Best Practices: Meet the reigning expert in aboriginal-banking law

TIFFANY MURRAY’S BIG BREAK CAME IN 2013, just one day after giving birth to her second child. The timing wasn’t perfect, but she had received an email she couldn’t ignore. A big aboriginal organization needed legal advice on creating a brand new financial product. The deal is still pending, so the details can’t be released, but suffice it to say that it would completely innovate the way aboriginal communities can achieve financial independence. It’s a big deal for the parties involved, and they wanted a lawyer with a particular expertise in a complex new area of law: aboriginal banking.

For years, Murray had worked to build an aboriginal-banking practice at her firm, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, where she launched her career as a summer student in 2006. But it was hard. Murray already had a full finance-law workload. “When you want to establish something new,” she says, “you have to inch it forward over and above what you’re already expected to do.”

But with this email she could prove to the firm that her idea for a new practice area in aboriginal banking had potential — and, more importantly, a client base. “I could then make the business case for this area to the firm,” recalls Murray. “It was a game-changer for my practice.” So, with a two-day-old in her arms, she got down to work.

Murray, now 35, had long seen the demand for lawyers with an expertise in aboriginal finance law. She knew that, under the Indian Act, “Indian bands” are unable to use most on-reserve property as collateral. So borrowing money to raise capital is difficult. “Because they can’t leverage all of their assets,” she says, “they often have to pay higher interest rates when they get a loan.” Yet bands need to borrow money for all kinds of things: to build community centres, schools or wastewater plants. Which means they need lawyers to help them navigate the maze of securities law and aboriginal law to make these financial transactions possible.

Tiffany Murray, Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation

Tiffany Murray, Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation

Earlier this year, two years after that email showed up, Murray made partner. Her firm, clearly, was impressed. “Tiffany’s distinctive expertise will become more in-demand,” says Stephen Redican, a partner in BLG’s financial-services group. “Aboriginal bank- ing is an emerging market in Canada, and major financial institutions in Canada are targeting this growth area.”

Murray has been drawn to aboriginal issues since her undergraduate days. At the time, she took a co-op position with the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs transcribing old church and residential school records. “As you can imagine, some of those records were very difficult to read,” she says. “My experience there was one factor in why

I wanted to go to law school.” Murray identifies as Haudenosaunee (Six Nations, Mohawk Nation, Turtle Clan, to be precise), but her relationship with her own history is complicated. “I have struggled with my authenticity as an urban First Nations person who is disconnected from reserve life,” says Murray, who grew up in St. Catharines, Ont. While some of her aboriginal law-school friends at the University of Toronto — a group Murray calls “the community I felt most at home with” — have returned to reserves, Murray has spent her legal career at an office on Bay Street. “I struggle with being disconnected.”

After nearly a decade at BLG, Murray is leaving Bay Street. Later this year, she will join the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation as an in-house lawyer. It’s a dream job for Murray, but it means she’ll be moving her daughters and her husband of eight years from their home in Etobicoke to a brand new life in Ottawa. She sees it as an adventure, rather than a sacrifice — plus, in her new role, she’ll be able to make a direct impact on communities in need.

“It’s a Crown corporation that helps Canadians access housing — which is pretty important,” she says. “They work with First Nations on-reserve housing programs, one of the things that drew me to the opportunity.”

Murray wasn’t looking for a career change, but when the job offer came her way, she had to say yes. “Every now and then, life pushes you in a new direction. This was a major sign. I couldn’t ignore it.”

Tiffany Murray

The lowdown

Year of call: 2008

Favourite legal character: Erin Brockovich

Favourite item in closet: A Kate Spade purse given to me by a dear friend

Greatest extravagance: Flying to Florida to participate in runDisney races

If I weren’t a lawyer I’d be: A university professor

Pet peeve: Tim Hortons at Scotia Plaza (I really need to start going somewhere else)

Cover of the Fall 2015 Issue of PrecedentThis story is from our Fall 2015 issue.




