Respected Toronto civil litigator Bonnie Tough has died. She was 59.
Tough died on Friday after a 22-month battle with brain cancer, according to an obituary in the Toronto Star.
Born and raised in northern Ontario, Tough, 59, began her career after graduating from Osgoode Hall Law School in 2005. She spent much of it at Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP before embarking on her own to start a boutique litigation practice in 1999. She and Kathryn Podrebarac eventually founded Tough & Podrebarac LLP in Toronto in 2005.
Tough developed several areas of expertise over the course of her career, including class actions, insurance litigation, and health-related matters. She became a Law Society of Upper Canada bencher in 2007 but was among a handful of incumbents not to seek re-election this year.
Just last month, the law society honoured Tough with an honorary doctor of laws. In 2010, the Ontario Bar Association recognized her with its Award for Excellence in Civil Litigation. Her major cases included the Commission of Inquiry on the Blood System in Canada. She represented the Canadian Hemophilia Society during the proceedings.
Tough was accomplished in her personal life as well. According to the obituary, she took up running after her 50th birthday and ran four half-marathons during the next few years. Even after undergoing chemotherapy and radiation in 2009, she did a half-marathon in the Niagara area.
“She was a fine lawyer and a very decent human being. Canada suffers a great loss with her passing,” said former OBA president James Morton in a posting on his blog.
A Celebration of Bonnie's Life will take place on Monday, May 16 at 3 p.m. at Koerner Hall, 273 Bloor Street W., Toronto.