event (follow along on Instagram) to find the GTA’s most creative bartender and setting the table for the annual Bloor Street Entertains dinner taking place under our Waterford crystal chandeliers: a fundraiser for CanFar. Scroll down for the nitty gritty.

October 22nd The William Ashley Warehouse is on now (until December 1st) and bursting with all the tableware, home décor and kitchenware you could ever wish for. But did you know we carry miles of lighting and stacks of furniture, toys, bedding and bath accessories, children’s clothes, clocks and corporate gifts? There are literally thousands of items on hundreds of shelves (25,00 square feet with over 20 departments) with new arrivals coming in daily from the brands you know and love! See below for our new video teaser…

November 14thWe’re launching the Holiday Gift Guide with a cocktail competition. In partnership with Orrefors Crystal, talented bartenders around the GTA are vying for a trip to Sweden at this new and exciting event (limited tickets available soon). All the fun details will be posted on social media so you can follow along with us. 

November 21st Meet Michael Aram in-store, where this talented painter, sculptor and art historian will be demonstrating his brushwork and signing any Michael Aram gifts you wish to purchase. 1-3:30pm

November 23ndTom Brennan, master artisan, and spokesperson for The House of Waterford will be on-site sharing his tips for entertaining during the festive season. 1-4pm

November 27thWe will be setting the table for a very special event. For over twenty years Bloor Street Entertains has been turning the most prestigious luxury retailers on Bloor into private dining rooms in support of CanFar, raising money towards the eradication of HIV in Canada. Tickets are on sale now.


Feasts on Film- TIFF 2019

The Toronto International Film Festival has influenced us for over two decades, inspiring our windows and turning Toronto into a global stage for new talent, the brightest stars, and films on the burning issues of today. TIFF is not only an eleven-day festival but a cultural charity with an initiative on women in film, #shareherjourney, which commits to increasing participation, skills, and opportunities for women behind and in front of the camera, including ambassadors such as: Deepa Mehta, Carol Nguyen, Jennifer Baichwal and Priyanka Chopra. Since it is our job to help set the tables where we should all have a seat, here is our tongue-in-cheek trip down memory lane- where tablescaping, in film, comes to the forefront.

Soie Tressé and Han by L’Objet

The Farewell (2019), a bittersweet comedy directed by Lulu Wang, starring Awkwafina, includes a wedding banquet that starts off tame but ends in karaoke, ecstatic laughter, and liquor fuelled sobbing as the camera pans from one face to another around the head table. Did Nai Nai (grandma) order lobster or not? We will never know. #itwaslobsternotcrab

A La Carte by Rosenthal

Big Night (1996), a tale of two brothers played by Tony Shaloub and Stanley Tucci (co-director) in which a last great meal is created- the one to save their restaurant. The fight between Tony and Stanley to serve dishes that appeal to their customers’ palates is legendary. Clearly this movie would never be plausible in foodie town T.O., 416 and 905 included. #passtheparmesan

Medusa Red by Rosenthal for Versace

The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (1989). It is said that vengeance is a dish best served cold but in the gripping thriller by director Peter Greenaway, starring Dame Helen Mirren, revenge is served roasted with all the trimmings. This visual feast in shades of red with costumes by Jean-Paul Gaultier will glue you to the screen. #weregoingtoneedabiggerplatter

A Baccarat Buffet

If vengeance is not your thing, we suggest our favourite film in this category, Oscar winning Babette’s Feast (1987), where actress Stéphan Audran plays a French refugee from the Franco-Prussian war who spends her entire winnings from a lottery on a lavish feast for the pious villagers of a remote Danish village in the 1870’s. For servant Babette, it is far better to give than receive. #tastesliketeamspirit

We look forward to bumping into you at the star-studded opening of The Goldfinch, or in the seats at the compelling film, Made In Bangladesh, among many others, this September at TIFF 2019.

*** Post slider: Louis de Funès in Le Grand Restaurant (1966) used in Bernardaud’s 150th anniversary video, on view in our window.


Hosting a party? Here are our tips from THE WILLIAM ASHLEY DRINKWARE PLAYBOOK

Choosing the right drinkware for your table is simply a matter of choice at William Ashley. Here are three ways to buy the drinking glasses best suited to your unique lifestyle.