Photography by Raina + Wilson

Career: Meet the lawyer whose office sits above a grow-op

When Mark Zekulin was in law school a decade ago, his current job would have seemed unimaginable. As president and general counsel at Tweed, a two-year-old company that grows and sells medical marijuana to patients across the country, he’s basically a legal drug dealer. Precedent sits down with the 35-year-old to find out what on earth a marijuana lawyer does all day.


Why does Tweed need an in-house lawyer?

For two reasons. One, the regulations around growing medical marijuana are intense. Our facilities have to be secure. And like any pharmaceutical product, we need the ability to do recalls and we have to test our product to make sure it’s safe.


And the second reason?

We sell a controlled substance, so we can’t advertise. So it makes sense to have a lawyer who can direct the marketing strategy, because we need to think carefully about what we’re allowed to do. We have to find creative ways to make sure doctors and patients choose us for their medicine.


What marketing ideas have you come up with?

I run a call centre that patients can contact to learn about our product. And we have a team of pharmaceutical reps that meet with doctors to educate them about our product. I also talk to the media. We can’t control what they write, but hopefully a few readers do a bit of research and realize this medicine helps people. Then they might say, ‘Gee, maybe this is right for my uncle. I should tell him to go talk to his doctor.’


Mark Zekulin of Tweed

Mark Zekulin, Tweed

So, like plenty of in-house lawyers, you get to make both legal and business decisions. Do you like that?

Absolutely. I truly get to wear a bunch of different hats.


What do you spend most of your time on?

Lots of meetings. We’ve grown from five employees to more than 70 in two years, so there’s a lot to coordinate. It can be overwhelming, but that’s also what makes it a lot of fun.


Is it hard to be known as the weed lawyer?

When I first got going, I was worried about the stigma. But those barriers are being knocked down. When I talk to my grandma, I’m not sure she buys into the concept, but when I talk to a group of people out at dinner, I don’t sense any stigma. People are just fascinated to learn more.


The high road

It only took Mark Zekulin six years to find his dream job. What follows is a year-by- year breakdown of his one-of-a-kind career path:

2008: After finishing his articles at what was then Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP (now Dentons), in Ottawa, the University of Ottawa law grad spends two years as a policy advisor to Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan.

2010: He enrolls in the Master of Laws program at the University of Cambridge — just for fun.

2011: Zekulin heads to Toronto to work on Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty’s successful re-election campaign.

2012: Zekulin starts at Cassidy Levy Kent LLP, an international-trade firm in Ottawa.

Mark Zekulin's Desk2013, summer: He quits without securing another job. “I loved the firm, but couldn’t see myself there in 20 years.” He spends four months networking.

2013, fall: Zekulin lunches with Bruce Linton, CEO and chairman of the newly founded Tweed, who needs a lawyer to navigate the thorny regulations of the cannabis sector. Zekulin is rapt and quickly joins as employee number five.

2015: After nearly two years as general counsel, Zekulin nabs a second job title: president of the entire company.

Student-Issue-2015-CoverThis story is from our 2015 Student Issue.




Photography by Nathan Cyprys

Edible Witness: How to make killer Mexican bean dip

Hey, you!

Yes, you. The person who showed up to a party with a bag of chips and store-bought dip. You probably think you’re a pretty good party guest. And let’s face it — nobody’s going to kick out the guy with chips and dip.

Mexican Bean DipBut why set your standards so low? You’re an adult now. So you should probably be aware of the general progression of acceptable party contributions, in order from teenage idiot to full-blown grown-up party guest:

1. You bring nothing. You are hoping your host has chips. It’s fine — you are a teenager, and dumb and poor and people expect little of you.

2. You bring beer, just enough for yourself to drink. Maybe four king cans, but then
you only drink three, and you slip the fourth into your bag when you leave. You eat a taquito from 7-Eleven on the way home. You are the worst.

