Ever since we met over a decade ago, my husband Renald has wanted us to try a nude getaway. Nude is his thing. He says his family grew up nude. In mine, we grew up wearing clothes. Always.“What’s so great about being nude?” I say.“The freedom,” Renald says.“No” was the most natural answer in the world to me. Why would anyone want to be naked, around other naked people, for a whole week? Then, one Saturday morning in early November I was sitting across from Renald at his desk when he tossed out the idea one more time.“Remind me of the appeal again?” I asked.“You forget about the body after awhile,” he said. “You shed your cares and worries and pretences along with your clothing.” I’m sure he’d never put it quite that way before then.“I like the sound of that,” I said. And before I could change my mind, Renald had us booked to spend one week in February at a clothing-optional resort in Cancún.As the departure date drew near, panic took me by the throat. The vague list of fears I had in my head got clearer as the trip approached. I imagined a late night talk show host counting down the continuum of scenarios from moderate discomfort to outright horror…
The ten worst things that could happen at a nude resort10. The Fear: an all-over sunburn. We’ve all known or been or at least seen that person whose week of sea and sand is ruined because they got fried on the first day. I tan well but I have parts that, in 44 years, have not seen the sun. I worried for them.The Fact: Sunblock 30 works just as well on the shy bits as it does on the skin that’s used to being out there. Given the number 30, the shade, and a good sunhat—an acceptable accessory for a nude beach—neither Renald nor I burned at all.9. The Fear: What if I get ogled? Or what if I don’t? This was a catch-22 for me, and I trust I’m not alone. I pictured unashamed strangers on the beach staring straight at my exposed breasts. In my mind’s eye, I kept covert watch through my reflective sunglasses while resisting the urge to squirm. I tried to look indifferent, burying my face further in my magazine. I really wanted to tell them to leave me alone. Then my mind went to the alternative—people looked away as quickly as they set eyes on me. Again I imagined myself sneaking an undetectable look through mirrored glasses, pretending to be absorbed in my magazine. I wanted them to think I was attractive enough to pause over, if only briefly.The Fact: The more people you have together, nude, in one place, the less pre-occupied everyone is with bodies. People don’t ogle and they don’t recoil in horror. More than I’ve ever seen, people at a nude resort focus on the eyes. Never before have I had so much eye contact with strangers.8. The Fear: What if I never adjust? People say that after a short time—some say an hour, others say a day—when the initial (and understandable) jolt subsides, the eyes adjust to the new scenery and you stop noticing, or at least stop noticing, that no one has clothes on. I imagined never adjusting.
The Fact: The sand on the beach in Cancún is a soft, white powder. The water is a crystal-clear luminescent blue and laps up onto the shore in a gentle rhythm. The resort itself was impeccably maintained, with lush gardens and manicured lawns and luxurious private cabañas on the beach. That scenery remained breathtaking from day one to day seven. It completely overshadowed the nude bodies, which were entirely ordinary by comparison.7. The Fear: swinging body parts, mine and others. Bodies in motion jiggle. In their natural state, body parts swing around. Clothes contain all of that.The Fact: So what?6. The Fear: nude volleyball. Call up the image in your head—a group of adults wearing nothing but sunglasses and ball caps, playing volleyball in the sand. This was the most horrifying instance of “swinging body parts” I could picture in advance. The Fact: It took no time for me to make peace with swinging parts, yet I continued to dread volleyball. A friend got to the heart of it when she said, “It’s not the nude part, it’s the volleyball part you dread.” True enough, dressed or not, I’ve hated playing volleyball since high school. The resort had a volleyball court. Unlike in high school, no one made me play.5. The Fear: What if everyone is hideous? My own fears were more about self-consciousness about my own body. But before I’d even started to pack, at least four of my friends riffed on the same theme: “Some people—present company excepted, of course—just should cover their bodies up for everyone’s sake.”The Fact: In México, the beach front is public. Renald and I began most days with a stroll along the beach, kicking at the gentle surf, feeling the light warmth of the early morning sun and the freshness of the breeze coming off the water, and saying hello to the new friends we passed along the way. With other resorts in both directions from ours, we’d invariably pass guests from elsewhere as they walked through. Some of the men, still wet from their morning swim, wore unwieldy trunks that clung to their legs; the women’s bikini bottoms pinched them at the hips and the tops of the thighs. The women tugged at the men’s arms, whispering sternly (perhaps “Don’t stare”). Some fixed their gaze on the horizon. All marched through the nude area with an air of focused purpose: to get to the other side. By contrast, the nude crowd emanated warmth and openness, looking right at us with happy eyes. They said “Good morning” with sincerity. Hideous? People who are comfortable in their skins, no matter what their shape and size, simply are not hideous. In no time at all, I knew exactly which group was mine.
4. The Fear: What if everyone is a 20- or 30-year-old fitness-instructor type? More devastating than many things I could imagine was the prospect of being surrounded by hard, beautiful, youthful bodies. At 44, I have a regular regimen of yoga and walking. Most nights, I get seven or eight hours of sleep. I eat fresh berries and high fibre flax cereal, and drink extra-fortified skim milk in the morning. I’ve got the right body for my age. I’ve seen it soften over the past decade. Lean and lithe young women prancing naked along the beach would stand as an irritating reminder of the inevitable drops and droops and loosenings I confront each year. It was enough to make me want to hide behind a towel.
The Fact: The typical guest was between 40 and 60. Most bodies were average, with the occasional stand-out. As my comfort with my own nakedness took hold, I ceased to think about how I measured up to others. I could admire the beautiful people instead of hating them and feeling threatened. By mid-week, I experienced a strange and unfamiliar feeling: I liked my body.3. The Fear: having to get out of my chair. Everyone likes a reclining nude. They’re aesthetically pleasing. Even in advance I thought nude lounging in a chaise all week would be easy. But I recoiled at the idea of getting out of my chair, of standing up, of walking—I couldn’t even consider running. When you get up and move around, that’s when gravity takes over and everything…settles. Just the thought got me marvelling at the way clothing functions to keep the increasingly unruly parts in their proper places.The Fact: Nothing beats the freedom of walking naked in the open air, unencumbered by the restrictive grip of clothing. Nothing. Not even gravity. I felt like a kid again.2. The Fear: What if I run into someone I know, especially someone from work? Maybe it’s paradoxical, but I think it’s easier to be naked with strangers than with people I know. You could have told me all day long to remember that the colleague was there for the same reason as we were—to unwind and experience the freedom of going natural. But I cannot tell you what a damper it would have put on the whole vacation if I’d run into a co-worker.The Fact: I didn’t have to confront this fear, and for that I am truly, truly thankful.And the absolutely worst thing that could happen:1. The Fear: What if the reason for my resistance is that, deep down, I’m just a prude? I struggled with the possibility that prudishness could be at the bottom of my deep discomfort about communal nudity. The thought of discovering I was a prude made me feel old beyond my years.The Fact: We checked in. As soon as I exited the air-conditioned lobby and walked out into the tropical garden seating by the central, thatched-roof bar, the first person I ran into was a paunchy naked man in his late 60s carrying an elaborate frosty pink drink garnished with a slice of fresh pineapple. He said “Cheers!". My inner prude twitched: shouldn’t he be wearing shorts or something? Within minutes, my inner prude confronted a nude yoga class in the gazebo on the beach. She recoiled. And then Renald told me the time had come to remove our clothing. There would be no hiding behind towels or reaching for a cover-up.The clothes came off.The inner prude blushed and retreated. She surfaced just once a day after that: whenever I entertained the idea of taking the nude yoga class. But the next time I go to a nude resort—and there will be a next time—she may not even win that battle.
We arrived February 12 and brought the sun and warm temperatures with us! Beautiful—not too hot, due to the trade winds; never went below 23° at night.
This was our group’s third annual winter trip to Caliente Caribe in the Dominican Republic. The grounds were as immaculate as we remembered. They’ve put money into the hotel:
Fresh paint, new railings to replace the rusted ones. They’ve also constructed a new seawall past the sand volleyball court, have taken out a wide band of sod, and are making more beach/sunning areas. Based on our requests, they’re now planning on putting in a bocce court!
Some of the staff has turned over, but most have remained. Always smiling, joking with us…very pleasant.
The resort has a new chef. We all thought the food was excellent last year; it was even better this year! All still à la carte for breakfast and dinner. Dinner has 14 different menus with four entrees to choose from each night. And the desserts! Serious weight gain.
One small change is the buffet format at the beach bar for lunch. Far better idea! The kitchen there is small, and there are so many folks wanting to eat at the same time. The change really sped things up with no sacrifice of quality.
The Sunward Travel Group idea has really “taken off.” The group has grown from 12 the first year, to 43 the second year, to 76 in 2009. By May 20, 2009, xxxxx people had already booked for 2010! We may well have over a hundred by next February’s trip. We’re even looking at doing a one-week group tour there this November, after the hurricane season. Why not, with the super price we get.
The group is becoming a big family. We all seem to have similar values, ordinary nudists as opposed to “lifestylers” (swingers). We’re folks from our 40s to 70s, friendly, fun-loving. Some party more than others, but no one pushes one way or another. Drinkers, yes, but normally not to extremes. We do have some smokers, but fewer each time; and those who did smoke stayed outside.
People have made good friends at Caribe, friends they now interact with the rest of the year. Hey, another guest and I even discussed Canadian politics yet never got mad at each other. (He couldn’t get mad at me, ’cause he was wrong.) We’ve even picked up Americans who want to become honorary Canadians for next year’s visit simply because of all the fun they had with us this year.