Just In: The Riedel Performance Series has a built in texture to gently aerate your wine while you swirl.

Taste Test: Riedel makes wine (varietal) specific stemware, developing the shape of each glass to suit the unique flavour and aromas of a bashful pinot to a sparkling prosecco to a bold and beautiful Bordeaux. As a renowned connoisseur of wine (and all things tasteful), 11thgeneration crystal maker Max Riedel travels the world imparting his knowledge. Want to know more about this grape-loving jetsetter?

Premier stemware by Orrefors

All Things Being Equal: Orrefors Premier stemware offers balance to your table by ensuring each glass- whether it is a white, red or a champagne flute- maintains the same height for an architectural, minimalist look. For this Swedish glassmaker, minimalism is a birthright and a nationwide strength. The clarity of this Nordic crystal makes a perfect foil for low-lying votives gracefully scattered on your table. And, guess what? Orrefors makes these too!

The Street Collection by Orrefors

Bar Beautiful: What’s your favourite cocktail? Do you drink wine frequently or only on special occasions? When setting up a bar choose a tray that is both light and easy to carry. You will need a cocktail shaker, a decanter for wine, and one for spirits. At William Ashley we have a range of decanters that can serve both as works of art and party workhorses. 

Drink barware by LSA

The glasses you select do not have to match your decanter. In fact, choosing a different glass for each guest is super easy and a good way for everyone to keep track when you hit the wee hours of the night. An old fashioned glass delights whiskey drinkers and works well for spirits served neat. Highball glasses are perfect for those fun mixed drinks of summer. Grab some flutes for a little bubbly to toast before dinner. FYI, gin is in! So make sure to take a gander at the new gin-specific glasses we gathered just for you.


Be a Wedding Guest Boss!

When you’re invited to the wedding, naturally you want to select the perfect gift, a gift that marks this momentous occasion and reflects what the happy couple means to you. Here’s our gifting guide for the busy wedding goer.

Introducing the new Rock pattern by Villeroy & Boch

THE A-LIST: Peak wedding season is here. What will you gift the happy couple? One would love a year’s worth of spa treatments, the other, Raptor’s tickets. So they both like Drake? That’s not getting you far. If they registered with us- your ticket to wedding guest nirvana just got delivered. Their selection is online and easy to shop. All you need is one full name and the wedding month and year to enter our digital wonderland. Or, come to the store where a design consultant will pull up the list and make matching your personal taste to theirs a snap.

The Guest– made by hand- designed by Jamie Hayon for Lladro

SUSTAINABLE GIFTING: Not seeing what you like? The couple’s gone rogue- no list to count on? Chill. We have everything you need to choose a gift that matters.  With sustainability on everyone’s minds, the right gift can make all the difference. One beautiful centerpiece in crystalporcelain, or metal, is an easy option for an enduring memento. A decorative bowl as a work of art- designed with function in mind- works a treat. Add a pop of colour to an open-concept kitchen with jewel-like appliances and enamelled cookware. Or seal their day with an endless assortment of picture frames.

BETTER THAN A GIFT CARD: No time to shop? Not sure of their taste? We still have an ace up our sleeve. We’ve taken the humble gift card to new heights! You have two choices: First, we can print a golden credit card personalized in-store with your name and theirs- or- choose sterling silver coins in $50’s, $100’s or gold plated $500’s. Your swag is then placed in a William Ashley box and stowed in a shimmering bag for the perfect (Did we mention light?) presentation at a shower or wedding. 

Being a guest comes with tons of stressful touch-points. Choosing a gift for the ones you love shouldn’t be a downer. After all, research shows that gifting is far more pleasurable than receiving. And remember- when you’ve shopped with us- we have a complimentary Kusmi tea or Nespresso waiting for you in our café plus two hours of free parking under The Colonnade . See you soon-Boss!