3. You bring a six-pack, a bag of Ruffles and some Philly onion dip, and leave whatever you don’t drink for the hosts. You’re a good guy.

4. You bring a bottle of wine for the host, plus whatever you plan on drinking, plus some classy, artisanal tortilla chips and THIS DIP. It’s got creamy black beans and is spiked with lime and garlic and chili and made juicy by diced tomatoes. You’re a classy person. Everyone loves you and you’re invited to many fun parties for years to come.

Any questions?

Mexican Black Bean Dip

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 7 ml (1 1⁄2 tsp) grated ginger
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) chili powder
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) ground cumin
  • 2 dashes Tabasco or red pepper sauce
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 60 ml (1⁄4 cup) cilantro, chopped
  • 1 540-ml can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • Kosher salt


  1. Boil the garlic clove in an inch of water for 1 minute, and remove.
  2. Place garlic, ginger, chili powder, cumin, red pepper sauce and lime juice in a blender or food processor and pulse until a consistent paste forms.
  3. Add green onions and cilantro, then black beans. Pulse to mulch up beans to desired consistency (I prefer to leave about 1⁄3 of the beans unblended). If using a blender, you
may need to use a spatula to scrape down
the sides a few times to redistribute the beans. Avoid over-blending or you’ll wind up with bean paste!
  4. Remove the mixture to a medium mixing bowl and stir in diced tomatoes. Season to taste with salt — it’s always best to test with the chips you’re using as they tend to be pretty salty already.
  5. Chill for about an hour, if you have time, to let the flavours develop. Serve with tortilla chips.


Avacado and limeWhen I dip, you dip, we dip

Take this dip to the next level with your pick of extra layers on top: guacamole (just smash avocado with lime and salt), sour cream, shredded cheese, diced tomatoes, green onions, pickled jalapeños and/or sprinkled cilantro.


Sara Chan is in-house counsel at Corus Entertainment, food enthusiast and unprofessional home chef. Her favourite food group is pork. Check out more of Sara’s great recipes.

Student-Issue-2015-CoverThis story is from our 2015 Student Issue.




Illustration by Jeannie Phan

Trial & Error: Email etiquette for lawyers

Every day, I send and receive at least a couple hundred emails. Yet we, as a profession, rarely step back and consider how we use email — and how we can use it better. And so, I’ve put together what I call “The Lawyer’s Code of Conduct for Email” — drawing on my working experiences and those of Bindu Cudjoe, the deputy general counsel and chief administrative officer at BMO Financial Group. What follows is the first half of my two-part guide, which offers three tips on how to maintain proper email decorum.

1. Use email for scheduling, not decision-making

There are basically three ways to communicate with someone: in-person, on the phone and via email. When I spoke to Bindu, she said email is best used as a scheduling tool — to set up meetings and longer calls — rather than for detailed discussions or making substantial decisions. You can use email to record those decisions and suggest next steps, but when you want to go in-depth, hop on the phone.

2. Respond to clients promptly, even if you can’t answer their questions

Clients demand timeliness. So when they email me, I respond in a couple of hours, or within 12 hours if they email outside of business hours. If I need more time to consider the request, my response might be as simple as “Will do” or “Will get back to you.” And if I know I’ll be away from my email, I always set up an out-of-office alert that tells the sender when to expect a response. The point is: clients should never be kept out of the loop, wondering when you will get back to them.

3. Stop sending emails at 4 a.m.

Okay, I’m as guilty as anyone of sending emails whenever the impulse strikes. But, when working late, unless the recipient needs the information right away, wait until the next day to hit “send.” In Microsoft Office, use the “delay send” feature so the email arrives at more appropriate time — say, 9 a.m. the next morning. I often schedule emails to arrive when I know the recipient starts his or her workday (that’s 7:30 a.m. for known early-risers). That way, my messages are less likely to sink to the bottom of their inboxes.

Atrisha Lewis is a second-year associate in McCarthy Tétrault’s litigation group. Follow her on Twitter: @atrishalewisAnd also check out all of her past columns.

