Sarah Thomson (publisher)
Thomson was born Sarah Whatmough in Toronto. She began working at a gas station at age 16 and progressed quickly to become manager, franchise dealer, until she formed a company to benefit under-performing gas stations. She was one of the first to introduce retail stores to service stations. And her management company grossed over $30 million a year with more than 200 employees.
Education and early career
Thomson was one of the first people to add retail stores to the gas station industry. At the age of 18 she created a process that was duplicated in gas stations across Ontario building a multi-million dollar company by the time she was 25. While building her retail company, Thomson also returned to McMaster University, as a mature student at the age of 21 to study Philosophy and English.
In her twenties Thomson became involved in restoring old homes, and created a small bookstore in her home and went through a long and drawn out rezoning process that drew her into politics.
Thomson ran the following year for the Hamilton, Ontario City Council, but was unsuccessful in her bid.
After running a community newspaper in Hamilton, the Hamilton Examiner, she sold it and established the Women's Post in 2002. The Women's Post printed a bi-weekly newspaper that transformed into a monthly magazine. In 2012 it again transformed into an online daily publication, womenspost.ca, with a community of over mid to high income businesswomen with over 100,000 unique monthly visitors.
Toronto Mayoral Election, 2010
Among Thomson's ideas for the city was a call for subway expansion in Toronto. From this, she garnered the moniker "Subway Sarah" and was accused of having "Tunnel Vision" She went further than any other candidate by suggesting tolls be placed on the Gardiner Expressway and the Don Valley Parkway to cover the cost of subway expansion. Thomson also expressed the need for restructuring the Toronto Community Housing Corporation to enable non-profit organizations already providing key care to obtain the funding they require to deliver better service than city run programs.
In early June, one poll had Thomson in third place at 17% ahead of candidates Rocco Rossi and Joe Pantalone, but after falling to 7%, behind Pantalone and tied with Rossi, Thomson withdrew from the campaign on September 28. She subsequently supported George Smitherman in a failed effort to prevent frontrunner Rob Ford from becoming mayor. Her withdrawal occurred too late to be removed from the ballot and she received 1,883 votes or 0.232% support in the final count.
On March 9, 2011, Thomson announced that she was planning to run as a candidate for the Ontario Liberal Party in the riding of Trinity—Spadina in the October 2011 provincial election. Thomson was officially nominated as the party's candidate at a nomination meeting on March 27 and, in the general election, placed second with 18,731 votes, 1,139 votes behind the winner, Rosario Marchese of the Ontario New Democratic Party.
Since running for office Sarah Thomson has worked full-time as Chair and Director of the Transit Alliance with the goal to building underground LRTs and expanding the subway system she promoted the idea of dedicated transit funding to pay for the expansion.
On March 8, 2013 Sarah Thomson accused Toronto's mayor Rob Ford of groping her while inebriated. This included inappropriately grabbing her buttocks and suggesting that she "should have been in Florida with him because his wife wasn't there." She claimed that the Mayor was completely wasted on alcohol or drugs - and accused him of behaving as if he had taken cocaine. The Globe and Mail later uncovered that indeed the Mayor's wife's passport was out of date and she had not travelled to Florida with him. In response Rob Ford denied Thomson's allegations. At the time Rob Ford's chief of staff, Mark Towhey, disputed Thomson's version of events, stating that Ford had only water to drink while at the event, but police documents later revealed that Towhey spoke to Rob Ford prior to the event and tried to talk him out of attending, because he believed his condition wasn't suitable for a public event.
Toronto Mayoral Election, 2014
On March 20, 2014, Thomson arrived at Toronto City Hall in a horse-drawn cart in order to register as a candidate in the 2014 mayoral election. Thomson's poll numbers are such that she has not been included in all candidates debates despite her claims that she is polling fifth.
In July, Thomson arrived on horseback at "Ford Fest", an annual picnic organized by Mayor Rob Ford and his family. She faced a possible $100 fine for violating a by-law against riding a horse in a public park but the city opted against a fine. In August, Thomson apologized for robocalling voters at 1 in the morning.
City council candidate, 2014
On September 3, 2014, Thomson posted a poll on her website asking voters whether she should continue her candidacy for mayor or withdraw and run for city councillor instead. On September 9, two days before the deadline for candidate registration, Thomson withdrew from the mayoral election and registered as a candidate for councillor for Ward 20 Trinity—Spadina instead. She garnered less than 10% of the votes, placed third and lost to Joe Cressy.
- "Personal loss opens new door for Post editor", The Publisher, March 1, 2004
- "Lone woman runs in race for mayor's chair"
- "On your mark ... Race for change at City Hall begins", National Post, January 5, 2010
- "Ford makes early impression", National Post, April 17, 2010
- "A Tory family affair — on the Thomson campaign", Toronto Star, Wednesday, July 28
- "Smitherman welcomes Thomson to his corner", Toronto Star, September 28, 2010
- Sarah Thomson to run for Ontario Liberals in Trinity-Spadina "National Post"
- "Transit Alliance"
- "Sarah Thomson wants apology after Rob Ford alleged grope at the CJPAC party", Toronto Star, Friday, March 8, 2013
- "Rob Ford vehemently denies Thomson's allegations", Toronto Star, Friday, March 8, 2013
- "Toronto's Rob Ford calls groping claim 'completely false'", CBC News, Friday, March 8, 2013
- "Police Report shows Towhey worried about Rob Fords actions the night of CJPAC party
- Visser, John; Alcoba, Natalie (March 20, 2014). "Sarah Thomson arrives at City Hall in horse-drawn carriage with boom box in bizarre entry into Toronto mayoral race". National Post. Retrieved March 20, 2014.
- "Gridlock woes push Tory to top of Toronto's mayoral race". Globe and Mail. September 2, 2014. Retrieved September 3, 2014.
- "Sarah Thomson considers ditching mayoral run for council bid". CBC News. September 3, 2014. Retrieved September 9, 2014.
- Pagliaro, Jennifer (September 9, 2014). "Sarah Thomson drops out of mayoral race". Toronto Star.
- Ulli S. Watkiss, City Clerk (October 27, 2014). "Declaration of Results, 2014 Municipal General Election" (PDF). City of Toronto. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
- "Mayoral candidates turn to Facebook, YouTube and Twitter". Toronto Star
- Sarah Thomson for Mayor - 2014 Toronto Mayoral Collection - Web Archive Created by The University of Toronto Libraries
- "Q&A: Sarah Thomson's magazine puts Sarah Thomson on the cover". National Post