Sophie Conran’s Organic Nature

“Hello this is Sophie. I’m sorry I can’t get to the phone right now, it’s either switched off or at the bottom of my handbag.” You can tell a lot about a person from her voice message. Sophie Conran is disarming, full of charm, and straight to the point. I was about to chat with a product developer extraordinaire, whose family tree is a who’s who of British tastemakers. On the second try, I reached the daughter of Sir Terence Conran, the creator of The Habitat Stores, sister of clothing designer, Jasper Conran OBE, and daughter of cookbook writer, Caroline Herbert. I imagined her sitting at a favourite haunt like the Ritz Hotel or gazing out at the grounds of her stately country home in Wiltshire. I was greeted by a welcoming voice. It was as if I had dialed my own sister- albeit with perfect British diction- and the conversation flowed as serenely as the ripples of Sophie’s eponymous dishware collection for Portmeirion.

“For all the best name brand dinnerware and home décor for less, join us at The William Ashley Warehouse Sale on from the 27th of April until the 5th of May. “

You started your career at sixteen working in fashion for the famous hat designer, Stephen Jones. What was that like? It was old-fashioned and we were stitching by hand and I would be sent out to get ribbons down a long dark corridor and there would be a room filled with boxes and boxes of silk flowers and there, there would be a woman with lashes of grey hair- very Victorian- puffing away at her cigarette. It was quite Dikensian. You imagine it’s all glamour and catwalks, but it was stitching with cold fingers… It was an introduction to hard work.

It wasn’t long until you became an interior designer. I fell into interior design by mistake. My dad (Sir Terence Conran) gave me shares in his company, Storehouse, and said you can do what you want to with it. So, I sold them and bought a flat in Bayswater, right beside Hyde Park near Kensington Palace. It had beautiful high ceilings. During the war the building had been abandoned and later was given to the homeless. In the eighties, when I bought the property, the leases were ending and the flats had been sublet and subdivided. So I took on this project of re-doing the space. It all came together very easily and instinctually. I opened it all up again. I redid the floors putting in fireplaces. And a lot of people were like: “Wow look what she’s done! Maybe she could do that for me.” I still live there.  

It seems the word organic could be used to describe your career. How did Sophie Conran- the dishes- come to be?I had a pie business at the time and I was having dinner with a great friend of mine who was PR for Portmeirion. And at this very lovely party she asked me if I’d like to talk to them about doing a range. I was very interested and I loved the whole ethos of the company, the way it had been founded, very British, very eccentric, and run by this amazing woman. And I also sort of had personal ties to the business because my best friend’s mum had a collection (of Portmeirion). When I went there to have dinner, she would use them. I had a personal connection. And when we started (on development), about twelve years ago, I realized there was a lot of well-designed white dinnerware (on the market), but everything was computer generated and what had been lost was the human hand and the idea of craft and the idea that actually this thing you had in your hand is mud, it comes from beneath your feet, it’s earth. I wanted to put back that connection. So I worked with a potter. I would draw up shapes and he would throw them. I’m a great collector of ceramics. I pulled things out from my kitchen, including the pie dish I had developed during my pie business days…. And, my mother’s a cookbook writer and my brother (Tom Conran) is a restauranteur.

Did your mother, Caroline Herbert’s, writing influence you?One of the books she wrote when I was young was a book on British cooking and yes it did influence me. I was there when she was writing all her books and I was encouraged to help her in the kitchen to mix and stir and taste. Then we would talk about the experience. We were immersed in this wonderful education of cooking.

Let me get this straight, interior design to pies?In between, I was working for my brother Jasper (designer of the bone china Jasper Conran Collection for Wedgwood) and I was working very hard. I was in design direction and product development, working with the team on clothes, on jewelry, on night ware. The kids were very small and I would cook for them, to make their tea (dinner) the nanny would put in the oven for them the next day. I made quite a lot of pies and I had this feeling in me that I wanted my own business and I wanted to spend more time with my kids. I was in the bathtub and I thought, pies, everybody loves pies! So pies it was. It wasn’t particularly successful. I won a lot of awards and it led to the books and Portmeirion and what I am doing now. I am grateful for the pies.

If you could snap your fingers and design an item you have never worked on, what would it be? I think I would like to try electrical goods because electrical goods are not attractive. Basically, electrical goods are kind of horrible aren’t they? I think that would be a good challenge for me.

What would your process look like?I would do a lot of research. I would build up an image bank. I would look into the history of electrical goods. I would look at how they started. What preceded them? Often, when you look backwards things could have gone in many ways like a split branch of evolution. It’s exploring what was already there which will spark off different thought processes. 

