Tracy Matthews


Sarah Thomson takes to the streets to spread kindness

Mayoral candidate and Women’s Post Publisher Sarah Thomson took up a kindness challenge during her daily canvas this week to help spread the word about GTA Kindness Week.

“Kindness isn’t about a photo opportunity at a food bank; it’s about what you do every single day. About the respect you give others, a good morning as you pass someone on the street. Celebrate Kindness Week with me and smile at a stranger or hug a friend,” said Thomson.

How are you going to be more kind this week?

The Mommy Mob: Online moms show their claws while the author laughs it off

“Yes, you can use that as a microphone,” I told my daughter when I found her dancing around in my bedroom with my vibrator in her hand. “It’s really a massage stick. But feel free to sing into it!” My face may have turned the colour of someone who had just blown up three hundred balloons, but my daughter thanked me and skipped away with her newly found massage stick/vibrator, pretending to be Hannah Montana. Just Hannah Montana who sings into a vibrator, that is.”

Rebecca Eckler is one of Canada’s premier writing moms, at least, one of the top moms writing about her experiences with motherhood. With her background writing for some of Canada’s biggest newspapers and magazines it makes sense that she would delve head first into the world of mommy blogging, but the attitudes that met her in the pool are a bit surprising — the antiquated image of the cookie baking Betty Crocker style mom is thrown by the wayside once you see how some of these online moms dish out (and, lets face it, Eckler is no angel herself).

“There was a time, a decade ago, when I loved reading other mothers’ comments,” says Eckler. “That was before the Mob Mommies got onto the Internet and started calling me a c*nt as often as they probably use the word hello. I really don’t want to read advice from — or the opinion of — a mother who uses the word c*nt, especially when she uses it to describe me. Would you? I may not always be Mother of the Year—as many, many Mob Moms have sarcastically commented—but, sarcasm aside, what mother is perfect? Can you honestly say you’re a perfect mother?”

In typical Eckler style the author, who has two decades of experience writing for some of Canada’s top publication, takes her critics in stride with humour and irreverence as she recounts her struggles with motherhood, her family, and her often clashing ideologies with other moms online.

Consider every bad encounter cannon fodder for this funny and light hearted take on the oft serious and drudging topic of how to parent, and more importantly, how to parent better than the mommy next door or the mommy on the other side of the modem.



Barlow Book Publishing
English, 2014
The Mommy Mob is available now


Tunnel Toronto: Thomson unveils new leg of transit plan

Mayoral candidate Sarah Thomson unveiled the latest portion of her Tunnel Toronto plan on Thursday calling for subway extensions on either end of the Line 4, the Sheppard subway line in Toronto’s north end, at a combined cost of $4.15 billion.

Previous announcements in Thomson’s Tunnel Toronto plan include a Yonge Street Relief Line at a cost of $10 billion, and a replacement of the Scarborough RT with underground LRT instead of subway at a cost of $2.4 billion dollars according to Thomson’s estimates.

“The next priority I am announcing in my Tunnel Toronto Plan calls for completing the Sheppard subway west from Yonge to University line ($1.4 billion) and east to Markham Road ($2.75 billion). Creating transit loops is key to successful transit and city planning and joining both ends of the Sheppard line is essential to creating a strong system,” said Thomson in a press release received Thursday.

Line 4, previously known as the Sheppard Line before the TTC’s new numbered name scheme came into effect this year, is Toronto’s newest subway line having been completed in 2002. The line currently comprises of five stations and has been the subject of criticism for lack of use due to poor connectivity to other transit hubs.

Sarah Thomson unveils first portion of Transit plan for Toronto, dubbed Yonge Street Relief Line

Women’s Post publisher and mayoral candidate Sarah Thomson unveiled the first portion of her transit plan for Toronto Thursday on CP24 with Rena Heer calling for road tolls to pay for the Yonge Street Relief Line, her intrepretation of the Downtown Relief line, also known as DRL, that transit experts have deemed necessary for years.

“My Yonge Street Relief Line plan will bring more jobs to the city today and help unlock the gridlock that is slowing our productivity. We need real ideas, real solutions, real change,” said Thomson in a press release where she also calls for a comprehensive transit plan to combat the estimated $6 billion dollars lost in gridlock.