Water volleyball, “testicle toss,” coconut bowling, water aerobics, shuffle board…There were always lots of players. Others played cards, read, sunned, went skinny-dipping. This year the sea kayaks were back and used frequently. A number of people went snorkelling on the reef, off the small beach at the end of the sand wall.
The resort is officially clothing optional. Some newbies arrived, not sure what they were going to find, stayed dressed or partially dressed at first, then realized what was going on and fully joined in the fun and fellowship in short order. They claimed it was easy, because people made them feel so welcome. “Why haven’t we done this before?!”
Whales! We saw more whales this year than we did the previous two years combined. And what a performance they put on for us! Many times we saw them jumping: the smaller ones clean out of the water, the larger ones all but their tails in the air. The splashes were huge. Next year, several of us will take the whale-watching cruise to get closer to them.
The hotel has been so impressed with the Sunward Travel Group that we now get an even better discount: 45% off rack rate if booked before May 31 (now past, sorry about that), and 40% off if booked between June 1 and December 16 for our February 2010 travel. This must be the best value for the nudist dollar of any of the Caribbean resorts, with very little of the garbage that goes on at other resorts such as Hedonism and Desire.
We’re now a large enough group that, if we did see any untoward sexual activity, management would listen to our complaints and make sure it didn’t happen again. Although it’s hard to keep the swingers, exhibitionists, photographers, etc. out, management is certainly prepared to keep us happy, jumping on problems immediately if they occur. There was one incident with a photographer, who’d been there for weekends several times before…Bingo, he was gone, his camera confiscated. I was very impressed.
The hotel does accept bookings from “lifestyle” groups. They block off the hotel when they have these groups there. Understandable. There are as many of them as us, maybe more. No resort can succeed catering to just one group or the other.
I know some people have a big problem with this. I don’t, and it appears the majority of our group doesn’t. Live and let live…just don’t “do your thing” when we’re there.
Because of the increased number of vacationers, some in groups, Caribe made money last year for the first time since Caliente Resorts took it over. That’s great, because we certainly want to see this wonderful resort keep operating for years to come.
If we get sufficient numbers, we could actually get the whole hotel for just our group. I’m working on it.
The group’s 2010 travel dates are February 11 to March 12. Members of the Sunward Travel Group may enjoy their holiday for between 7 days and the whole period. Once the schedules are finalized, there will be a group rate available on WestJet Airlines.For more information about joining the Sunward Travel Group (no cost),
The day started with a dense fog. It was December 27, 2008! The weather was really spring-like, much warmer than usual, causing the snow to melt away. People had left their homes in the early morning hours to travel two, three, or more hours in this fog to London, Ontario. They came to take part in Ontario’s first indoor nudist beach volleyball tournament!
AM and PM games
The morning games were the preliminary rounds, and the afternoon games playoffs. Compressing of the usual two-day tournament into one, each team in the first round played another for 25 minutes, which usually allowed for a game and a half to be played. The second game’s final score was that on the scoreboard at 25 minutes. The playoffs were just one game up to 25 points, capped at 27. So players did not usually have too much time on the side lines.
Between the morning games and the afternoon finals, we paused a little to enjoy some slices from one of the many party-sized pizzas provided as part of our admission fee of only $10 per adult.
The tournament was held at Spike’s Indoor Beach Volleyball Centre. The building had been a former manufacturing place with a high ceiling and size about that of a hockey arena. A few tons of sand had been trucked in to form the main courts.
One end of the building had tables and chairs for eating, a basic restaurant food service kitchen, a liquor bar, and two small change rooms. On an upper level were the washrooms. I heard that there were showers, as one would expect to find at a sports place, but was surprised not to see any in the men’s change room. Later in the day I noticed them along an outer wall next to the dining area.
Public showers, you’re thinking? Not really. There were two shower heads per person, one for washing lower legs, the other about a metre from the floor, it seems for washing from your waist downwards. Taking a proper shower means getting down on your knees. Luckily, we nudists rinse off easily!
Walking barefoot, I was surprised that the concrete floor was not that cold. The indoor air temperature was a bit cool for some in the morning but warmed up as the day progressed. Fortunately nudists are usually an easygoing bunch, and we adjusted to the indoor environment.
The last hour of the day was set aside for giving out awards to the winning teams. The tournament was blessed to have three sponsors of prizes: the Bare Oaks Greater Toronto Naturist Tournament, the Sunny Glades Welcome to the Jungle Tournament, and the Forest City Family Naturists.
Playing nudist beach volleyball between the usual summer seasons was a very welcome opportunity. For the small event fee, the foggy drive to London was well worth it. This tournament provided those of us wanting to play or host a winter season indoor nudist volleyball event a successful trial run.
This will be great if it can become an annual event. I know that there were others who wanted to be a part of the action but were unable to fit it into their holiday season activities. Next year!
If the Spanish Naturist Federation can call for a día sin bañadores (Day WithOut Bathing Suits—DWOBS), as it did in July 2007 and 2008, for anyone visiting any beach, so can Canada! Vancouverites decided to do the same at Wreck Beach on August 31, 2008 (after our August 23 date was defeated by unseasonably cold weather). Even though we don’t have the freedom in North America that Spanish beaches do with topfreedom and nudity, if we continue to encourage body acceptance over body shame, our day will come.
Just as the Spanish media pre-publicized their day, so did our wonderful media here. CBC television, CKNW Radio, 24 Hours, and Canadian Press gave us great “coverage.” One station even referred to our rain date as our “shrivel date”!
It was chilly again on the eventual Body Acceptance Day (BAD) 2008. Still, folks loved the idea of the naked passports we distributed to those brave enough to forgo their clothing after checking out the multi-coloured Body Acceptance Machine (BAM). It’s a large tent that clothed people crawl into to be “churned out” naked, to the sound of a hailer making its siren noise!
The visas are beach activities for which you get signatures, provided you are naked when you do so. You may still order food, for example, if you are clothed, but in that case you cannot get your naked passport signed in the naked dining visa.
Thanks to our wonderful volunteers, we were able to present our 50/50 raffle winner with a sizeable chunk of change at the end of the day. We also operated our skin cancer screening checkpoints and provided body painting, which many folks thoroughly enjoyed receiving. One woman was transformed into a pirate buccaneer before she plied her spatula at the grill.
Next year we challenge all of Canada to get on board with us for Canada’s second annual Body Acceptance Day, July 19. We suggest that discount coupons from area merchants be included in those naked passports. Those fun passports read, in part: “In case of severe sunburn or other beach calamity such as tan lines, please notify the nearest Naturist diplomatic or consular office and the individual named below…”
In 1999 (issue 14:2), Going Natural published an article reviewing some little known research about the benefits of sun exposure. The article suggested that the advice to hide from the sun was very one-sided. It concluded that the sun had many health-giving benefits and that the advice being given was probably an overreaction.
In the ensuing years, we have been deluged by research studies on the benefits of vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin. The evidence that staying out of the sun was bad advice is now overwhelming.
In an April 28, 2007 article in the Toronto Globe and Mail, Martin Mittelstaedt reports that “those studying the vitamin say the hide-from-sunlight advice has amounted to the health equivalent of a foolish poker trade. Anyone practising sun avoidance has traded the benefit of a reduced risk of skin cancer—which is easy to detect and treat and seldom fatal—for an increased risk of the scary, high-body-count cancers, such as breast, prostate, and colon, that appear linked to vitamin D shortages.”
In The Scientist, May 5, 2003, Dr. Colleen E. Hayes, a professor of biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, writes, “Urged by the fear of skin cancer, individuals are avoiding sun exposure and using sunscreens…Somewhere there is a balance between too much sun and melanoma risk, or too little sun and autoimmune disease.”
In a March 27, 2003 interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Dr. Michael Holick, of the Boston University School of Medicine, said, “In Europe it’s estimated that 25% of women who die of breast cancer may not have died of breast cancer if they would have maintained adequate vitamin D levels throughout their life and have had some sun exposure.”
In the February 2005 edition of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in the USA, a study by Dr. Marianne Berwick of the University of New Mexico found that people with greater sun exposure were less likely to die of melanoma. Ironically, this is a type of skin cancer that experts used to tell us could be avoided by keeping out of the sun. The study also found that those who had a history of getting sunburn were more likely to die of skin cancer.
More is researched
In the same issue of the journal was a second study by Dr. Karin Ekström Smedby, of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. It found that the greater the exposure to sunlight, the lower the risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It also found a similar but weaker correlation for Hodgkin’s disease.
Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School presented a study at the 2005 annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research that showed that patients with high vitamin D intake who had surgery in months with a lot of sun were more than twice as likely to be alive five years after surgery, compared to patients with low vitamin D intake and winter operations.
On April 5, 2006, the Associated Press reported on two new studies: “High levels of vitamin D translated to a 50% lower risk of breast cancer, one study found. The second study by Canadian researchers found that women who spent time outdoors or got a lot of vitamin D from their diets or supplements—especially as teens—were 25% to 45% less likely to develop breast cancer than women with less of the nutrient.”
In 2007, researchers at Creighton University in Nebraska published the results of a four-year study. They randomly assigned 1180 women to two groups. Those assigned to take vitamin D and calcium supplements were 77% less likely to develop cancer.
On May 16, 2008, Reuters reported on a study from Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. It concluded that “women deficient in the ‘sunshine vitamin’ when diagnosed with breast cancer were 94 per cent more likely to have their cancer spread and were 73 per cent more likely to die than women with adequate vitamin D levels.”