You develop an extensive range of products and you have been writing prolifically since your first book, Pies, was published in 2006. How do you re-energize as a person? I meditate twice a day. I spend lots of time with friends and family. I love a museum or a walk in the country. I eat great food. I work with great people.

The perfect weekend dinner? We have a big house in Wiltshire. It is a big project- a big gardening project and a big interior project. I’ll be working on it for the rest of my life. But, I am very spoilt. I have a chef. So I like to have fifteen to twenty people most weekends to dinner. We’ve got a big dining room. It’s all candle lit and the table is filled with beautiful flowers and lots of beautiful glassware and cutlery. The table always looks amazing. I work with my chef, Brone (pronounced brawny). She does a stunning job and I get to be with my friends and family. 

Growing up, you were the only girl in a house full of boys. What do you think you passed on to your brothers?I can see what they have passed on to me… I guess… my nickname… I was called little mummy. I’m very concerned about their welfare. I bossed them about a lot when I was young because I always know best and yeah I am quite motherly. 

Sophie Conran at seventeen with family.

What did you inherit from your father, the designer, Sir Terence Conran?Well, I think I learned to appreciate design. I learned to use my eyes. I’m always looking at things.

It’s interesting that a family such as yours has a tradition of democratic design. From the game changing design within reach of the Habitat Stores, conceived by your father, to your highly successful collection of dishware for Portmeirion. What’s on the horizon? At Portmeirion, we just launched a shell collection and we are launching a Christmas collection, which will be available in the fall.

At William Ashley we are always hungry for a new recipe. Since you write all the recipes for the food photographed with your products, I would like to channel veteran journalist Barbara Walters and ask: If you were a pie, what pie would you be? I would be a ham and cheese picnic pie. I like this one, apart from it being delicious and I wrote the recipe. I like it because it’s a picnic pie, because the idea of a picnic is always a getting together of friends. It’s going somewhere beautiful in nature and it’s an adventure. 

Sophie’s Ham and Cheese Picnic Pie 

A superb pie for a picnic and it’s fairly sturdy, covered with pastry all around making it nice and portable. It has a super cheesy case and is filled with gorgeous, satisfying flavour. 

Serves 8 

2 tablespoon olive oil 

1 knob of butter, plus extra for greasing 

1 onion, chopped 

2 leeks, chopped, dark leaves discarded 

500g short crust pastry, at room temperature 

250g (9oz) piece of ham in a thick slice 

3 eggs and 1 extra egg yolk 

50ml double cream 

300g Emmental cheese, grated 

Salt and freshly ground black pepper 

1 beaten egg to glaze 

Pre-heat the oven to 220°c / 200°c Fan. 

In a large pan heat the oil and butter. Add the onion and gently fry for 5 minutes. Add the leeks and fry them for 10 minutes or until they are soft. 

Roll out two thirds of the pastry onto a floured board to the thickness of about 3mm. 

Grease a 27cm flat tin and line it with the pastry. Prick the base with a fork about 15 times and cover with foil. Place in the oven on the middle shelf and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for a further 5 minutes until golden brown. Remove the pie case from the oven and allow to cool. 

Chop the ham into 1cm cubes and set aside. Beat the eggs and cream together and mix in the cheese, onions, leeks and ham. Season the mixture with plenty of pepper and pour into the baked pastry case. 

Roll out the rest of the pastry into a disc large enough to cover the pie. Lay the disc over the pie dish and trim to fit, decorating the top with any excess pastry. Brush with a beaten egg and cut a small hole in the top to let the steam escape. Cover with foil and place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for a further 10 minutes. 

Allow the pie to cool before turning it onto a plate. To do this, cover the top of the pie with a plate, flip it over, lift off the flan tin and then flip back carefully onto another plate. 

Serve with a tomato salad, pickles and mustard.

Interview by Sujeet Sennik


The Power of Flowers

In most cultures the garden represents a kind of heaven on earth. After this blog you may start seeing your dinnerware bathed in an otherworldly light. From the garden of a French Château to the first cover of American Vogue- signed Anna Wintour- to the Limoges region (France’s porcelain orchard) and across the equator to a forest in Paraguay, here is our ode to The Power of Flowers.

