Photo Gallery: Cool Canadian Designers

It's hard not to feel a swell of pride when you consider the talent housed between our shores. There is a wealth of homegrown design to celebrate, whether you prefer humble, nature-inspired wood furnishings, a cheeky handmade rug or a new take on industrial lighting. Created by a mix of seasoned pros and up-and-coming artisans, add one or two of these designs to your own True North abode in time for Canada Day.

  • Bensen

    Scandinavian-inspired style in bold colour.

    Influenced by his father's Scandinavian designs, Niels Bendtsen produces furniture with a modern Danish edge under the company name Bensen. His Ribbon Chair is part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and his pieces were featured on Canadian stamps to celebrate industrial design. Bensen furnishings add a hit of colour to contemporary rooms.

    Source: Bensen
  • Martha Sturdy

    A Canadian classic. 

    Canada's grande dame of design, Martha Sturdy has been creating unique ceramic pieces since the late '70s. Once known more for her jewelry and sculpture than home furnishings, her functional vessels, furniture and accessories aptly convey her highly attuned artist's sensibility.

    Source: Martha Sturdy
  • Bev Hisey

    Toronto's primer textile designer. 

    Textile designer Bev Hisey's rugs, runners and cushions are full of bold colour and graphic pattern, occasionally influenced by Canuck sources such as the Great Lakes topography, The Group of Seven, even the SARS virus. Her playful designs include pillows with ant patterns and carpets that resemble eye charts.

    Source: Bev Hisey
  • Brothers Dressler

    Country cabin craftsmen with a downtown edge.

    Sustainability is a key part of the Brothers Dressler's design philosophy, who use reclaimed, found, local and responsibly harvested materials to create their wood designs. The Toronto duo's highly rustic furnishings and lighting add an earthy Canuck note to stores like Lululemon, and downtown Toronto eatery Drake One Fifty. Attracting a hip following, their work suits a cottage or slick condo.

    Source: Brothers Dressler
  • Brent Comber

    Established designs sourced from the forests of British Columbia.

    Brent Comber often sources his furnishings from fallen trees and cast-offs near his North Vancouver studio for an authentic West Coast feel. His tables and benches keep their elemental beauty with finishes that enhance the growth rings or naturally occurring cracks.

    Source: Brent Comber
  • National Design Collective

    Toronto-based newcomers.

    It's hard to get more Canadian than an upside down toboggan that's been fashioned into a table, but that's what Scott Bodaly and Heather Lam of the National Design Collective (NDC) have created with the Ubagaan. We love the intricacy of their laser-cut birch coasters that mimic downtown Winnipeg's city streets.

    Source: National Design Collective
  • Virginia Johnson

    Feminine prints and soft, cheerful hues.

    Designer Virginia Johnson brings her watercolour illustrations to textiles and paper products that add a whimsical feel to homes. Virginia's shaped cushions have a painterly vibe, and her garden collection consists of pretty pots and ceramic stools adorned with her trademark brushwork.

    Source: Virginia Johnson
  • Hollis+Morris

    Wood and steel blend for minimalistic furnishings.

    This high-end furnishing firm Hollis + Morris gives a nod to local Toronto neighbourhoods, just witness the Leslieville Light, the Parkdale Chair, the Roncesvalles Chair. The firm's designs typically involve warm, solid wood highlighted by intricate metal components for sleek pieces with a rigorous aesthetic. Watch a video of how they make their furnishings here.


    Source: Hollis+Morris
  • Bettie Cott

    Playful wood furniture and metal accents from a Sheridan grad.

    Winner of Ontario WoodWorks Merit Awards and the 2010 Design*Sponge Scholarship, this young designer's furniture and accents are fun and fresh. A powder-coated shelf resembles a house, while her Palmer bench marries blond wood with grey felt for a tailored look.

    Source: Bettie Cott
  • Derek McLeod

    A furniture maker with Scandinavian appeal.

    The OCAD grad exhibited at 100% Design in London as part of a group of 10 Canadian designers selected by the Design Exchange. Relying on natural elements such as wood and copper, Derek McLeod's designs strip away any frippery and are clean and functional, with a timeless quality.

    Source: Derek McLeod
  • Lukas Peet

    A talented multimedia craftsperson. 

    Vancouver-based Lukas Peet comes from a family of designers. He works in a number of mediums, from clay, wood, textiles and glass to create unique lighting and furniture designs. His pieces have an unconventional appeal: the Rudi Series pendant (shown) resembles an oversize paper clip, perfect for adding a hit of irony to spaces.

    Source: Lukas Peet
  • Ridgely Studio Works

    Industrial style from a metal craft designer.

    The son of famed architect Gordon Ridgely, Zac Ridgely's work is as artistic as it is functional. Best known for his lighting, Ridgely's sculptural work incorporates glass and onyx, mica and cut art glass, steel mesh and golden aluminum.

    Source: Ridgely Studio Works
  • Avril Loreti

    Vibrant, print heavy textiles.

    Toronto textile designer Avril Loreti mimics the patterns found in exotic and vintage tiles which gives her fabrics a vaguely retro, playful feel. Loreti's paint chip placements are a cheeky housewarming gift for the design obsessed. 

    Source: Avril Loreti
  • Welles Central

    An organic fixture that sparkles like jewelry.

    See the work of more cool Canadian designers such as Gabriel Scott in his gallery of sculptural lighting. 


    Source: Gabriel Scott
    Designer: Gabriel Scott