2015 Press Release: Allied Properties REIT CEO & Cumbrae’s Founder Named Canada’s DesignThinkers of the Year
RGD & Rotman Honour Leading Urban Developer & Visionary Food Entrepreneur For Fostering Creative Excellence Across All Areas of Business


TORONTO (November 2, 2015) – The Association of Registered Graphic Designers (RGD), hub for the graphic design community in Canada, is thrilled to announce that Michael Emory, president and CEO of Allied Properties REIT, and Stephen Alexander, founder of Cumbrae’s, have been named Canada’s DesignThinkers of the Year. The prestigious awards will be presented by RGD and Rotman School of Management at the 2015 DesignThinkers Conference in Toronto, Canada’s only conference for visual communicators.


In its third year, the DesignThinker of the Year Award recognizes Canadian corporate leaders who use design and innovation to solve business problems and drive growth. Past recipients are Larry Rosen, CEO of Harry Rosen, Canada’s premier source for the world’s finest menswear labels, and David Labistour, president and CEO of MEC, Canada’s leading retailer for outdoor clothing, gear and services.


“It was important for us to recognize a small business and a large corporation who have invested significantly in the design of their brand,” says Bob Hambly, VP of Communications for RGD and Creative Director of design firm Hambly &Woolley. “Cumbrae’s online presence to in-store experience and Allied’s state of the art office and award- winning magazine are examples of meticulously constructed experiences that have been carefully shaped by true design thinkers.”


Cumbrae's, a specialty butcher shop based in Ontario, represents the true love of food and the relentless pursuit of raising, producing and delivering the finest meats. Cumbrae’s is the result of an unparalleled network of farmers, butchers and cooks committed to its evolution and ingenuity.


Website Design by q30designinc.


“We’ve worked hard to integrate design throughout the expansion and evolution of the customer experience,” says Stephen Alexander, founder, Cumbrae’s. “This honour would not be possible if it were not for our collaboration with expert designers in marketing, brand and shop design. This award is for the whole team.”


Video Production courtesy of MediaFace


Allied Properties REIT is a leading owner, manager and developer of urban office environments that enrich experience and enhance profitability for business tenants operating in Canada’s major cities. Its objectives are to provide stable and growing cash distributions to unit holders and to maximize unit holder value through effective management and accretive portfolio growth.


Graphics by Whitman Emorson


“When commissioning new builds, we utilize design-driven problem-solving to find ways to maintain heritage while increasing density,” says Michael Emory, president and CEO, Allied Properties REIT. “Our goal – to create inspiring, sustainable and creative work spaces for the future – has design thinking at its very core. I could not be more proud to accept this award.”


Video Production courtesy of MediaFace


Stephen Alexander and Michael Emory will be honoured at the 2015 RGD DesignThinkers Conference, taking place this year on Thursday, November 12 and Friday, November 13. Speakers include: UK book designerCoralie Bickford-Smith; Cap Watkins, BuzzFeed's first-ever VP of Design; Annie Atkins, lead graphic designer for The Grand Budapest Hotel; Sree Sreenivasan, Chief Digital Officer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Chris Dixon, Design Director, Vanity Fair, and more.

The Awards ceremony will take place Thursday, November 12 at 4:45 pm followed by the final keynote presentation of the day by world-renowned interior and industrial designer Karim Rashid. The Award itself was designed by Entro Communications and manufactured by WSI Sign Systems Ltd.KING Architectural Products


Identity System for Queen West Cumbrae's location provided by Blok & Store Interior by Giannone Petricone Associates  


Building Architects: Sweeney & Co Inc.


About The Association of Registered Graphic Designers (RGD)

RGD works to establish and promote professional standards and best practices in the graphic design industry. Representing over 3,000 members, RGD is a hub for the community, promoting knowledge sharing, continuous learning, research, advocacy and mentorship. 


About The Rotman School of Management 

The Rotman School of Management is located in the heart of Canada’s commercial and cultural capital and is part of the University of Toronto, one of the world’s top 20 research universities. The Rotman School fosters a new way to think that enables our graduates to tackle today’s global business challenges. 


To coordinate an interview with a DesignThinker of the Year recipient, a DesignThinkers speaker or to reserve your media pass to attend this year’s conference, please contact:

Samantha Ventresca

Idea Workshop

416.504.3977 x28