More is involved
It’s not just cancer that’s involved. Sunshine has been shown to help with hypertension, diabetes, osteoporosis, influenza, psoriasis, seasonal affective disorder, pre-menstrual syndrome, sleep disorders, and autoimmune diseases. In a July 5, 2003 article in the Globe and Mail, William Illsey Atkinson reported that “for nearly a decade, epidemiologists at UNESCO have found a strong fall-off in the rate of multiple sclerosis in populations closer to the equator,” and that “your chances of developing MS are significantly lower if you’ve lived in a sunny climate from infancy to your mid-teens.”
Exposure to sunshine is by far the most efficient way to build up vitamin D. A cup of milk fortified with vitamin D will give you only about 100 international units (IU) of it. A typical multi-vitamin will give you 400 IU. But spending 10–15 minutes naked in the sun, without sunscreen, will cause your body to make 10,000 IU! (People with darker skin need a bit more time to make the same amount of vitamin D.)
Nobody knows how much vitamin D is needed. While some scientists have suggested that more than 10,000 IU is toxic, others are now disputing that. While it is possible to take too many vitamin D supplements, your body’s production of vitamin D is selfregulating. It won’t make too much. So it is best to use your natural processes to get your optimal vitamin D level.
In Canada, the winter sun is not strong enough to produce enough vitamin D. During those months, it is best to supplement sun exposure with nutritional vitamin D. Experts currently suggest between 1000 and 2000 IU per day.
The big question remains what happens to the substances in our bodies that get synthesized into vitamin D by sunshine on our skin. (When we take vitamin D as a supplement, our bodies are not producing it.) Some authors have suggested that the elements that our bodies turn into vitamin D with the help of sunshine might build up and turn harmful if they are not used.
As with most things, it seems more prudent to live our lives as naturally as possible. That includes using the sun to allow our bodies to make our vitamin D the natural way. Nonetheless, sunshine should also be taken in moderation.
Every year there are exciting organized nude events in western North America. This year will be no different.
Last year, the first was the Fraternity Snoqualmie Bare Buns Fun Run held on Sunday, July 15 at the nudist resort of the same name on Tiger Mountain, a little south of Issaquah, Washington. Basically, you run up the side of a mountain for over 2 km, then turn around and run back down. Yes, going up is the harder part but good for the cardiovascular.
The race was a wonderful event, thanks to its director, Mike Donoghue. It included feeding all the participants the evening before. After the run, all 200 or so participants were treated to pizza and salad.
I arrived very late on Friday night but received a very warm welcome. My truck always draws people, as it’s a classic 1957 Kenworth.
This time I finished the race in 30:32, about 20 seconds slower than the time before. I placed sixth in my category, age 60 to 65.
Mike’s wife Mona explained the concept of the nude run this way: “Running in the nude makes you realize we all are basically the same. We all have the same body parts, no big deal. And to top it off, it is such a riot—really.”
Part 2 (sort of)
These clothing-optional summer runs form a trio of events called Buns across the Border. The next was on July 29 at Kaniksu Ranch, near Spokane, Washington. I missed that one; much closer to me on the same day was a World Naked Bike Ride event in Vancouver
(British Columbia, not Washington this time). This famous public event always brings curious onlookers. It winds through the city and ends at Kitsilano Beach.
Conrad Schmidt, who initiated the WNBR some years ago, thought there were about 300 people in last year’s Vancouver version, making it the largest naked bike ride ever held in Canada. He also pointed out that the police were very co-operative. My own observation is that everyone had a wonderful time.
The last of the three events was the Wreck Beach Bare Buns Fun Run, on August 12. A nice day, not too hot. This was the eleventh such annual run put on by Judy Williams—the best run of the three, in my opinion, because at no time do you need even so much as shoes! About 80 people all had a great time.
The long-time beach personality known as Watermelon gave out the prizes, including medals to those having run in all three parts of Buns across the Border. After the run we were treated to a snack supplied by the Wreck Beach Preservation Society.
I look forward very much to the next version of these events this summer. I hope you enjoy all the photos of the various events I was at in 2007. [In the magazine are more photos than the one here.] One I didn’t include was that of an acquaintance and me standing between two uniformed RCMP constables on the beach checking things out. They agreed to the picture only if I promised not to have it published!
Buns across the Border takes place in 2008 as follows.July 20: Fraternity Snoqualmie, Issaquah WAJuly 27: Kaniksu Ranch, Spokane WAAugust 17: Wreck Beach, Vancouver BC
And don’t forget National (or North American) Nude Recreation Week, July 6 to 12.
Sometimes I can’t believe I’m a naturist, given that I live in Alberta. As I type this, on a January night, we’re in the throes of 16-hour nights, with the mercury reading sometimes well below -30°. However, naturism is a lifestyle, the way we truly live, which the cold, dark, and snow cannot change.
I’ve read that some folks feel the real beginning of the new year is spring, with the re-awakening of the trees and the return to the light. In central Alberta, the contrast between light and dark is so great that I must agree!
Late last year I became the new President of the Federation of Canadian Naturists. I thank Stéphane Déschenes for his seven years of dedication and service as our Past President. I cannot hope to fill his shoes, because he often doesn’t wear any! I’ve been having a steep learning curve, but also have the wonderful support and camaraderie of the naturist community in Canada.
I continue to wear my other hat, that of the FCN festival co-ordinator. I remind everyone to mark the calendar for August 7 to 10, 2008. Our festival will be held at Bare Oaks Family Naturist Park. Along with the change of location this summer, we’ll see some changes in the festival format. Nonetheless, we hope to see some of our regular session leaders, such as the massage and meditation pair, Sonia and David, and our fire-spitting acrobat/clown, Michel Goulet.
We need you
If you’d like to lead a session this year, willing to share your thoughts and talents with us, please contact me or Michel Vaïs no later than April 20—and the sooner the better. Let’s hear from you, folks! (E-mail references are highlighted below.)
Festival attendees should arrange accommodations or a camping spot as soon as possible. The on-site motel rooms at Bare Oaks were full for the festival by last fall. However, please check with Bare Oaks for availability of other accommodations on the grounds. There are also motels and hotels in Newmarket, ten minutes away by car. Naturists are hardy and neighbourly: check too with your friends, see if you may share space with them, and make this a group effort. The more the merrier!
We’ll also have the youth portion of our festival this year. We may continue our tie-dyeing, volleyball, pudding toss, and sand castles and water games. I’ve heard that a session on mask making would be appealing, so I’ll ask our naturist artists if they will grace our faces and bodies again with their art.
I look forward to the naturist festival every year. It’s a major part of my family’s holidays. We Canadian naturists are so far apart, yet we are a close-knit community in many ways. I cherish the friendships I have made over the years and look forward to seeing you again this summer.
Earlier on Wednesday on P.E.I., our Atlantic CTV crew of one arrived at The Oasis. Personable fellow, Dan Viau. As we were arranging the photo shots, he was apologetic. “I have a conservative producer,” he explained, “so Kathy, please sit at the table and we’ll find a pair of objects to put in front of you.”
Kathy sat dutifully, as did Gary Lowther (one of The Oasis’s owners) and I. We were interviewed by Dan, who asked all the right questions—and knew all the right answers too. Hey, we could’ve interviewed him! We also played hurl-the-volleyball-at-others in the small swimming pool. Then Mark and I sat lounging in lounge chairs, sunning in the sun, reading…reading material.
The interview was broadcast in late June in the Maritimes, then across Canada. When I got home late on July 1, what was the first thing we heard from our dear long-time neighbours? Did they ask, “Hi, how was your trip?”
Not a chance. It was, “Hey, we saw you on TV! Naked! Playing volleyball!”
Fox on walks
Back to P.E.I. In late afternoon we went to explore the nearby Cavendish Dunelands Trail. Our pleasant pre-dinner excursion was highlighted by a fox ambling up the path to greet us. After we returned the greeting, she walked into the long grasses to enjoy her meal of whatever it was I didn’t want to recognize.
I was a bit upset, not at that but at our inability to find a nudifiable space. Mark had gone on ahead a little, with his ever-present camera. Suddenly he rushed back to me, exclaiming, “I’ve found something you’re going to like!”
The resulting photos are hard to explain. But one (not the one here) ended up on the cover of issue 27.1 of the American Nude & Natural, a singular honour for me in the great magazine founded by Lee Baxandall.
At dinner that evening with our resident expert (Linda Lowther), Mark, Kathy, and I decided that the next day (Thursday) we would go to the real Blooming Point Beach. Unfortunately it rained overnight. So we went to the beach on a cooler, damper, gray day, unlovely but unavoidable.
Stories had circulated about trouble with nudity at Blooming Point. Linda corrected that: the issue was the parking lot. Some wanted to expand it (it’s very small), others wanted not to because of adjacent wetlands. On this visit, we were the only ones there. Kathy stayed back at the beach entrance while Mark and I sauntered for the requisite 20 minutes or so to the left till we could get naked.
Man on sand
Because the beach was totally deserted, I chose this opportunity to walk naked all the way back to the car, through the unidentifiable clothed area. On our way, we encountered only one person, dressed and with a backpack, walking the other way. When we reached Kathy, she said, “I said hi to that fellow who passed you. He’s a park warden.”
Oh really…Happily, he was less interested in me in my undress than in getting out to where he could examine the piping plover grounds. But just for good measure, I had Mark take a picture of me next to the warden’s government car. By that time, he was a long way from us.