IN BLOOM During a residency at the Bernardaud factory in Limoges, Zemmer Peled turned her sculptor’s eye towards dinnerware and spun to life a new breed of flower. Israeli born Peled is a growing voice in contemporary art. Her sculptures are organic and resemble extraordinary coral-like flowers blooming in a parallel universe. In her practice, she uses spaghetti makers and meat shavers to create elements for her monumental works in clay. In Bloom, the new pattern signed Peled X Bernardaud, uses a process of painting while the porcelain vessel rotates on a wheel. Her mantra: To infuse the stoic medium of porcelain with organic rhythm. COMING SOON! (scroll down to watch the making of In Bloom) *Post slider photographed by  Lily Rose.

PARADIS Porcelain power couple, Bertrand Raynaud and Mariela Schwarz-Motiel, live in a Château surrounded by a manicured French garden not far from the Raynaud factory founded by Bertrand’s grandfather in 1911. Mariela, whose line of shoes, Antolina, donned by stars such as Penelope Cruz (think Donatella Versace in Netflix’s series True Crime) was an easy fit within the family’s design department after the couple fell in love and settled at the manor. Her Paradis pattern shimmers opalescent turquoise, channeling the couple’s love of nature. You can almost here the lovebirds calling from their hand-painted trees.Did we mention that Mariela is dedicated to reviving artisan skills in her native country of Paraguay? Craft does have the power to change lives.

BUTTERFLY PARADE On the heels of the uber-successful show, Heavenly Bodies, “Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” (presented at the Met last year)- of which featured the iconic Gold-Gotha jacket that graced the cover of Anna Wintour’s inaugural edition for Vogue America (photographed by Peter Lindberg in 1988)- we would like to re-aquaint you with meta designer, Christian Lacroix. His eponymous Haute Couture collection struck gold (and flowers, and sequins and pearls) in 1987 when it was presented in Paris. The designer has gone through many a metamorphosis since then! Mr. Lacroix has lent his name to opera costumes and lead interior design projects such as the re-imagining of the Hotel Bellchasse. Lacroix’s Butterfly Parade is the perfect pattern for spring, with its eternal promise of renewal. These celestial vessels are made in Portugal by Vista Allegre.

BLOMST “Digging, laying out paths, weeding and creating dense borders bursting with flowers was my pastime.” From his earliest childhood, Wouter Dolk, artist, illustrator and fabric designer, was fascinated by his family garden.  Dolk’s simple blooms scattered on Royal Copenhagen’s signature clean white porcelain dinnerware are like pallet cleansers at a regal feast. The Blomst selection of florals (coming soon) is cool and soothing, a perfect finish to our grand tour of the heavenly gardens we will be bringing you this season.



A Sustainable Art de Vivre

We all share the same sky on this beautiful blue ball we call our home and we know that taking care of it is a priority. Guess what? It’s written in our DNA. From day one, William Ashley has expounded the virtues of buying quality dinnerware, like bone china- chip resistant- made to last. We source products such as sustainable Maplewood salad bowls and cheeseboards made locally, in Ontario, to reduce our carbon footprint. Investing in brands that give back to the planet is key. Find out how a water bottle can fight landfill and how a decorated plate can help to save a rainforest- right here- on The Breaking Dish.

Gio by Wedgwood

LESS IS MORE Bone china is the most durable body of dinnerware on our shelves. The elastic nature of bone china resists chipping, endures the test of time, and the long term investment works out to just pennies a day! Like a solid wool coat that goes with everything, add a bright mat underneath or patterned napkin on top of these dishes and your table will forever be renewed with this perfect soft-white foil.

Filter Water Bottle by BLACK & BLUM

FILL A BOTTLE NOT THE LAND The Black & Blum bottle has a reusable binchotan active charcoal filter that gently removes contaminants from tap water and releases healthy minerals back in its place. This method of filtration is not new; it has been a staple in Japan since the 17th century. It is organic, biodegradable and a respectful nod to a mystical past.