The Relief Line is intended to take the stress off of the downtown portion of the Line 1, formerly known as theYonge-University-Spadina Line, in particular the congestion at Bloor-Yonge station.

Thomson’s plan estimates that, at $5 tolls revenue for transit projects can be raised at an estimate of $370 million annually.

“Since 2010, I have advocated for the Yonge Street Relief Line, which is now on the current Metrolinx and TTC plans. My commitment is to get down to work, to accelerate the plan in Toronto by taking the first and most vital step forward, and to provide a fully-funded plan to make the Relief Line a reality.”

Thomson ran on a transit based platform in 2010 and helped to raise awareness about Toronto’s need for a relief subway line to ease congestion on the TTC in the core of the city.

Revenge porn — it could happen to you

My phone beeped. I was sloughing away on a location in the early morning and didn’t have the patience to be doing much more than getting my can of energy drink to my lips while making sure everything around me was going smoothly. Is this person in the right light? Check. Is the sound going to show up on this recording? Check. Oh, right, and my phone — I should check.

It was an old friend with a message asking if something was me or not and a link. I’d seen this phishing trick a million times, a friend’s account gets hacked and an innocuous message from them with a link is a trapping to get your personal information, so I ignored my phone and got back to work.

It wasn’t until a few hours later that I took another look at my phone and saw that the link wasn’t an anonymous or shortened URL, it was a full address to a blog purporting to show the best in real Canadian girls. My blood went cold as I clicked the link, I had never felt so vulnerable in my entire life as I did in that moment. There on my screen was my face, my name, and my body posted for anyone to see.

Beginning with guys sending in pictures of their gals to nudie magazines in the 80s revenge porn has gone from a curiosity to a full fledged industry. The definition of revenge porn has grown from simply sharing photographs to posting images and videos, along with personal information about the subject, online. Last year over half of Canadians owned smartphones (a number that is growing) and that means unlike in the days of yore we all have a high quality camera and immediate access to MMS, e-mail, and social networks at the tip of our fingers. Even for those of us who have no intention of sharing photos of any kind we still keep our images stored on devices with near constant wifi and 3G connections.

Many people report hacking as the start of their battle with revenge pornography — hacking was in fact the source of much of Hunter Moore’s stash on revenge porn blog, a site that shut down after it became so mired in legal troubles as our laws strove to catch up to holes in our privacy.

I wasn’t so fortunate to have a villainous figure like Hunter Moore to rage against. I had no idea who was behind this blog and what they were after. Close to a thousand different people placed online for anyone to see. Worse still I could see that my post, my body, had been viewable online for almost a year without my knowledge. I was still dumbfounded when I asked my friend what this was and what to do.

She was luckily more ahead of the curve than me. She gave me a quick once over of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act as a tool for me to use. Most importantly she had already contacted the host of the blog (it was created using a free blogging service) and only an email address that she couldn’t make heads or tails of.

A couple of quick searches on Google and social media turned up the information I needed. The email address was associated with a familiar face. An even sicker feeling washed over me. I hadn’t been hacked, phished, or duped – I had willingly given over my photos to this person.

Couple in bed with laptop and tablet

A year prior I had been playing around with various apps designed for dating and, erm, less than dating. Apps that are desinged with a primary focus put on your pictures are unsurprisingly a great way to have your pictures snatched. But I wasn’t that girl, at least, I didn’t think I was. I had only met up with a handful of potential suitors and of them the chats only got sexy with a smaller set.

The connection of apps, texting, calls, emails, and occasionally real face-to-face interaction with someone you find attractive can be intoxicating, and when you are conversing behind a screen it is easy to forget that when you send a photo of yourself our into cyberspace and receive a photo of another person in return that you aren’t playing at some sort of homemade porno slot machine, there is a real person on the other side whose intentions might not always be to get off.

Photos sent in the strictest confidence can’t be trusted to be deleted or stored away anymore. Pictures can be copied, posted, re-blogged, tweeted, and duplicated into infinity to the point where they are impossible to remove.