Blooming Point is a splendid beach, plenty wide and mostly clean, with P.E.I.’s typically red-tinged sand and rocks, Gulf water warm enough to swim in throughout the summer, and no one (except other beachgoers) anywhere near the place. It’s actually the beach next to the one we’d been on the previous day, although you “can’t get there from here,” because a federal land preserve lies between them.
After Blooming Point, we drove to Kelly’s Beach in Kouchibouguac National Park in New Brunswick. The staff at the information centre in this very large park flatly denied there was any clothing-optional beach, nor had there ever been. That’s a foolish attitude about an area that’s been CO for decades.
We crossed the long boardwalk to the beach and turned right. After 22 minutes’ walk (1.6 km on my GPS), we saw stakes and other hints of nude use. So we doffed our duds and frolicked a bit, far from the lifeguard tower near the boardwalk. A slightly more secure opportunity for nude beachgoing is found a further 1.6 km or so, around a promontory we saw in the distance.
Despite the still unwelcome weather, we had a good time. Again there was almost no one on this isolated stretch of beach on this temperate but cloudy Thursday.
We then took a break from our beach-bagging, which caused us to miss a few opportunities at less-known naturist locations in southern New Brunswick. After staying in Moncton overnight, we continued to Fredericton and on to Simply Naturist Retreat, near Hartland in the west.
Another photo op?
Hartland is a very small town with a very long bridge, the longest covered bridge in the world, says the sign. Having a thing for landmarks, I asked Mark to take a nude shot of me nearby with the bridge in the background. I got that look again. “You’re crazy!” was the mildest thing he offered. “But,” I countered, “if you come this way, you’ll see we’re invisible to the restaurant, the library, the parking lot, and all these tourists.”
Muttering about not wanting to experience a foreign jail, Mark was clearly wishing that he didn’t know me. Sigh. So on we went to SNR. Happily we found it with no trouble, even though some roads nearby are unmarked. SNR’s directions together with Karen, the Australian voice on my GPS, got us there in short order.
Ted and Bobbi Gascoigne opened SNR in 2002. Rustic but welcoming, it has a cabin and trailer for rent, and plenty of tenting space. Open in season on weekends, its nearly six hectares are about 10% usable at present. The main building, an unassuming “common room,” contains a wood stove, fridge, shower and bathroom, dishes, cups, couch, and table.
You may recall that in gN/aN 19:4, Bobbi Gascoigne described in loving detail the slightly agonizing construction of SNR’s swimming pool. Unfortunately it was removed in June 2007, just before our arrival. (Bobbi’s 2004 article also discussed how SNR got water, a sewage system, and electricity.)
What is there to do at SNR? Nothing, really; and that’s its charm. It’s a basic retreat, seeming to be in the middle of nowhere but actually accessible to a lot of people. Although visitors come mostly from New Brunswick and Maine, several have come from Québec, Ontario, and farther. The people and the relaxation give SNR its appeal.
Back in the US of A
Friday we drove into Maine and stayed in Bangor. Suggestion to all travellers: don’t land in town at night and expect to find a motel room immediately, especially on a nice summer weekend.
We did find one in Bangor eventually, then drove the next day in a leisurely fashion through Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts, with our destination the Albany, New York airport. There, alas, I had to say goodbye to Mark and Kathy until next year.
The best part of this last travel segment was northern Massachusetts. We found a couple of swimming holes near one another. At the first, Green River, the few naked types were well hidden and well away from kids in the water. So we didn’t bother with the nude option there. At the second, near “The Whirlies” in Cold River, we had more luck. The few people there didn’t seem like they’d mind whatever we’d want to do. So we did it—principally sitting/lying in the water/on the rocks for repose and photos.
It’s a pleasant nude-friendly spot. Like many in New England and the Maritimes, it’s known mostly to locals but is occasionally visited by types like us three, eager to experience such places, emboldened by one guide or another (in this case the out-of-print Lee Baxandall World Guide).
My drive home across New York State and into southern Ontario July 1 was uneventful, except as earlier described at its culmination. I must admit, and you will readily guess from both these articles: the landscape of P.E.I. made a big impression on me. When I awoke July 2 and looked at my car, I noticed its tires were dusted with the auburn of the island’s terrain, probably from our approach to Blooming Point through several fresh mud puddles.
Pleased at this unexpected souvenir, I refrained from washing my car until that memorable colour fell away.
“What do you think of going east this year?” Mark asked me in late winter. “I’ve always wanted to see the Maritime provinces.”
For some years, Mark Storey of The Naturist Society and I have had the annual habit of driving about some part of eastern North America in late June in search of the best nude locations—private grounds, beaches, or other—regardless of weather and all other obstacles. Eastern Canada would be the farthest we’d ever gone. “Sure,” I enthused, “just let me know the itinerary.”
So Mark worked it out. Being from the vast state of Washington, he may have minimized driving distances some. Still, in the span of a week, we managed to see several beaches and all two clubs in eastern Canada—in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island—and have a few notable adventures along the way. Happily, Mark’s wife, Kathy Blanchard, joined us and made the trip even better.
We set out from western Massachusetts on Sunday, June 24. Day’s object: drive all the way to Saint John, New Brunswick. Verdict: success, thanks in part to the no-wait border crossing from eastern Maine. It would have been even faster if we hadn’t been asked, “Do you have any mace or pepper spray?” Look, we’re naturists, not terrorists, I wanted to say. Mark was happy I didn’t.
NB and NS
Although the room in our Saint John motel didn’t have a view of the harbour, it came with something better: a little outside alcove below the driveway. Alcove = secluded = nude photo op! Graciously, Mark agreed to pose.
We decided to get to Nova Scotia by a ferry from New Brunswick. Cost for car with three: CA$220, less than half the cost of the hydrofoil from Bar Harbor, Maine. Our boat to Digby had wi-fi; woo hoo! On landing, we headed for the excellent Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens, where Kathy, a professional horticulturalist, was pleased to reveal to Mark and me many a botanical secret. I looked for a suitable nude photo op, but Mark gave me that look: “Too many people around, no nude photos.” Alas, it would not be the last time…
After a leisurely drive through much of the serene Annapolis Valley, we headed to the cottage of photographer Eric Hayes, on Tupper Lake, east of Kejimkujik National Park. In late afternoon we enjoyed a splendid sunny stop there, although anywhere rural you have to watch for mosquitoes and deer flies in May and much of June. (They liked Kathy far too much.) Then we went to photographer Mary Dixon’s house in Bridgewater and to Eric’s place for overnight. Object: Crystal Crescent Beach the next day.
Tuesday morning we drove, following Eric and his friend Atira, east to Halifax and south to Sambro and Crystal Crescent, using the trusty combination of Mark’s map reading and my GPS. Mark wanted the GPS to speak in dulcet tones, so we set it to a female Australian voice named Karen.
From late morning on Tuesday to late afternoon, we frolicked about Crystal Crescent’s famous clothing-optional third beach. The walk from the closest parking lot is only about 20 minutes; the view as you approach the third beach from the path above is spectacular.
At the far end are rock formations that look harder to climb than they are. By contrast, the beach water looked more inviting than it was (late June, remember). Kathy, an expert open water swimmer, estimated the water temperature at under 15°. But I couldn’t resist. “I didn’t come all this way not to go in,” I declared. Verdict: another success.
From NS to PE
The beach had only a handful of visitors that day (one woman, several men)—a characteristic of much of our trip, which took place, after all, on weekdays in pleasant but less than hot temperatures. After craggy Crystal Crescent, we headed north for nearly four hours, arriving at night at The Oasis on Prince Edward Island—via the “fixed link,” the admirable 13-kilometre Confederation Bridge from New Brunswick.
Because GPS Karen didn’t have a lot of PEI street names in her database, we had to trust Mark’s map and Mark to get us to The Oasis, near Cavendish. No problem!
This resort had just been named in an important new guidebook one of Canada’s best naturist locations, which set off a flurry of media interest, starting when we were there. (More on that shortly.) I wasn’t disappointed in the place. Although the five-year-old Oasis hasn’t many amenities or activities, the three motel units are spotless and outfitted with everything you could think of: queen bed, pull-out couch, two entrances (one onto a deck with barbecue), very full kitchen, eating area, huge drawer and closet space…satellite TV, DVD player…shower and bathtub, extra pillows and blankets…guidebooks and magazines, including gN/aN, of course. Not to mention the fine artwork on every wall.
On the grounds are twelve campsites (three pull-through) with electric, water, and sewer service. Plans include lights for the swing set, and volleyball and horseshoe courts.
Repeat visits at The Oasis are very high. I’m not surprised. It’s close to many attractions in a province becoming noted for its large parklands, arts, food, golf, and summer activities.
Outside, the main attraction is the small but clean and warm pool. We hung around in it with other guests late Wednesday afternoon, waiting for our CTV interviewer to show up. Nice fellow. Amused, he explained he had a conservative producer and would Kathy, seated, mind putting these clunky obstacles in front of her chest?
The interview went all right. Taking quite a while, it didn’t get the best from any of us after a long day in the sun. For in the morning, we had set out eastwards, armed with Oasis owner Gary Lowther’s directions, in search of the notable Blooming Point Beach. Unfortunately, the map ended just where we needed it most. When Mark concluded we’d gone far enough (I had no clue), we headed to the obvious beach parking lot. From there we took the specified 20- to 25-minute walk westwards along the beach to where we could doff our duds and bask and swim in the only acceptable way.