Amazonia pattern by Vista Allegre

RE:FORESTATION  The Amazonia dinnerware pattern gushes with the lush vegetation of a Brazilian Rainforest. If the intro stopped there, this new addition to Vista Alegre’s lineup would have already had us pouncing to make it our own. Yet, it’s just the beginning of a much better story. This smart design tackles important ecological issues by re-directing a portion of revenue towards the planting of Amazonian fruit trees in cities, rural areas, and indigenous villages in Brazil. STAY TUNED- COMING SOON!

Maple Salad Bowl by Stinson Studio

GOOD WOOD The Ambrosia bowls, made in Ontario by the Stinson family, have a unique starburst pattern which occurs naturally through the lifespan of a Maple tree. We love the hand-feel of these one-of-a-kind treasures. They are a perfect wedding gift for the nature lover in all of us. Who would have thought hand-turning salad bowls in a horse stable would have grown into a multigenerational tradition? It’s definitely a testament to the value we all place on the new sustainable Art de Vivre.


Sparking Joy Around The World

This season we caught up with: Twelve Tomatoes, one of India’s most sought after event design bureaus, Daniela Riedlova, an Italian boutique wedding planner and our own Hostess-in-Chief, Jackie Chiesa, to take your wedding to new heights. It’s morning in Toronto and Jackie is just back from Paris, it’s afternoon in Milan and Daniela is hopping a plane to Palermo, it’s evening in Mumbai and Lakmé Fashion Week is in high gear as Twelve Tomatoes line a catwalk in pink blooms. Don’t get us wrong; these matrimony mathematicians are serving up practical solutions to wedding quandaries even Marie Kondo would approve. Scroll down for tons of great ideas to make your big day shine.

Sicily is My Love by Dolce & Gabbana for SMEG

Daniela tested Italy twice- once for work-once for love- but it was a vacation in Sicily that hooked her for good, this Czech transplant had finally found her home. “We need a lot of elements for an Italian wedding,” Daniela Riedlova says, her multilingual drawl sweetening her sentences, “especially in Sicily!” She insists on tables set with lemons and prickly pears, indigenous to the region. She also draws inspiration from the traditional ceramics of Caltagirone found in local markets, which- by the way- is the same design language Dolce & Gabbana translated for their kitchenware collection, “Sicily Is My Love.” Her favourite wedding was a stone’s throw from Palermo where her friends Giuseppe and Lino tied the knot in an all white ceremony on the beach. We ask the Sicilian wedding planner, who speaks five languages, to utter her favourite word for love; “Amore of course,” she says in Italian without batting an eye. @mysicilywedding

Marrakesh Black by Bavaria @kyreekreations @archeryevents @littlewishcelebrations

“The Indian wedding table is a time to impress.” Parmar and Lata of Twelve Tomatoes have designed luxury weddingscapes for India’s influential, turned a fifty-year anniversary of The Park Boutique Hotels into a series of floral art installations, designed custom events for our own neighbours- Louis Vuitton and Gucci- as well as our dear friends at Villeroy & Boch -and adorned the first Sotheby’s auction in India with their designs. “To put it simply, an Indian wedding would be the biggest party a family would ever throw in their lifetimes,” says Karan Singh Parmar. “It is not untypical for the festivities to last over a week.” He mentions the high drama of placing a towering orchid tree in the middle of a mirrored custom-made main table for a bling most mortals cannot comprehend. As with us at William Ashley, Amit Lata recommends loads of candles and votives to add to the sparkle. When asked which flowers they prefer, Twelve Tomatoes puts on their sustainability hats, choosing blooms from local farmers, explaining that they have no access to refrigeration. “If they are unable to sell their produce in the morning, it’s a huge loss for them.”  We can’t be more on board with this idea and will show you more sustainable solutions for your home in the coming months. @twelvetomatoes

Quinsai Gardens by Villeroy & Boch

Jackie Chiesa, Hostess-in Chief, sits in her Toronto office after a whirlwind tour of the Maison et Objets Salon in Paris as we discuss the nature of living in one of the most multi-cultural cities in the world. “Bowls are the new plates,” she says enthusiastically, waxing poetic. “Really, the table has changed to suit the food we now eat. Everything is on offer in Toronto and we all want to partake- we are talking regional specialities from all around the world. Really, we’re a foodie culture.” The largest assortment of dinnerware patterns from Hermes to Wedgwood under one roof and a new state-of-the-art store in the heart of a Toronto tourist destination has made us an open secret around the world. “With the addition of our online component in 2014, people can browse and buy from Texas to Calgary.” Couples from the U.S. and Canada can offer their global guests a seamless way to buy from their registry.