House Call: How to make an entry

A home’s entryway can be a tricky one. It is your guests’ first impression of your space so you want it to be beautiful, but it also has to be functional enough for everyday life. Careful planning is required in order to avoid the dreaded front-entry dumping ground.

I had neglected our entryway for all too long and this month, I decided to make it over — on a budget, of course.

Ready for your own entryway revamp? Follow these five easy steps:

Mirrors make an entryway1. The “last-look” mirror.
Try and find one that has a dual capacity, i.e. the functionality of a mirror but that feel of a piece of art. My Pick: Crate and Barrel’s Clarendon Large Wall Mirror






Consoles make an entryway

2. A console that will act as your place-holder.
We had a very small area to work with so I was limited in terms of size, but I love the idea of the acrylic console to place your things. My Pick: CB2’s Peekaboo Acrylic Console Table







3. Hooks to hang your stuff.
This was my favourite part of the makeover. Anthropology has the most amazing hooks in a variety of colours and sizes. Vintage markets finds are also perfect to add character and interest. My Pick: Anthropology’s B&W Wall Hook






Baskets make an entry

4. Woven baskets for shoes and umbrellas.
Be advised that these can get pricey, so for look, think of Pottery Barn, but for price, purchase from Homesense. My Pick: Pottery Barn’s Open Weave Basket






Style makes an entry

5. Décor elements that make your entryway uniquely you.
Include fresh flowers or succulents, beautiful trays, candles, books, or small artworks framed and stacked against the wall. I used Pinterest for inspiration.









See how I included all of these elements in our brand new entryway!

Before:                                                                         After:

How to make an entry: before

How to make an entryway: after 










Emma Gregg Emma Gregg is in-house counsel at Travelers Canada, and
Precedent’s design columnist. Read more of her tips for DIY decor.

The Precedent summer reading list








Nana Yanful

Nana Yanful

Criminal defence
Yanful Law

Recommended read
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

“In charting a woman’s journey from Nigeria to America, the book touches on race, identity and class, and tells a sweet story of teenage love. Adichie describes everything beautifully. I can hear, smell, taste everything on the page.”

What she’s reading next
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

Where she’ll be reading it
“I’m looking forward to reading in High Park. And on a beach in Jamaica wouldn’t be the worst way to read through my pile.”

Favourite Toronto bookstore
A Different Booklist on Bathurst St.

“It’s a great place to find feminist and progressive books by Canadian, African and Caribbean authors. Plus, they host book launches and community events.”

Alex Colangelo

Alex Colangelo

Knowledge management
Freelance research

Recommended read
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

“Art theft and other crimes, plus interesting characters and plot twists make this one quite a page-turner despite being more than 700 pages.”

What he’s reading next
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson

Where he’ll be reading it
“I’ll be spending some time on my condo’s rooftop patio with a good book. At least when it’s too warm out for the hot tub.”

Favourite Toronto bookstore
D&E Lake Ltd. on King St. E.

“A hidden gem with four floors of stacked shelves and heaving piles of books, maps and other interesting items. The owner is quick to recommend a dozen books you absolutely must read on whatever subject you’re interested in. Allot a few hours per visit.”

Meghan Scott

Meghan Scott

Crown prosecution
Ministry of the Attorney General

Recommended read
Room by Emma Donoghue

“It moved me to tears, and features a mother’s love for her baby. I’m a sucker for a mother-child love story.”

What she’s reading next
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Where she’ll be reading it
“I’m prosecuting a homicide in May and June, so there’ll be no reading anything but law for the next little while. I will be spending the summer on a much-anticipated vacation. I’ll be in Toronto with my kids for July, and in Paris with the whole family in August. I will have lots of time for reading: on my porch, at the local Starbucks, in a Paris living room . . . I can’t wait.”

Favourite Toronto bookstore
Indigo at the Manulife Centre

“My ideal afternoon is a movie at the Varsity and then Indigo. The kids love it too.”

