At the end of the Women's March on Washington, protesters left their signs in front of the White House. Source: https://twitter.com/womensmarch?lang=en
For many women, the election of American President Donald Trump was the motivation they needed to get involved in politics. Take these five Canadians, who traveled to the US to march at the Women's March on Washington.
Hundreds of thousands of people marched peacefully through the streets of Washington on Saturday morning, hoping to send a message to American President Donald Trump that, as many a protest sign proclaimed, women’s rights are human rights. Though it’s impossible to give an exact number of attendees, organizers estimate the turnout exceeded half a million people—which is why it's being billed as one of the biggest political demonstrations in American history.
And the huge crowds weren’t just made up of Americans. Protestors hailed from all over the world, including Canada. In fact, a delegation of more than 600 Canadian women left multiple cities to head towards Washington, hoping to show their solidarity and support equality, diversity and inclusiveness. (Sister marches took place in 50 states throughout America, and in 61 countries total, including Canada.) For many of these women, the Women’s March on Washington was their first political demonstration. Their stories are as diverse as their ages and cultures, but they all hold the same conviction about the importance of speaking up.
Ayana Potts, 18
Getting on the bus from Montreal to head to Washington was nerve-wracking for Ayana Potts, a dual Canadian-American citizen, but she was also excited for what was to come.
“I’m ready to get started and meet people, and have a day full of love,” Potts said. “Because we need it.”
Attending a political demonstration for the first time alongside her mother Miranda, a longtime activist, Potts is excited to be part of this movement.
“To be here for something that will for sure make history after a day that itself made history,” Potts said. “It’s the best way to get into the activist lifestyle.”
She heard about the Women’s March on Washington through her mother and social media and decided it was something important for her to attend. Though this was her first protest, Potts has been interested in activism since she was a child. For her, it’s of vital importance that women have a political voice.
“I think it’s super important we have a say because now there is someone who is having a say for us,” she says. “We need more women in politics… if this is a way to start doing that and let people know that we need a say, then this is the way it’s going to be done—in a peaceful manner.”
But it’s also about supporting other women, and getting support herself.
“I think this is a really great way… to just let these emotions that have been built up over the last year out,” Potts said. “I think it’s a great support group and it’s necessary for future generations.”
Ujyara Farooq, 22
Silence is a choice according to Ujyara Farooq, a fourth year sociology major at the University of Toronto. So when a friend asked her to participate in the Women's March on Washington, she couldn’t pass up the chance to show her support.
"I believe this is a great opportunity to show that as visible Muslims, as people who wear the headscarf, we can participate in something that is kind of a commitment to other women," Farooq said.
It was important for Farooq to show solidarity with American women, not only as a Muslim woman, but as a Canadian.
"I think that's really important coming from Canada," Farooq said. "We're here to stand with you, if somebody is hurting you, they're hurting us and we're going to stand with you."
The Women's March on Washington is about understanding the specific issues that different genders, nationalities, and ethnicities face on a day-to-day basis, and why it's important for these people to have a voice when it comes to making policies, Farooq said. She points to policies and laws that are made by governments, but don’t represent the real issues that women face.
"The clearest example being the fact that tampons and pads are considered luxury items," Farooq said. "That sends a clear message that there was no female in the room when that decision was being made. That's why we need everybody at the table to talk about what hurts them.”
And she thinks it’s especially important to make sure that table is as inclusive as possible.
"Not only women, but women of colour, Muslim women, we really, really, really need their voices right now, in rooms where policies are being made."
Sadaf Jamal, 38
Whoever you are, stand proud, says Sadaf Jamal.
Representing Muslim women at the Women's March on Washington, Jamal felt it was important to show her support for diversity among women.
"We stand together, we stick together, and there's nothing wrong with being different," Jamal said.
Jamal was invited to join the march by one of its main organizers and was excited about the opportunity to support a cause she felt strongly about.
"We're coming from Canada all the way to Washington to show you our support," Jamal said. "Stand strong, you belong, you are here to stay."
Coming from a minority group Jamal felt there was a lot of meaning in this peaceful demonstration and wants other Muslims to feel proud of who they are.
"Educate others about yourself," Jamal said. "Do not go into hiding and do not feel marginalized, we have your back."
Alexandra Lapko, 62
The distance and cost could not keep Alexandra Lapko from marching in Washington.
She and her good friend Bev Edwards-Sawatsky (whose story is below) knew they had to be part of the women-led movement, and flew from Edmonton to Toronto to join the Canadian delegation headed for Washington.
"We decided it was worthwhile for us to be here," Lapko said. "To join in with all the other women who are mobilized to march."
For Lapko, what most stood out in the days following the presidential election last November was the feeling that good could come out of something seemingly negative.
Whether it’s distrust or fear, Lapko says it’s important to, "let go of those pieces and work with the energy that is in this room and around the world so we can make a difference."
Travelling for more than 10 hours by bus from Toronto, Lapko was excited by the diversity of ages present.