Although well north of Nova Scotia and on the north side of PEI, this water of the Gulf of St. Lawrence was warmer than Crystal Crescent’s. “Noticeably above 15,” declared Kathy. We had a grand time.
Afterwards, we had lunch at an excellent restaurant, The Dunes, with its art everywhere, and then returned to The Oasis for the interview. Dinner was another pleasure, at The Dayboat. We went with Linda Lowther, Gary’s wife.
Over wine we described our earlier outing with much satisfaction. As Linda listened politely, her expression clouded. “You drove down Harbour Road? You didn’t see Highway 219, then?”
“The highway numbers,” we responded, “seem to disappear about there.” But Linda’s clouds didn’t dissipate as she explained more about the roads…
Verdict: We goofed. We’d spent hours on the wrong beach.
It all made sense now. Suddenly we knew why the family with two young girls on the beach had kept its distance from us nekkid types. And why no one we asked called the beach Blooming Point. Duh! Gary’s directions, which we’d discarded when the map gave out, had been correct.
We called an emergency meeting—not hard to manage, since we were all still at dinner, enjoying everything but our mistake. There was only one right thing to do: change our plans for Thursday, and go to the intended beach in the morning. We hadn’t come all that way to miss the real Blooming Point.
No doubt this story is pretty droll: experienced beach baggers, informed naturists of North America, bathe their buns on a textile beach. But there’s a lesson here too: in the right circumstances—and with the right luck—you may be able to get naked in a non-naked area with no adverse consequences.
If the police had been called, I doubt we’d have gotten into much trouble, dim tourists that we were. This was PEI, population all of 136,000. Conservative but tolerant, right? Anywhere else, we’d have been naked and unexplained.
We are at war with our bodies, and it is becoming harder and harder to cover up the evidence. In this horrendous war, the destructive land mines are planted everywhere, haunting our subconscious with images promoting self-destruction in the hopes that some poor bastard will listen and buy a new useless wrinkle cream or whitening toothpaste. In our dominant culture’s quest to find financial wealth, we seem to be raping our bodies of dignity and denying ourselves what it means to be human.
Humans are and always have been animals. When in our evolution as a species did we decide that our bodies were evil and needed to be covered up? I’m not referring to bundling up during extremely cold months. I mean the mentality that the human body, particularly in reference to any organ/area remotely related to sex, is inherently evil and should be covered up at all times. I should add that sex is allowed only when a penis and a vagina are involved…only in the missionary position…and only to produce well-behaved, God-fearing children who will grow up to be well-behaved, God-fearing adults living in suburbia with their 2.5 kids, white picket fence, and golden retriever.
End of rant
Sorry about the rant. My point is: we are scared and ashamed of our own bodies. It is no wonder, then, that so many women (and men) have eating disorders, low self-esteem, insecurity, body dysmorphic disorders, unnecessary plastic surgeries, Botox injections, and the need to buy useless material goods to make them feel better about themselves and their appearance. Where do we draw the line…or have we already gone well past it? It’s definitely time for a change.
Okay, now to the story. I recently participated in a nude swim event with a load of other strangers, mostly men. I must say, I really had no idea what to expect. As a university art student, I really have no hangups about seeing the naked body. In fact, I use it regularly in my work, and enjoy studying it.
After waiting a good 45 minutes for the lifeguard to show up, everyone gladly rushed into the change room and got undressed. Being naked with others is what made me a wee bit nervous. However, all of my worries quickly subsided after realizing how accepting and open this naturist crowd was. I suddenly felt a freedom I never really knew before. Once I got used to the pool’s temperature, I noticed how wonderfully comfortable swimming nude truly is. There was no tight swimsuit riding up my ass. There were no skinny bra-straps I had to pull up every 30 seconds. It was just me, my unshaven self, and the water.
Prejudices about nudists should be dropped. Nudist does not equal pervert or pedophile. During the swim there were no crazy orgies or creepy men humping my leg. There were also children there. They did not seem at all traumatized or emotionally scarred from seeing other naked people! During the whole experience I felt very comfortable and welcomed. I even played catch with a few men in the pool.
I was fortunate enough to have parents who did not fear the “horrors” of the nude body. When I was little, my mother would shower with me, and she taught me to be comfortable in my own skin. On summer days, I would run around the house without clothes, sometimes running outside to play in the water sprinklers. To this day, my parents get dressed with the doors of their bedroom/bathroom open. (I have had the best conversations with my mother while she was changing into her pyjamas.)
It was only when I started going to school that I noticed I was “different.” I was supposed to hide my body and its functions. Doors started to close, trapping me inside. I became ashamed of my maturing body, and once I hit puberty everything just snowballed. My period started when I was 9; my hips widened and my boobs got bigger. I got acne, badly. I hated the way I looked, always comparing myself to others. I grew more and more self-conscious and closed my bedroom door when I got dressed. I covered up. I hid. I made myself sick and starved myself to be thin. I became depressed. I lost who I was.
This is why swimming in my birthday suit was such an enriching experience. I felt myself coming alive again, like when I was kid. I didn’t worry about what others thought of me or my body. I just swam. I could feel my hair cascade down my back in waves, as if I was a mermaid (not the Disney-approved kind).
I don’t think I could swim with something on again. It would be far too constricting. Besides, it would be far too cruel to capture a fish once she has been freed. I’ll just follow the tides.
Last February, I found myself shivering to the bone in just a sweater, as I waited in Toronto for a drive to the air terminal from the valet service. I pondered why I live in such a desperately cold climate for 60 percent of the year. I came up with no convincing reasons. When it comes to the February blahs, who wouldn't turn their back on the white stuff and head for hotter weather?
Bare Necessities Tour and Travel, owned and operated out of Austin, Texas, by Nancy and Tom Tiemann, was putting on their 15th annual nude Caribbean cruise. They chartered the Costa Mediterranea for this seven-day excursion, taking along approximately 2200 bare boat riders from around the world. Having been on a nude cruise before, I knew what to expect; but it never ceases to amaze me how easily naked people get along, without putting on any airs.
From our departure from Ft. Lauderdale, we made our way toward the deep blue Caribbean Sea. No one was naked at this point, due to some crazy law preventing nudity in public places-like harbours-and the fact that it was a little chilly. If it's cold, naturists wear clothing: a no-brainer!
As the ship made its way a safe distance from civilization, the clothing started to come off. It's an unusual sight to see people in your usual khaki travel wear and loud Hawaiian shirts standing next to non-tan-lined people with not a zipper or button in sight!
The ship's crew was Italian for the most part, with a smattering of other Europeans and Philippinos. The first day at sea is always an eye-opener for the ship's staff, as they either can't believe what they are seeing, or in some cases, don't believe in what they are seeing, because of religious beliefs. Either way, they bite their tongue, look the other way, and carry themselves with professionalism and decorum. RulesThere are rules that come on board with Bare Necessities. They must be strictly adhered to in order for future cruise partnerships to flourish. This is not a sex cruise. It is a clothing-optional cruise, where you have the option to be naked anywhere on the ship except in the dining room. The main rule is, always have a towel between your butt and whatever surface you are sitting on. Of course, this is a nudist rule world-wide. Picture taking is allowed with permission of the subjects; however, there are designated no-photo zones around two pools to prevent Internet-happy photographers from exploiting your image. Other rules: no overt sexual activity and no genital jewellery.
The ship pitched and rocked its way to St. Martin, our first stop. Like any cruise, excursions are set up in advance, so that you may have a choice of a nude beach trip or a clothed bus tour of the island, to name a couple. Most people showed up at Club Orient on Orient Beach, one of the most famous and beautiful clothing-optional beaches in the world. Although somewhat packed, it always has room for an extra beach towel or chair.
One of the most ridiculous sights is the border between the nude side and the "prude" side of Orient Beach. Cruisers from other ships actually make the 20-minute trip to Orient Beach just to catch a glimpse or take a picture of a naked person hanging around the entrance to the beach. If there were a fence, you'd think you were at the zoo and the nudists were the attraction. Pointing and laughing with slight embarrassment are prevalent. The really bold textile crowd will actually suck it up and walk into the "deadly" nude zone, just to say they did.
We enjoyed lunch nude at the Papagayo restaurant, one of the only restaurants in the world where you may eat sans clothing. Club Orient put on a great buffet strategically located beside some trinket carts you could shop at while standing in line. PartyingBack on board, the party was beginning to pick up. When you introduce sun, fun, and the odd beverage to nudists, you can bet the ship will start rocking without ocean waves to help out!
The food was average, unfortunately, but the atmosphere kept spirits alive. The ship provides all the usual entertainment on board, including cheesy comics (pretending the audience was naked, har har) singers not fit for American Idol, and dancers whose costumes upstaged their routines. But it was the costume nights that blew the ship's staff away. Nudists seem to pack more when they go on vacation than other folks, because of those costumes: extravagant masks, colourful outfits, and for those who carry spray cans with them, body paint. You always find the most outrageous, creative, and "what-the-heck-is-that?" type of costume from these "shy and reserved" passengers.
The costume nights vary with the cruise. Aboard the Costa: Fat Tuesday in Venice (a twist on Mardi Gras, and you can bet the beads were flying); James Bond-Undressed to Kill (gold painted people and unique twists on the Bond girl outfit); White Tie and Tiaras (for Captain's Night, a clothed event); Toga Night (naturally); and Tropical Night (Carmen Miranda, move over!).