Gregory Ko

Gregory Ko

LL.M. candidate

Recommended read
The Hours by Michael Cunningham

“He captures the strange and aching beauty of loneliness and regret. It’s about three women struggling with their unconventionality and fear of a life without meaning. Depressing as it sounds, it’s beautifully written and captures a certain unvarnished truth.”

What he’s reading next
The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst

Where he’ll be reading it
“I’m taking four months to travel to San Francisco, New York and Berlin. I’ll be in coffee shops, parks and sitting by lakes with a good read in tow.”

Favourite Toronto bookstore
Balfour Books and She Said Boom, both on College St.

“Both are along my weekend brunch corridor. Since they’re small shops, they go out of their way to curate a nice mix of books.”

Jessica Prince

Jessica Prince

Polley Faith LLP

Recommended read
The Trial by Franz Kafka

“While running around Old City Hall, trying to get some bail paperwork finalized, another lawyer called the experience ‘Kafkaesque.’ I resolved then to finally read this book. In describing a trial where the crime is unknown, Kafka captures the futility you can feel when coming up against a big bureaucracy. I’m also a sucker for a good dystopia.”

What she’s reading next
The Morning After: The 1995 Quebec Referendum and the Day that Almost Was by Chantal Hébert with Jean Lapierre

Where she’ll be reading it
“I just moved into a place with a big, sunny back patio. I can’t wait to spend some quality time out there with a good book and a beer.”

Favourite Toronto bookstore
BMV Books in the Annex

“I love a good deal.”

This story is from our Summer 2015 issue.




Photography by Jacklyn Atlas

Opinion: How to stop workplace misogyny

You’re sitting in a morning strategy meeting on a big file, and the partner asks your colleague whether she’s getting enough sleep. She replies that she just isn’t wearing mascara that day. An awkward silence follows.

You and your mentee are admiring a senior partner who excels at work, raised a family and participates in the community. Your mentee asks how she could possibly do it all. You talk about long days and superhuman energy. Neither of you ask the same question about male senior partners with children.

You’re speculating with your group about who will make partner next. There’s a wealth of talented young women in the pool, but nobody is sure which of them will choose to start a family, or when. This is an accepted factor in the guessing game.

Sound familiar? I have participated in all of these discussions; I’ve even instigated some of the comments. I meant well. I hadn’t set out to contradict my feminist values. And yet I contributed to the harmful stereotypes that women still face in this profession. And even when I didn’t instigate the conversation, I let it happen without interjecting. I was a bystander.

On the national stage, there are success stories, like the lauding of Lerners LLP as one of the first Canadian firms to achieve gender parity. Yet numerous trending hashtags — #VAW, #BeenRapedNeverReported, #ICanNeverBeAJudge, #EverydaySexism, #SuitablyDressed, to name a few — remind us that women are still silenced, discounted and marginalized because their sex and sexuality can be used against them. They remind us of the discrimination women face regardless of their intelligence, education, economic status or work ethic.

But how do these stories, and the problems they expose, affect our everyday practice? Women continue to excel as lawyers and judges. Law societies have been working for years on retaining women in private practice. Law firms, private companies and governments have discrimination and harassment policies. What more can we possibly do?

Our profession needs to revisit its moral imperative to address “small” injustices: everyday sexism, offhand misogyny, casual hints of violence against women.

Lawyers don’t need convincing of this moral imperative. But we’re Type As — we need a plan of action. A closing agenda. A precedent. And lucky for us, there are many precedents. Here is just one.

Toronto’s most prominent LGBTQ organizations have adopted the international Hear It! Stop It! #NoBystanders campaign. It is not a campaign about large-scale law reform, about revolution, about punishing all perpetrators. Rather, it is a campaign that asks us to practice the following credo in the fight for human rights and equality: “I will never be a bystander to homophobic or transphobic language. If I hear it, I will stop it.”

