A private Toronto golf club is facing online backlash after a mother said she was forced to breastfeed her baby in the basement during a charity event.
Alexandra Shimo, her partner Lia Grimanis, and their two month old baby Jacob were attending an event at the Lambton Golf and Country Club in the city’s west end. Shimo left the dining area to nurse Jacob during the meal, choosing a corner in the club’s hallway, but she was soon approached by a staff member with a large tablecloth and escorted to the basement.
“I’d been happily feeding Jacob and a couple people came up and said how sweet he was and I thought that it was really quite idyllic,” Shimo told local news outlets. “Then the restaurant manager came out and said a few people had complained because they ‘didn’t want to see this while they were eating,’ because we were in the sight of the restaurant.”
Grimanis found her partner and baby on a couch in the basement, where she snapped this photo and posted it on social media. The post has been gaining traction, and both strangers and patrons of the club have been posting complaints on the club’s Facebook page and leaving one-star reviews.
“Any establishment that sends nursing mothers to the basement isn’t one I consider worth going to,” one post on Lambton’s page read. “I’m going to start golfing next week at another club that treats people with respect and dignity. I’ll be sure to never come here.”
It is illegal to discriminate against someone because of their sex under the Ontario Human Rights Code, which includes provisions protecting breastfeeding mothers stating that no one can ask mothers to cover up or be required to move to a more discreet location when breastfeeding. Whether the club, as a private establishment open to a public event, should have been subject to that code is up for debate.
“I was slightly embarrassed because he made me feel like it was a shameful thing by sort of covering me up and saying people didn’t want to see it,” Shimo said.
GOLF.com has reached out to the club for a response.