One afternoon in December 2016, a woman named Laura walked through the gilded front doors of Toronto’s Fairmont Royal York Hotel, toting an overnight bag. A towering neo-Gothic landmark, the Royal York is renowned for its luxury and celebrity clientele. Alfred Hitchcock stayed there, and so does the Queen of England when she comes to town. Laura, however, wasn’t a famous visitor. She had come for breast implants.
Laura had wanted bigger breasts for as long as she could remember. As a child she’d gazed up admiringly at the hourglass silhouettes of her mother’s friends. By the time she was 26, she’d saved enough money for surgery. On Instagram, Laura had scrolled by posts extolling the mastery of a plastic surgeon named Martin Jugenburg, whose clinic, the Toronto Cosmetic Surgery Institute, was located on two floors of the Royal York. She checked out the stream of satisfied customers in his online reviews. “I am the happiest I have ever been in my life,” one read. “Dr. Jugenburg is an ARTIST,” said another. She felt empowered just booking an appointment.