Gio by Wedgwood

#WeddingWednesday is a time to share the love. “These are the Real Couples of William Ashley,” says Jackie, referring to our Instaposts where couples toast to their union with Robbe & Berking silver champagne flutes, sharing their personal selections made with the help of a dedicated tableware stylist. “With couples getting together, two places are/or have already merged into one,” making the occasion a perfect time to sift through those cupboards and streamline a lifestyle. Less is more- Marie Kondo would agree. “Couples are choosing transitional settings, selecting white bone china as a base, then adding accent pieces like patterned luncheon plates or fun serveware to turn an everyday set of dishes into an eye popping tablescape for their guests.” At William Ashley, a sustainable lifestyle is also a fabulous lifestyle. @williamashleyco

Daniela Riedlova of My Sicily Wedding helping a bride in Palermo

12 Tomatoes and their Ode To Dutch Masters Bouquet


#tabletime goes viral

For over seventy years William Ashley has expounded the virtues of gathering at a table to share good food and ideas. In 2018 this message was electrified and moved from art to design to our own kitchen cupboards. Resolving to spend more time at the table has always been our credo, here is how #tabletime turned into a call to action.

Judy Chicago (American, born 1939). The Dinner Party, 1974–79. Ceramic, porcelain, textile, 576 × 576 in. (1463 × 1463 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Foundation, 2002.10. © Judy Chicago. (Photo: Donald Woodman)

She: As the #metoo movement continued to shape the zeitgeist in early 2018, so renewed an interest in artist Judy Chicago. Her monumental installation, The Dinner Party, came back into focus with its hand-painted porcelain table settings, championing feminine strength. The artist, featured in an article by Sasha Weiss (The New York Times Style Magazine, February 7th), reflects on Judy Chicago’s body of work: facilitating the inclusion of women at every table. The Dinner Party, 1979, is permanently on view at The Brooklyn Museum of Art.

Christmas Campaign, Burberry 2018- Filmmaker Juno Calypso

We Are In This Together: By early fall, the Burberry Christmas Campaign unveiled a diverse and sparkling cast of icons gathered at a festive table. Hip hop star M.I.A., Kristin Scott-Thomas and the director of the video, Juno Calypso, sat pensive, radiating the essence of togetherness without giving up their individuality. Even Naomi Campbell’s mother graced this digital short. Lead designer, Burberry’s new Creative Director, Riccardo Tisci, knows how to set a table with flair.

“I am fascinated by this Japanese art called “Kintsugi” from the 16th century, which is to make visible repairs on ceramic made with a mix of lacquer and gold giving an even greater aesthetic value. In the workshops in Limoges, I worked like a calligrapher- highly concentrated, and did all the 12 plates in the same sitting. Inspiration struck like lightning.” Sarkis for Bernardaud

Let’s Talk About It: Closer to home, as the festive season bubbled over at the cusp of a new year, Canada’s own Loblaws supermarkets had a surprise for us. Channeling philosopher Alan Watts- who rose to fame translating Eastern philosophy for a Western audience- one of Canada’s largest grocery chains turned a commercial into a self-care mantra. The breathtaking short film was unleashed at local cinemas, urging a familiar call to action: spend more time offline breaking bread together.

Center: Bernadette Morra Co-Chair Bloor Street Entrertains 2018

What a satisfying start to 2019! We wish you all the joy and peace that comes with spending time with friends and family (no matter how you define the word). Everyone deserves a seat at the table. For seven years William Ashley has been a humble host to Bloor Street Entertains in benefit of CANFAR, supporting Canadian HIV research. Two months ago, we were honoured with the head table, receiving the elegant co-chair Bernadette Morra and a swath of socialites to our brand new store. It was a night to make any budding paparazzi salivate. There was not a dry eye in the house when Maluba Habanyama spoke her truth after the dinner, a poignant reminder of the power of community and what can be achieved around a dinner table. Scroll down for a video of Bloor Street Entertains 2018 in action.

Maluba Habanyama with friend.