Best of all seems to be the passenger talent night. There's never a shortage of nude dancers, singers, saxophone players, and comics!
The next stop was the Dominican Republic. Nudity is illegal there, but through Bare Necessities and Costa, many happy passengers sailed on clothing-free catamarans to snorkelling areas around the island. Mask, snorkel, fins, and the rush of the Caribbean sea enveloping your body provided the ultimate freedom. Although the coral and fish were brilliant, it was the unabashed sensation of the swim that reminded everyone of the carefree style of living they had chosen.
All the days at sea were filled with the excitement of dance lessons at the pool or bingo to get out of the sun. Relaxing and making new friends were on the agenda for most days, offset by the occasional nap in a spacious but not huge stateroom or cabin.
Nassau came into sight, marking the last day of an event-filled cruise. Again an excursion or just travelling on your own: last chance for duty-free everything and to bargain with vendors using the "I give you best price" line. Going backAt the end of this vacation, it was difficult to drag on long pants and a sweater to make the trek back to Canada. Clothing felt foreign and constricting. Mind you, just knowing there were no tan lines and we are all naked under our clothing made me smile just a bit.
Naturist travel is a booming business. Can 2200 people be wrong? It seems like cruising is the best way to enjoy this lifestyle: you're in a safe environment while seeing what's out there in the world. It affords the opportunity to drop the inhibitions, walls, and stresses that most of us carry. Your inner child is released. When you're nude, you don't know the bank manager from the truck driver-which allows everyone to play nice in the sandbox.
www.bare-necessities.com | www.thenudetraveller.com
Nudism and stampsFor some years (and for some price), Canada Post has allowed users to have their own picture on a stamp. This has led more than a few to think of sending in you know what sort of photo. GN is unaware of any such attempt's being successful. Indeed, in issue 15:4 is a tale of how Canada Post gave the snip to a naturist stamp. It's far easier to get past postal sensors than postal censors.
But hey, there's an alternative. In California, Blair Brumley and Claudia Kellersch created an address label with their picture on it. Why not? Why didn't we think of this one!
In late 2005, Blair and Claudia used this photo on seasonal cards and letters to twelve states, three provinces, Australia, and Germany, with no problem. Yes, the picture on the label is small. But for naked subversion, it's hard to beat the idea.
What if millions of North Americans "followed suit"?
Nudism and churchAn enterprising FCN member from the Bay of Quinte (ON) area sent us a clipping from the December 2005 edition of The United Church Observer. The person answering the question is David McKane, a minister in London (ON). He has done some good thinking! Here's the whole exchange:
Question: Does the United Church have a position on social nudism or social naturism? More and more people are enjoying this recreation and lifestyle.
Answer: We have no "official" position, except affirming the beauty of the human body. We do believe, after all, that the Word became flesh. The Federation of Canadian Naturists "seeks to encourage respect for oneself, others, and the environment." Nudity is but a part of their overall philosophy, and they claim to represent about nine percent of the population.
Some folks are very at ease in their own skin and some feel embarrassed. Some regard nudity as provocative, even sinful. Others regard nudity as deeply spiritual and freeing. I supposed it depends in part on whether you are in Miami or in Whitehorse.
Theologically there is occasion here for some wonderful discussion on the incarnation and the power of the human body to express both divinity and depravity.
Nudity and sexEarlier this year, an Egyptian cleric declared that nudity during sexual intercourse was forbidden. In fact, such a state of undress would annul a marriage.
Another expert disagreed. He argued that married couples could see each other naked but should not look at one other's genitals.
Obviously there are still new ways to proclaim the separation of nudity and sex.
Figuratively speakingNear San Diego is the city of Escondido. In Spanish it means hidden. In January, that's what disapproving residents thought should apply to an art gallery's portrait of a nude man by Robert Ferguson. One woman opined, " I want to protect my child." Another objector claimed, " It goes beyond just looking. It leads to sex before marriage. Homosexual acts. Why does he do naked men?"
The owner of the gallery worried about vandalism, so she had the offending painting moved from its second-storey window. But many calls and messages of support later, she returned it to its former spot.
Another local gallery owner thought that the controversy was "the best thing that could happen to the arts district, and a boon for local art business." Ferguson believes the controversy over his work exposes people's misunderstanding of art. And, we add, of nudity.
Exposing the new yearThe Taranaki Naturists Club, one of the smallest in New Zealand, hosted a national camp-out by the sea to begin 2006. That attracted about 120 naturists aged 4 to 80 from all over New Zealand and even from overseas. Events included a fancy dress dance (?) and a "bare bum bingo" (!)
The New Zealand Naturist Federation said that naturists use plenty of sunscreen because "we have bits in the sun that aren't normally exposed." We need to rethink what's normal!Bungee beachesIn January, Forbes magazine issued its list of 13 "top topless beaches." Its article didn't mention the best reasons for being nude or topfree (a word it doesn't know). Its reasons were: a desire "to flaunt it," to do the equivalent of bungee jumping, and to remember the late 1960s and early 70s (Really important for people under 40, who never knew them!).
The article often didn't acknowledge a difference between topfree and nude, and recommended only two beaches in all continental North America. Those were Black's in California, whose state-owned section is fully clothing optional, and South Beach in Miami Beach, which isn't. No mention of Haulover Beach (FL), Wreck Beach (BC), or many others in the USA and Canada.
Nice to see the exposure, but Forbes needs to provide better (un)coverage.
Pitt stopLate last year, Brad Pitt threatened legal action against anyone publishing photos of him naked on his Los Ángeles balcony. We recall that his ex, Jennifer Aniston, made the same threat when a paparazzo photographed her topfree at her place.
Would Brad's current belle, Angelina, complain if that happened to her? Probably she'd consider photos of herself to be jolie.
Of course, if nudity were more accepted, the paparazzi wouldn't have much to do.
Good newsIn January, Stéphane Deschênes, President of the FCN, met with Jeanette Lewis, Executive Director of the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies. The aim was to discuss ways in which the two organizations could deal with some of the issues identified in the article published in GN/AN 20:3.
Lewis was open minded and asked many questions to better understand naturism and our concerns about Children's Aid. She stressed that OACAS has no control over Ontario's 53 Children's Aid Societies. Each is run by an independent board and is responsible to Ontario's Ministry of Children and Youth Services.
The OACAS does work with government on development of and response to legislation, standards, policy, regulations, contentious issues, and review mechanisms. They also have quite an influence on policies created by Ontario's CASs. Given all that, the participants agreed that OACAS should have a document explaining naturism, available for child care workers' reference. This could help prevent unnecessary investigations which cause parents stress and waste CAS resources.
It was agreed that over the next few months, the FCN and OACAS will work together to create an appropriate document which will then be added to the OACAS library.
Crossing the AtlanticJames Cracknell and Ben Fogle decided last year to row in a race across the Atlantic Ocean. Cracknell, by the way, is an Olympic gold-medal rower.
You guessed it-they did it naked. They wanted to avoid chafing and cutting from clothes, and getting sweaty and promoting fungal growths.
They encountered plenty of problems on their 5000 km journey from the Canary Islands to Antigua. Their boat capsized, scattering equipment. They could sleep only two hours at a time. Their butts got very sore.
Don't laugh: they won.
It's an old cliché that nothing worthwhile is easy. Perhaps no one knows this better than the organizers of a naturist festival. Just ask those folks who were involved in staging the first-ever Canadian naturist festival in August.
Members of the FCN who have attended Naturist Society gatherings and festivals had long talked of hosting a similar event north of the border. The Naturist Society was happy to support a Canadian event, and agreed to assist by lending promotional assistance and guidance to the organizers.
With a first-time event, some glitches were to be expected. Two different FCN volunteer coordinators worked in the early months to put together a program and registration plan; but as the date for the festival loomed, it was clear that some fundamental pieces were still missing.
Enter Judy Williams, FCN Government Affairs Director and longtime Naturist Action Committee board member (and veteran gathering attendee). With only weeks to go before the festival, and despite being in the middle of a major battle with the University of British Columbia over Wreck Beach, Judy generously agreed to take over planning and pull together the missing elements. So it was that a co-ordinator from British Columbia put the finishing touches on a festival in eastern Ontario! The ever-energetic Judy had a great deal of onsite help from others.
Because the club has a limited number of cottages and trailers for rent, many festival guests either tent-camped or stayed in nearby motels. French is the dominant language spoken at CNRB, though it's quite possible to get by speaking English. Owners Richard and Odette Brunet and Gaby Dussault were gracious hosts and did much to help the festival run smoothly; and the CNRB members and staff did their best to make attendees feel welcome.
About 100 people came to the festival, most from Ontario and Québec but others from more distant points in Canada and the USA. Some arrived early for the Thursday pre-festival day trip to Oka Beach, Montréal's premiere naturist beach. Unfortunately the weather was not ideal (cloudy with occasional light rain), so the crowd was far short of the usual hundreds of attendees one might expect to find at Oka on a warm, sunny summer day. However, it was certainly warm enough for nudity, so the festival group settled in to explore the shoreline, swim, and socialize with members of the local Okapulco user group, including its gregarious leader, Jacques-André Gill.Better weather?We hoped for better weather for the festival's opening day; instead, Friday was even worse. Cool temperatures and steady rain showers kept many campers away; and the bad weather had Judy and her cadre of helpers scrambling to relocate events and keep the schedule running as smoothly as possible. Those who did attend were content to roll with the changes and overall kept a cheerful attitude. Fortunately, CNRB's clubhouse (with sauna) and covered terrace (with hot tub) offered refuge for nudesters looking to escape the chilly dampness.