"There's women older than us travelling on their own," she said. "And there's a lot of young women as well, and I feel so honoured that they're connected with this situation of our world, that they would take the time to do this."
That’s because, for Lapko, speaking up is about more than herself.
"We're speaking for this generation and our daughters and our future generations, so it's important we have a voice so we can project our rights and our ability to have equal pay and equal work and be treated with respect."
Bev Edwards-Sawatsky, 70
Oyama, British Colombia
For her 70th birthday, Bev Edwards-Sawatsky decided she wanted to march in Washington. So she left her home in Oyama, B.C., meeting up with her friend Alexandra Lapko (whose story is above) in Edmonton, then flying to Toronto, where the pair boarded one of the buses heading south to Washington.
Armed with her walker and her belief that there is so much more that can be done to improve equity, specifically for diverse groups, she was ready to join the hundreds of other Canadian women who were traveling to Washington to show their solidarity.
“To do this kind of march is a first time for me,” she says. But “it just felt critical. I could be in the last quarter of my life, who knows. But [I want] to ensure that progress has been made and [we’re] moving forward.”
Despite the negative rhetoric that came out during the election, Edward-Sawatsky wanted to keep a positive outlook.
"This is how I wanted to mark my 70th birthday—being part of a group of people willing to stand up and stand out to be there together. I wanted to be part of the many that said, ‘There is another perspective that we need to speak about,'" she says.
She has always feeling like her political voice was important because of the strong female influence in her family, which is why knew she did not have to remain silent now and could make a change.
"I've had three generations of women speaking up and speaking out. I was lucky that I grew up believing I could do what I wanted to do, what I set my mind to, and I would like all people to feel that way,” she says
Add pattern to your floor without breaking the bank.
A rug can help define a space, ground a room and add much-needed colour and pattern, but they can be super expensive! So, we went on a search for fabulous but frugal rugs. With many budget-friendly options, these websites prove you don't have to empty your wallet to add some patterned goodness to your floors.
Crate and Barrel
Crate and Barrel has a sophisticated selection of rugs in a variety of patterns and colours. Afraid to order a rug online? Order a 12 inch by 12 inch swatch to try before you buy.
Our top pick: Olin grey striped dhurrie rug
West Elm’s offerings (in mostly muted tones) include a stunning selection of custom rugs. Want to see how the rug will look in a styled space? Click on the #mywestelm photos below the main rug images to see photos shared by West Elm shoppers.
Our top pick: Ashik wool rug.
This online-only shop has a huge selection of over 10, 000 rugs in endless shapes, sizes and patterns. With free shipping over $75 and an excellent return policy, you don’t have to fret over making the wrong choice!
Our top pick: Zanzibar multi area rug
Land of Nod
If you are in the market for a rug for a child’s bedroom, playroom or family room, Land of Nod has your floor covered. Their selection of colourful, geometric and neutral floor coverings means there is something for everyone. You can order a small swatch to test a rug’s colours and pattern at home.
Our top pick: blue indoor and outdoor rug
They are known for their on-trend selection of geometric and kilim rugs in the prettiest selection of colours. Make sure you check back often for new styles.
Our pick: Pala textured loop rug
This site has over 200, 000 rugs in stock, with 75% off retail prices! Every rug includes free shipping and a 30 day return policy.
Our pick: Monaco rug (available in 10 colours)
Photography by Bruno Petrozza, Design by Emilie Ceretti
You don't need to gut the entire space—or your bank account—to give your kitchen a fresh new look. The smallest of changes (think hardware, paint and backsplash) can make a huge impact. These stunning spaces show you how.
1. Paint them pretty
Photography by Yves Lefebvre
Easy upgrade: Painting your cabinets is one o the easiest ways to update your kitchen. We love the crisp white and the rich navy of this traditional kitchen—a fresh twist on ever-popular black and white—but if you want a lighter look, pair grey lower cabinets with white uppers. It can cost a lot to have your cabinets professionally sprayed, but luckily this is a great DIY project. Just be sure to choose a durable paint that's designed for cabinetry, use a foam roller and a good-quality brush and follow the manufacturer's instructions for drying times. The ultimate secret to successfully painted cabinets? Thoroughly clean and sand all surfaces and apply a coat of primer before painting.
Why we love it: The colour options are endless: Go bold, go neutral or paint your upper and lower cabinets in coordinating hues.
2. Light it up
Photography by Bruno Petrozza. Design by Emilie Cerreti
Easy upgrade: Swap out old fixtures in favour of dramatic pendants, like these statement-making globes in a warm metallic finish. Great lighting is both practical and pretty, adding a jewellery-like finishing touch to an often utilitarian space. Standout options exist for just about every style, whether your kitchen is traditional, modern, glam or rustic—but don't be afraid to choose lighting that contrasts with your existing look. These sculptural pendants provide a glam counterpoint to the room's clean lines and neutral palette, making the overall look more special. A couple of rules to keep in mind: Hang pendants 30 to 36 inches above the countertop so they don't obstruct your view, and don't be afraid to play with scale. On its own, a fixture might be too small for a space, but in a pair or grouping, it has more visual impact. Also consider installing dimmer switches, which will allow you to adjust the light to suit a mood or an occasion.