Once I knew what I was up against the road ahead seemed daunting. Lawyers I couldn’t afford preparing cases that wouldn’t end, all to get these filthy photos off the internet. But I did it. Not because legislation makes it easy or because I had any real tools available to fight for the removal of my own body off of the internet. I did it because I got lucky.

I remembered that, in my few experiences with this guy, he had mentioned his shaky immigration status and his application to be a refugee here to Canada. At the time it had seemed almost sexy that he had fled his war-torn Latin country right into my arms, but this little bit of information was my saving grace when I got him on the phone.

I let him know in plain terms, perhaps lathering on the good-cop tone a bit too much, that I wasn’t a bad guy here. I told him I believed him when he said it wasn’t him who had done this and it was a real shame that all the evidence pointed directly to him. I told him in a soothing tone that it would really suck if he couldn’t get this blog deleted because once lawyers had to get involved it would almost certainly lead to his deportation, and boy would I ever feel awful about that.

He stumbled on his lies for a little bit before I said he’d get a call tomorrow from my lawyer. After a morning dealing exclusively in cybersluething I went home, lo and behold when I clicked on the page once again expecting to see the shame of my mistrust all I got was an error page.

Not everyone is as lucky as I was, unfortunately. Real discussion and real punishment for distributors of revenge porn is beginning around the world right now, but we’ve got a long way to go before people can don’t have to worry about spectres from the past resurfacing.

I’ll never feel completely private again. In the time that post was online there’s no telling how many people saw. A lingering glance on the street could be someone who recognizes my face. A number I don’t recognize could be someone who has tracked me down. Even though the plug has been pulled on that blog the aftereffects will be in my life for a long time.

Stop Rob Ford’s homophobia — Show your support for the City Hall pride flag


This week has been tumultuous for gay rights both locally and globally. With the world’s attention arriving in Sochi, Russia, after months of intense scrutiny around the government’s homophobic crackdown, many cities around the world raised rainbow flags to support the gay athletes heading to Russia and also show their solidarity with the gay people of Russia.

Here in Toronto we have, unfortunately, seen a bigotted renaissance at City Hall.

Rob Ford and his brother Doug have placed their ignorance front and centre with hurtful and cruel comments directed at the LGBT community of the city.

When asked if he would be attending the annual Pride festival, this year celebrating World Pride, Ford responded “I’m not going to go to the Pride Parade. I’ve never gone to a Pride Parade. I’m not going to change the way I am.”

Simple, hurtful, straight to the point. Rob Ford doesn’t care about gay people. Rob Ford isn’t going to Pride, not because he has a family tradition or because he isn’t feeling well. He is not going to one of the largest celebrations of gay rights in the world that takes place in a city he is the mayor of because he just doesn’t want to.

Doug followed it up by letting us know his brother isn’t homophobic, going so far as to drop the he-has-gay-friends line. He then went on to say that Pride is no place for families or children, wading into the territory of suggesting without saying that gay people are somehow shocking, gross, or otherwise perverse and should not be near children.

The cherry on the cake this week was Rob Ford’s ordering of the rainbow flag outside of City Hall to be removed because he thinks of it as somehow unpatriotic.

Gay people in Toronto, Canada, and around the world have come too far to be bullied by the likes of Ford; all of Toronto has to make sure Ford hears loud and clear that this is not okay by standing up against homophobia.

Show Rob Ford that a passion for gay rights is patriotic by pledging your support to the City Hall pride flag.



Toronto Region Vision: All eyes on the future

What are we missing in Toronto?

That’s a great question, and not a hard one to answer. Transit, affordable housing, broader social programs, and steady finances at City Hall are some of the first things that come to mind. But Toronto’s issues stretch beyond the borders of our city, and the needs of the suburbs creep onto our streets with the commuter trains every morning.

What we’ve been missing in each municipality as we all scramble to solve our issues as if we are islands is one comprehensive vision for the region that encompasses the cities and towns of the golden horseshoe.

While we focus on our small problems we’re missing the bigger picture. We can’t wait any longer, we need a regional vision to head into the future.

Enter the Toronto Region Vision Summit. Leaders from each municipality, different levels of governance, the province, the private sector, planners, developers, and students all coming together to get to work on the ideas that will help us successfully move ahead as a region.