Meanwhile, there were plenty of workshops and discussions to take our minds off the gloomy weather. Some highlights from Friday included an update from Judy on the battle to save Wreck Beach; a workshop on public nudity and the nature of offense by Mark Storey; a history of the Federation of Québec Naturists by FQN founder Michel Vaïs; a photo tour of several top Canadian and European naturist sites by photographer Richard West; and a recap by Stéphane Deschênes of his family's nude appearance on the popular TV show Arresting Design.
By Saturday things began to look a little brighter; the sun came out and stayed out for the better part of the rest of the weekend. The day began with the customary general assembly, where naturist organization leaders and workshop presenters introduced themselves and mentioned their presentations. Sessions not to be missed on Saturday included a beaches update, with representatives from beaches as close as Oka and as far as Haulover in Miami and Black's in San Diego; a talk on living full-time as a naturist; and a discussion of the proposed amendment to the Criminal Code that could have had serious consequences for naturist rights. (The bill died but was revived [and passed] as Bill C-2.)NQAnother topic that had festival-goers talking was the refusal by a major magazine distributor to take on the latest issue of Naturisme Québec , a story told in the last issue of GN. Ironically, Michel Vaïs said, an article in that particular issue of NQ argued that academic research does not support the notion that nudity is bad for children.
Other workshops were of a less political bent, on topics such as Esalen-style massage, life drawing, homeopathy, values in relationships, raising children as naturists, photography, and the history of nudist films. Like other Montréal clubs, CNRB is very family friendly; children were present in abundance. Fortunately, Judy had planned for this, adding a whole program of activities just for kids throughout the weekend.from pet-rock painting to giant sundae building.
Sunday's schedule was dominated by the FCN annual general meeting, so those who were not part of the FCN had the option of relaxing at the club or checking out other naturist opportunities in the surrounding area. With so many choices in the Montréal region, it was not hard to find additional clothing-free places to explore!
Adapted from an article in Nude & Natural 24:2, by kind permission of The Naturist Society.
What happens when you put a photo of a naked boy on a magazine cover? The best-known Québec naturist found out.
The cover of Naturisme Québec no. 5 (juin 2004). Petra Scheller, one of the FCN's founders, commented, "This is one of the greatest covers portraying the innocence and fun of being human and healthy that I have ever seen!"
In June, with some difficulty, longtime naturist and founder of the Fédération québécoise de naturisme Michel Vaïs produced issue no. 5 of the excellent Naturisme Québec. It is one of few French-language naturist magazines. Like this issue of GN, that issue focussed on "the effects of social nudity on the bringing up of children." The impetus for that focus was a visit in January to Montréal by a French child psychologist who declared, with no supporting evidence, that "the practice of family naturism goes against nature. One must be prudish with one's genital organs. The best thing is certainly to not expose them to one's child."
NQ printed two responses, one of which (by Mark Storey) we include in this issue of GN. The other was by France Guillain, a noted author of books about naturism, among much else.
One Montréal lawyer said that distribution of the magazine could result in charges under the child pornography sections of the Criminal Code. Another had this to say: "An innocent photo of somebody naked, whether an adult or child, is not in my view obscene. We will have become a completely crazy society if the mere publication of a photo of somebody naked, without a sexual connotation, amounts to child pornography."
Benjamin asked Vaïs to provide a legal opinion on the legality of the cover photo, given Canada's laws against child pornography. That opinion was provided by the well-known lawyer Roland Grand'Maison. After reviewing, among other materials, the relevant sections of the Criminal Code and legal opinions in the main case against John Robin Sharpe, he concluded (in part):
It is clear, to go back to the opinion of the Chief Justice [of the Supreme Court], that a reasonable person looking at the said photograph in an objective manner and in context (here, a magazine about naturism) could not conclude that the dominant characteristic of this photograph is to sexually arouse people to have sexually explicit activities with children.
We are of the opinion that a proper analysis brought about after the lodging of a complaint about the photograph would lead straight to the closing of the investigative file.
It is apparent that the photograph has an educational aim, as regards the concept of naturism, rather than the avowed purpose of distributing infant or child pornography.
It seems to us impossible to imagine that such a photograph can somehow or other meet the necessary tests for illegality according to Section 163.1 of the Criminal Code of Canada.
It doesn't get any clearer than that: the cover is legal. But Benjamin then said its own lawyer recommended against distributing the magazine because it was too "risquée"-which means both racy and risky. What about putting a black band across the cover or putting the magazine in opaque bags? Nope, Benjamin still wasn't interested.
Its director of marketing and sales suggested that Vaïs call its lawyer to get his explanation. But that lawyer refused to speak to Vaïs, on grounds he had no directive (from Benjamin) to say anything.
On the suggestion of several people, Michel Vaïs issued a press release in Québec. He was then interviewed about 30 times over the course of a few days by various French media.
Vaïs and others tried also to distribute the magazine directly to a few regular retailers. Newsstands refused, not wanting to short-circuit Benjamin. One store in a large bookstore chain said it didn't carry magazines "of that kind," meaning porn. Of his conversation with the store's buyer, Vaïs reports:
I told him that he had sold this magazine last year, that it was anti-porn, and that even his saleswoman had congratulated me and said that their customers liked it. But he replied that it was undoubtedly a mistake that NQ had been accepted-and that he must have been on holiday then.
Six Québec naturist centre's took copies of NQ 5 to sell, and three turned it down, one admitting that it was "too controversial." By mid-August, Vaïs had sold about 80% the quantity that usually gets sold, either directly or via naturist centre's in Québec. That was excellent, considering the lack of distribution.
Amongst all the media publicity was one early comment that the genitals of the boy on the cover were "en évidence," which in English means prominent. They aren't. Michel Vaïs made that point in a most interesting exchange in the Journal de Montréal on July 25. He also pointed out that social nudity is not erotic but calming, and dozens of magazines publish photos of the sort he put on the cover of NQ 5. "People aren't upset," he noted, "with the photo on the cover of my magazine. They're not offended, but [they say] their neighbour perhaps would be." No complaintsAnd yet Michel Vaïs received not one complaint about the photo personally or as publisher. Where are all these neighbours? Do we make assumptions about others that are woefully incorrect? Are we imagining legions of people who object to simple nudity in a variety of innocent photos, when there are very few objecting? Might any objectors react as they would to almost any product they didn't want-and simply pass it by?
Vaïs's opponent in the Journal "debate" was the sexologist Michel Campbell. He stated that "exploitation of children is a rather sensitive subject." Indeed, but where's the exploitation here? Perhaps he didn't know that Vaïs has known personally the boy on the cover and his sister, also on the cover.
Vaïs made a minor mistake when he mentioned pornography, but he was surely right to link naturism with lower likelihood of sexual abuse.
Campbell went on to employ the "elephant argument." It's simple: an apartment landlord doesn't allow you to keep a guinea pig, because he'd have to allow the next person a pet pachyderm. Campbell: "If we allow this [the cover in question], we open the door to other kinds of photos and the exploitation of children."Good pointsCampbell did raise a good point: how do children view their earlier nude photos when they become adults? Although there is no easy answer, it seems likely that children brought up not to howl at the naked body—theirs or others'—will accept their past in naturism even if they no longer participate in it.
We are not talking about photos taken surreptitiously or against a child's will; or a child being made fun of by disrespectful parents who misuse nudity or its photographic representation. The assumption of later embarrassment may be partly valid for some of the general population or the people whom Campbell treats, but where is the evidence for it among current or former naturists?
Another good question from Campbell pertains to pedophile crime; but his quoted statistics are misleading or incomplete. There is no evidence that more pictures with nudity mean more sex crimes in the general population—even porn doesn't do that. Should photos of naked children be banned because a small segment of society may be affected adversely by them? Most readers of this magazine know the correct answer, although the several reasons for it will have to wait for another time.
Campbell weakened his argument when he misapplied the judicial notion of threshold of tolerance, and even more when he said, "I don't say all naturists are [exhibitionists, voyeurs, and pedophiles]. But I have clients who are exhibitionist naturists and hide behind trees to masturbate."
Campbell needs to learn what naturism is. Calling a masturbator behind trees a naturist is as valid as calling a guinea pig an elephant.
Translations from French by Paul Rapoport
In 2002, when my husband and partner, Eric Hayes, decided to do a photographic portrait project of fellow passengers on a clothes-free sailing cruise, I didn't think twice, except to consider that it sounded too much like a "busman's holiday" on our Caribbean vacation. After all, we photograph people and things for a living and for our art.
A year later, when gallery space had been booked to show the project, large digital prints were being stretched and mounted, and press kits and invitations were being prepared and mailed out, I had to come to terms with one fact: his show would effectively "out" us as naturists in small-town Nova Scotia. Hitherto, our naturism was known only to close friends, family, and photography colleagues.
In Their Own Skin was exhibited March 4–28, 2004 at ViewPoint Gallery in Halifax, a co-operative of which Eric and I are members. The show presented 14 prints of contented couples and individuals enjoying their place on the planet, clothes-free on a nude Windjammer cruise in the Grenadines.
Except for three portraits shot with a digital camera, they were taken on medium format black and white negative film, scanned into a computer with output as 20 x 25 in. giclée (archival inkjet) prints on canvas.