Lawyers can borrow this simple strategy in the effort to treat all our colleagues equally and respectfully. It starts in your office and it starts today. It starts like this:

  • If you hear comments about a colleague’s appearance, challenge the acceptability of those remarks.
  • If you hear concerns about a woman’s ability to manage her files, get back up to speed or make partner after she’s had a child, ask questions about the basis for those views.
  • If you hear rumours about a lawyer’s sexual activity, do what you do best: object on the basis of relevance.

It is not about speaking for women, or being “strong” when the immediate victims choose not to speak out. It’s about speaking up for yourself, and your values of equality. And it’s about listening, educating yourself, engaging others and promoting accountability. It is not about single-handedly ending all violence and discrimination against all women; there is no one prescription for such complex issues. It’s about changing the conversation. No bystanders.

Bystanding Still

This story is from our Summer 2015 issue.




Molly ReynoldsMolly Reynolds is a litigation associate at Torys LLP in Toronto. She’s also the editor of the Ontario Bar Association’s civil litigation newsletter.



Illustration by Sébastien Thibault

The Discovery: Bay Street’s secret gardeners

Ever wonder who tends to those flowerbeds all over the downtown core? We did some digging and found Holly Horne, the VP of Urban Garden, who was happy to share a few key numbers about gardening in the city.

60: The number of buildings Urban Garden cares for, which includes First Canadian Place and the Toronto Stock Exchange.

200,000: It’s not exact, but Horne says this is about how many flowers Urban Garden plants every year.

20: The number of landscapers who work at those buildings, day-in, day-out.

2,000: The approximate number of tulips, daffodils and pansies you’ll find at First Canadian Place, in a collection meant to “mimic the gardens you might see in Holland.”

The final word on flowers: “Planters are not ashtrays. And they’re also not to be used as toilets.”

This story is from our Summer 2015 issue.




Photo by Braden Alexander

Edible Witness: How to make 15-minute Korean coleslaw

Dear Summer Sara: it’s Winter Sara, writing to you from March, because print publications take time. And because this jerk of a winter (which is no doubt a faint memory to you by now, in your stupid tank top and shorts) is barely in my rearview mirror, here is a message that I beg you to heed: squander not these temperatures! Get a tan! Wear flip-flops! And, most of all, get yourself invited to a BBQ immediately!

Easy Korean ColselawHowever, don’t do what you always do, as a general type-A-ish person who puts entirely too much pressure on herself to bring some kind of blow-everyone-away dish to every potluck, and spend a full morning of shopping and prep only to be in a terrible mood by the time the BBQ rolls around, because SO TIRED. In brief, stop taking all the fun out of a very short season when you could be eating a hot dog out of a package with your friends. You know how the saying goes: nothing beats hot dog.

Fine, you won’t listen to me. So if you must bring something homemade, bring this coleslaw. It’s easy, feeds a ton of people, goes with all manner of grilled meats and is guaranteed not to take more than 15 minutes to make. Moreover, if you ignore my advice and still care what everybody thinks of you, this dish tends to impress despite its simplicity, with its vibrant colours (purple cabbage!) and kimchi-inspired dressing.

Some coleslaw recipes recommend pre-salting the shredded cabbage for an hour or two and draining it in order to draw out excess moisture and ensure a crispier bite. But I’ve found that when using purple cabbage, which has more structural integrity than napa, you can skip this step and still get wonderfully crunchy coleslaw. You can find Korean red pepper powder at any Korean supermarket (same with the sesame seeds), but you can easily skip it, or substitute some crushed chilis in for heat. A mandolin (a.k.a. fancy cutting device) will make fast work of that cabbage, but you can still get a good fine chop with a sharp knife — just make sure the pieces are thin enough to manage with a plastic fork.