Why we love it: Grouping two or three pendants over your island is a budget-friendly way to freshen up the look of your kitchen without having to completely overhaul the space. (And who doesn't need extra task lighting for meal prep?)
3. On display
Photography by Janis Nicolay. Design by Riesco & Lapres Interior Design Inc.
Easy upgrade: Add open shelving. Ditching traditional uppers gives your kitchen a sense of space, but you can get a similar effect on a smaller scale—without having to stash your cereal boxes and everyday dishes in plain sight. Instead, create a designated space for display, as in this condo kitchen by the design team from Vancouver's Riesco & Lapres Interior Design Inc. In a little nook above the sink, art adds personality, while brightly coloured ceramics lend a cheery touch. If an open shelf feels too exposed, replace some cabinet doors with frosted-glass fronts. It's an inexpensive move that still allows you to achieve an airy quality.
Why we love it: Open shelving breaks up a wall of cabinetry and makes a clever alternative to a window, which most condo kitchens lack. Instead of a view of the outdoors, styled shelves provide the visual interest.
4. Pattern play
Photography by Ashley Capp. Design by Trish Johnston
Easy upgrade: Give your kitchen instant personality with bold wallpaper. This swirling green motif adds colour and interest without overpowering the room's clean lines and bright white colour scheme. When selecting a style for your kitchen, there are no rules: Go ahead and experiment with scale and colour. If you're worried about food splashes wreaking havoc on your walls, cover the wallpapered area with Plexiglas, available at specialty stores, like Toronto's Plastic World, where you can even have it cut to size. (But if you're covering an area of the wall that's exposed to heat, opt for glass instead.) The Plexiglas can be secured with an adhesive purchased from your local home-improvement store.
Why we love it: It gives your space a customized look—especially if you splurge on really great wallpaper—and, as long as you do your own installation, it's easy on the wallet.
5. Work it
Photography by Brandon Barre. Design by Jane Lockhart
Easy upgrade: Adding a simple workstation is a great way to increase you kitchen's functionality. "It's a place to manage the household and to keep things organized," says designer Jane Lockhart. "It doesn't have to be large—this one is only three feet wide." Base cabinets installed at table height, a durable work surface and a stylish desk chair are all you need to create your own kitchen command centre. If a built-in option is out of reach, repurpose a desk from another room in the house by painting it to match the cabinets and pairing it with one of your existing kitchen chairs.
Why we love it: You don't have to renovate to fit a desk into your existing floor plan.
6. Bring on the bling
Photography by Stacey Brandford. Design by Stacy Begg
Easy upgrade: Designer and former Style at Home design editor Stacy Begg recently refreshed her kitchen to make it larger, brighter and more family-friendly. To add sophistication to the space without spending a lot of money, she dressed up Ikea cabinets with chic golden pulls. "When it comes to kitchen hardware, always think of the overall look you're going for," says Begg. "I was working with warm metals—brass and gold gilt—but I didn't want it to look too traditional. I chose slim gold-tone pulls to keep things modern."
Why we love it: The pulls can easily be swapped out for new ones when you are ready for a different look.
7. Floors to adore
Photography by Wing Ta/Domino. Design by Kate Arends
Easy upgrade: Install statement-making patterned floor tiles. That's what homeowners Kate Arends and Joe Peters did in their Minnesota kitchen. Originally, the couple's floor was hardwood, but these graphic tiles, priced at $9 each, gave new life to the space and didn't cost a fortune. In an open-plan home, they also help delineate zones and, thanks to the hard-wearing nature of tile, spills and stains are a nonissue.
Why we love it: Beautifully patterned tiles are totally on-trend!
8. Fantasy island
Photography by Donna Griffith. Design by Greta Podleski
Easy upgrade: Bestselling cookbook author and former TV host Greta Podleski designed her kitchen island to look like a vintage sideboard. "I love the stylish view into the kitchen from the dining room," says Podleski. "And it provides a ton of functional storage." If a custom island isn't in the budget, create one from a vintage dining table or dresser. Just add a durable top, like marble or butcher block, and install castors to raise the top to counter height.
Why we love it: A sideboard-style option pairs the functionality of a storage-heavy kitchen island with the chic look of furniture.
9. Make a splash
Photography by Stacey Brandford. Design by Janine Love
Easy upgrade: This kitchen, designed for Jillian Harris, features a gorgeous mosaic backsplash made of honeycomb- shaped marble tiles. Spanning the entire height of one wall, it adds a subtle pattern to the space. Combined with a neutral colour palette and industrial accents, like the range hood, the space has a cool, modern bistro vibe. A word of warning: Choose the shape, the finish and the colour of tiles carefully. You'll want to live with your backsplash for years to come, so don't select a style that's too bold or trendy.
Why we love it: Replacing a backsplash is a budget-friendly update you can tackle on your own.