After the show's four-week run and the appearance of two major newspaper articles (with a sizable reproduction in one of one of the images), it was reassuring to hear very little other than generally upbeat comments. The huge arts community in Nova Scotia had to have been reading the arts pages of the provincial press, although perhaps those who do are more open-minded in the first place.
In the days following Halifax's Chronicle Herald article (March 23), a higher than average number of people visited the gallery. On the very day after, the number of visitors to Eric's website jumped to 862 from an average of 54.
Comments were universally supportive. There seem to have been no letters to the editors reacting to the nude figure of sand-covered naturist travel agent Christie Musick, printed in both dailies. Of course, had the arts editors featured a full-frontal shot of both a male and female, as many of the images in the show were, the subscription cancellations might have rolled in.
It was Christie Musick's annual nude charter of the S/V Yankee Clipper of the Windjammer Barefoot Cruises fleet that inspired the photo project. Sailing with this cruise in 2000 and 2001, which Christie has been booking every October for over 20 years, Eric, a documentary portrait photographer at heart, was frustrated at the inability to take pictures as freely as he was accustomed. After all, not everyone on a nude cruise wants others to know how they spend their vacations, nor do they want to be disturbed when trying to relax.
But after two sailings with Christie, a rapport was established. Thanks to her, 17 couples and four individuals agreed to be photographed during the 2002 cruise, which traveled from Grenada through the islands of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Comments in the gallery guest book ranged from "delightful/happy" to "provocative, inviting" to "wow," and "Thank you for bringing this to Halifax." Some on e-mail thoughtfully examined whether naturists were "normal" or "on the fringe," concluding they "just happen to like being nude." Others appreciated that the show challenged cultural expectations and definitions of beauty, and that the masses, especially women, should be getting more of the naturist message.
On the negative side, one woman reportedly saw the invitations on the counter at a Halifax camera store, which featured the photo of a man with his arm draped around his wife, both holding cold beers. Her reaction was "That's disgusting!" She turned the pile of invitations face down-and presumably did not visit the gallery.
Eric neglected to document himself and me on the cruise, but made a point of emphasizing our involvement as naturists in his supporting brochure and artist's statement: "I'm a participant, not a voyeur." One artist visitor said this lent greater legitimacy to the work.
This made it perfectly clear to everyone visiting the gallery, reading the statement, or seeing the two newspaper articles, that Eric Hayes and Mary Dixon of Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, go on nude holidays with other nude people! This was the final "coming out" for us, save for actually having my own self naked in the daily paper, which has yet to happen.
Our gradual "exposure" has occurred over six or seven years, beginning with showing some holiday snaps from various resorts to close friends and then to my older brothers. They just think I'm a little strange, which is allowed when you're the baby and the "artist" of the family.
I thought the last bastion would be our local photo club, including several seniors and fairly small-town and rural folk. For the club's travelogue night, Eric created an audio-visual presentation of images from a cruise, mostly tropical scenery but including a discreet selection of bare butts and one topfree woman. Apart from some nervous giggling, the only other repercussion was a happily curious question, "You mean you were naked on the cruise too?" Perhaps the respectful relationship forged with the group over some twelve years helped them accept this aspect of our life.
In our own skin
My own fear has been lessened by serving as an occasional nude model for a local figure-drawing group, normally about six artists at a time, although one workshop brought 21 folks in to observe and sketch me. That was somewhat daunting. I tease them that they should be nude drawing the nude.
Eric has begun posing for them as well. It helps to know that the artists truly appreciate someone doing this for their artistic growth (or the $50).
Although not actually in Eric's show, I previously graced the walls of ViewPoint Gallery in a posterized photo of me brushing my hair, naked in a bathroom. That one Eric made for a group show called Intimate Portraits. That was my official outing to all our co-op members, although posing nude for art is different from admitting that you like to spend vacations with other naked people.
Appearing on the cover of last summer's Nude & Natural magazine, as well as in an earlier issue and in Going Natural, brings less concern, because I am among friends there!
After the Herald article, I assumed that my very conservative ex-husband and in-laws in another part of the province, as well as colleagues in my former field of law, would finally get wind of just how much my life had changed. I have heard not a peep-perhaps because not everyone knew me by the name Dixon, nor would they know of Eric Hayes, whose last name was in the headline.
But it no longer matters. While my brothers joke, "There goes my political career!" I know that they and our friends still love, trust, and respect us for who we are and how we treat other people. They may not share a desire to explore naturism (though we will give them every opportunity); but they know that, like the diverse and amazing people in Eric's show, we are happy and at home in our own skin.
My husband Bruce and I chose our acreage 12 years ago, north of Edmonton, because it had a south facing slope we wished to use to maximize our privacy.
We built our house to be energy efficient and put huge windows in the south wall. The road in this subdivision is on the north side of the property.
When we are in our skin, we don't need curtains. Plenty of sunlight pours in, when the sun does shine-a wonderful and warm commodity in the often too cold and too dark days of our Alberta winters.
About half of the three acres are treed. The lower deck on the house is shielded by the trees in a ravine, making a green and living screen for the days I sunbathe nude.
Uh-ohA few summers ago, along with my children, I was enjoying the sun in our back yard. Despite our precautions over privacy, I caused neighbours to the west some consternation when I took my sunbathing further into my yard than they liked. Although the young wife and mother was distressed at our skin, I refused to ask my children to put on bathing suits when they played on our home-made water slide. She said she would keep her children away from that side of the yard when my kids were out. Her two girls were an infant and a toddler!
We have always been happy to be nude around and with our children. As a mother, I have always known in my heart that skin contact between parents and children is healthy and needed, furthering security and belonging. We have been told that infants especially thrive on it, but this does not end with infancy or toddlerhood.
Our children are Christine, 12, and Ron, 10. They are more self-confident and relaxed in their own bodies than I ever was at their ages. Here is what they have to say about nudity in their world.
ChristineI just find it comfy. I don't really think about it. On certain days I would rather be nude, like when it's boiling hot. It's easier than having to mess around with clothes. On the Macleod River, I prefer it without a bathing suit, because you don't get sand in your suit, and it's really nice to not have to wait for a bathing suit to dry. You don't need to worry about getting clothes dirty. You feel the water moving through you and it feels better. It is really nice.
It would be really cool to be with people who share my opinion about naturism. I guess my opinion would be that it's a very cool way to live, very relaxed, very peaceful, no judging on what you are wearing. You can't really get judged on what you are wearing because you are wearing your birthday suit.
I find it very relaxing. Sometimes clothes are kind of uncomfortable. It's also easier to feel everything around you. That's why I prefer to be barefoot. I can feel the earth beneath me, and I can feel everything when I'm nude.
It's all just skin. Same stuff that's on your face and hands. I don't know why people get so touchy about it. I don't really think about it. It's just there.
RonIt's just comfortable. It's like having your hand with nothing on it. It's just natural. It's annoying when people tell you to put some clothes on. I don't know why people have such a fuss.
Swimming at the Macleod is fun, because you get up and go for a swim. You don't have to bother worrying about if your bathing suit is dry. It's really uncomfortable putting on a bathing suit that's still wet.
It's just good because on hot days you don't have to go around the house sweating. Just comfortable. At parties at Grandma's it gets really hot and it's annoying to have to wear clothes.
If you're gonna say anything about it, you might as well walk up to someone in winter who isn't wearing a snood and say "Ha ha, you're showing your face!" It's normal to be nude. It's what's inside the skin that's important.
Back to usBoth children were delighted to be interviewed, but also a little puzzled. Delighted because of the fact they would see their names and pictures in GN, but puzzled because they didn't see what the excitement is regarding children and nudity. While they do understand that many people misunderstand nudity, they have a concrete sense of self-acceptance that many an adult would envy. Bruce and I come from a generation of people who, as children, were told that nudity was something shameful, so we were strongly advised to be clothed at all times.
My own first step towards naturism came when I was 15. I decided that it was more comfortable to sleep nude. Unfortunately, my mother felt this was inappropriate. But fortunately I did not heed her words!
Some years later, my sister and I sunbathed nude on the family hobby farm, a secluded area an hour and a half north of Edmonton. This happened without the participation or attendance of our parents. I had yet to meet other people who could do the same, until I met Bruce.
Bare and getting thereBruce's family had owned a lake property northeast of Edmonton from the time of his grandparents. During the mid-80s, when there was a lull in the use of the properties on either side of the family cabin, Bruce and I enjoyed relative privacy and peace nude. My first attempt at a social naturist event came on a weekend when Bruce invited another couple and a single friend to the lake. While I would have been happy to be totally bare, it was decided that topfree was more easily accepted among the group. With the three men already bare-chested, it fell to me to be the female leader. I was happy to oblige.
Over the years, with population at the lake soaring and the addition of a year-'round residence next to the cabin, our family opportunities for nude living became limited to our home, the family farm, and camping trips like the one shown in our pictures.
With Alberta's winter weather, our second choice is trips to warmer climes, or to locate other naturist folk who must be lurking somewhere out there in their parkas! Aside from political loyalties, Alberta is a conservative province, its people tending to be good, solid, but cautious folk. In my experience, discussions of naturism seem to cause people to titter, frown, accept that others may do it, or dismiss it.
In Alberta, then, until we can connect with the existing naturist community in this area, we will continue our "closet" naturism. What fun it will be to share this wholesome lifestyle with others some day, and then have more to write about!
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The Federation of Canadian Naturists (FCN) and the Fédération québécoise de naturisme (FQN) share the Canadian membership in the International Naturist Federation (INF), which has its world headquarters in Antwerp, Belgium.