I can’t wait to see what is in store.


For more information visit

Did this woman get a bogus $24,000 charge from the 407 in her late husband’s name?

Jennifer Norman is being overwhelmed by bills in the name of her deceased husband — and she’s struck back with the power of social media to get some answers about these charges in the tens of thousands of dollars.

The almost $24,000 bill she posted online from the 407 ETR pay-highway outside of Toronto was more than she could take.

Look at the outrageous bill below.



The most baffling part of the whole ordeal is that Norman Douglas Gerrard, the man being asked to pony up tens of thousands of dollars, has been deceased for almost two years now after a 13 year long battle with Hodgkins Lynphoma ended on February 14, 2012, Valentine’s Day.

Jennifer took to her own Facebook page asking for help:

“So I am sharing this in the hopes that it goes viral. I am so beyond frustrated. 407 has been dogging me for years. In December of 2001 our transponder was stolen. My husband was in the ICU at Princess Margaret and I was not thinking when I parked my car. I filed a police report and sent it to them about a dozen times. But they continued to send me bills and as my husbands health deteriorated I was more focused on him. He passed away on February 14, 2012 and yet every month I still get a bill in his name. Attached is the bill. I cannot explain the sadness that I feel when I see mail in his name. I don’t have the money to fight this. Please share and let’s see if something can be done by the power of social media.”

The image was quickly picked up by the Facebook page for KiSS 92.5 and went viral with hundreds of shares and wound up on several other social media websites.

Jennifer is asking for the public’s help to set things right and honour her husband’s memory.


It didn’t take long for the wheels to get in motion once she spoke out.



UPDATE: She’s now in talks with the ombudsman and it is looking like things will get cleared up soon!



Check out this 2010 article on Doug’s brave fight against cancer (click to enlarge):



Here’s hoping everything gets sorted out in the end and cool heads prevail.

Keep up the good fight Jennifer!



Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.





Dress your man up for the winter

Why does it seem that every guy pulls out the same old winter jacket every year? It is as if winterwear is a time warp with our boyfriends and husbands doomed to repeat the same fashion faux-pas from now into eternity.

For some things it isn’t so bad, his old university sweatshirt only comes on at home when he’s getting ready for bed, and those running shoes he’s never washed are relegated to a gym locker you never have to worry about. But the coat, oh the coat. It is the lynchpin of every winter outfit, the anchor by which all preconceptions and sidelong glances can be made towards him in the winter months, and he chooses to wear that same old Gortex thing he’s had for eight years.

Thankfully we have a secret weapon. While Christmas may have some history about a baby in a manger and good will and all that, we know better. Christmas is every woman’s dream holiday because it gives us a devious chance to influence the clothes our men wear through our gifts.

When it comes to getting your man hot for the winter the fur trimmed look is back again as this year’s sexiest way to stay warm.

Check out Point Zero’s new leather look Puffer Coat. The fur lined leather look is enough to keep your guy looking fresh and fashionable throughout the rest of the winter. At only $165 you can hit the mark on style for your guy without hitting your maximum budget for Christmas presents.


Rob Ford’s billion dollar lie


Budget numbers:

City of Toronto budget summary 2009.

City of Toronto budget summary 2010.

City of Toronto budget summary 2011.

City of Toronto budget summary 2012.

City of Toronto budget summary 2013.


The #BillionDollarLie

At this point we all know that Rob Ford lied about smoking crack, but what about the bigger lie that he has been perpetuating for the better part of the summer?

The facts are in plain numbers within the City of Toronto’s budget summaries – not only did Rob Ford have a 1.548 billion dollar spending increase since he became mayor, the city budget ballooned 1.458 billion dollars this year alone. How did Ford manage to save a billion while spending went up a billion and a half?

Rob Ford was elected on his mandate of saving taxpayers money. We can see that his personal life has greatly overtaken his work at City Hall, and his lying doesn’t seem to be stuck to his personal life. Steadfast Ford supporters be warned: the one thing you thought you could count on him to do, he can’t.

Check out the numbers from the City’s budget summaries above and share out the #BillionDollarLie infographic.




Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.