Korean Purple Cabbage Slaw

Serves 6-8 as a side dish


  • 1⁄2 head purple cabbage (about 8 cups), shredded
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 60 ml (1⁄4 cup) cilantro,chopped
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) roasted sesame seeds (optional)


  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) ginger, minced
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) soy sauce
  • 1 pinch Korean red pepper powder or crushed chili flakes (optional)
  • 45 ml (3 tbsp) rice vinegar or cider vinegar
  • Juice from 1⁄2 a lime
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) sesame oil
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) honey or maple syrup

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine cabbage, green onions and cilantro.
  2. In a separate small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients.
  3. Add well-mixed dressing to cabbage mixture, tossing to coat. Allow to sit for at least 20 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and toss lightly before serving.

Toasting seseme seeds


To toast sesame seeds:
Spread them out on a cooking sheet and bake in the oven at 350°C for about 12 minutes, or until they start to brown.


This story is from our Summer 2015 issue.





Sara Chan is in-house counsel at Corus Entertainment, food enthusiast and unprofessional home chef. Her favourite food group is pork. Check out more of Sara’s great recipes.



Illustration by Jeannie Phan

House Call: A Toronto design-crawl itinerary

If, like me, your ideal Saturday is spent scouring Toronto’s best design stores for top deals, you’re in luck. I’ve tread this path many times, my friends, and I’m here to impart upon you my own personal design-crawl itinerary so that none of your precious time is wasted. I take my décor shopping seriously, but don’t worry — this itinerary isn’t exactly grueling. It starts with brunch and ends with cocktails (you did just work a 60-hour week after all). Go forth, and get deals.

10:00 a.m.
School, 70 Fraser Ave.
What to go for: Brunch. You’ll need fuel for the big day of design.
My top pick: The sugar-cured Ontario bacon and daily juice (with organic bubbles if you’re feeling frisky).

EQ311:30 a.m.
EQ3, 51 Hanna Ave.
What to go for: A couch, bedroom set, Noguchi coffee table or maybe some Alessi kitchenware.
My top pick: The Salema sectional currently sits nicely in my TV room. Its low profile makes it great for condos or small homes.

12:00 p.m.
West Elm, 109 Atlantic Ave.
What to go for:  Affordable knick-knacks and cute side tables.
My top pick: I adore my two white Parsons End Tables, which are beside my bed. I spotted the design in a recent episode of Girls. If it’s good enough for Marnie, it’s good enough for me.

12:45 p.m.
Old Faithful Shop, 886 Queen St. W.
What to go for: Gorgeous kitchen, pantry and bathroom accessories. It’s basically the hip version of an old-timey general store.
My top pick: The Toronto Market Bag — it’s the result of a project in Bangladesh that helps mothers of malnourished children find temporary employment producing handicrafts.

1:15 p.m.
Ella + Elliot, 188 Strachan Ave.
What to go for: Great finds for the nursery and baby’s room, or baby shower gifts.
My top pick: The mere sight of the mini Eames rocker makes me want children. Don’t tell my fiancé.

1:45 p.m.
Anthropologie, 761 Queen St. W.
What to go for:  The finishing touches: pretty glassware, vases, pillows, mirrors, hooks and candles.
My top pick: Captain’s mirrors, seen in just about every design magazine right now, can cost you more than a $1,000. That’s why I love Anthropologie’s sailor’s mirrors, which start at just $58.

2:15 p.m.
CB2, 651 Queen St. W.
What to go for: Everything from décor accessories to desks, bookshelves and consoles.
My top pick: Get your patio in gear this summer with the Apollo dining set at Crate + Barrel’s younger, cheaper sister.

3:00 p.m.
Montauk, 765 Dundas St. W.
What to go for: A drink to toast your successful shopping day.
My top pick: I’m partial to pinot grigio, but this day might deserve a well-made cocktail. Montauk has negronis on tap and they happen to be delicious. Cheers to all your design finds.

This story is from our Summer 2015 issue.




Emma Gregg Emma Gregg is in-house counsel at Travelers Canada, and
Precedent’s design columnist. Read more of her tips for DIY decor.