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  • Tuesday, August 24, 2021 9:58 AM | Anonymous

    Canadians deserve local access to their preferred forms of recreation, including clothing-optional recreation without fear of legal repercussions.  As our experience has demonstrated, this is easier to achieve than most naturists would believe.  The best part is that “official approval” isn’t even needed!

    Hidden Beach in Calgary

    In 2020, Calgary Nude Recreation (CNR) moved forward with plans to establish a new clothing-optional recreation area within the city.  This was motivated first by concerns over the accessibility of the existing nude beach that has been in use for over 2 decades, and second by the desire to demonstrate our “don’t ask, do tell” strategy can scale beyond single outdoor events.

    The selected location took about 2 years to find.  Located at the northern edge of Fish Creek Provincial Park, “Hidden Beach” is situated at a natural bend in Fish Creek and hidden by cliffs to the north and a lot of tall vegetation to the south.  Adjacent trails pass by the area, but few pass through the vegetation to the water.  For context, Fish Creek Provincial Park is the second-largest urban park in Canada and surrounded by suburban residential communities on all sides.

    The “don’t ask, do tell” approach relies on the Legal Opinion (developed by a Canadian law firm specializing in constitutional issues) as correctly classifying contextually appropriate naturism as a lawful activity.  Understanding that contextually appropriate naturism is trouble-free and already completely legal, one simply needs to proactively inform the relevant authorities of the intention to use the space with a description of what that use will look like.  Once again, one simply needs to proactively inform the relevant authorities of the intention to use the space.

    Don’t Ask, Do Tell

    There are a few different aspects that need to be understood for this approach to make sense. 

    • First, while there IS a provision against nudity in the Criminal Code of Canada (s174), there are so many definitions and exceptions that it’s effectively not applicable.  This makes sense because otherwise changing at the pool, modelling for an art class, or even walking from your shower back to your bedroom would be illegal.  (Read the full breakdown HERE).
    • Second, note that local or provincial authorities cannot pass laws or ordinances which are more restrictive than federal laws.  This actually makes things in Canada better than in the US, where the lack of federal statute concerning nudity allows state and local governments to pass their own rules. Nullifying s. 174 would likely be counter-productive to our interests.
    • Third, virtually every park bylaw contains provisions that protect the “peaceful enjoyment” of the park (or similar language).  Remember that this also protects the park use of those engaging in clothing-optional recreation.
    • Lastly, the role of the police is to “keep the peace”, or said another way “deal with problems”.  Most police services (especially following the attention given to police brutality in 2020) do not operate to proactively seek out citizens and arrest them without very good reason.  It is CNR’s understanding that mediation is the first option used by police rather than judicial enforcement.

    Based on our experience, when a group expresses an intention to use an area for contextually appropriate clothing-optional recreation, it is passed to an internal legal department.  Months later, acknowledgement is given that the group has a right to use the park like any other citizen and that reports of criminal activity will be referred to local police.  If pushed on the issue, Its possible to get an acknowledgement that those participating in nude recreation would have a right to peaceful enjoyment of the park just as any other park user, and that complaints against anyone who interfered with their peaceful enjoyment of the park would be acted upon.

    Note that no part of the response endorses or permits nudity in the park.  This is perfectly okay – it is not the job of parks administrators to give permission for every activity that is going to take place in the park.  The necessary legal structures already exist to address unlawful activities.

    Proactive Relationships with Police

    CNR regularly communicates the date, time, and location of all our pre-organized outside activities to the Calgary Police Service (CPS) ahead of time. CNR has a fantastic relationship with CPS, so we have no fear of prosecution for contextually appropriate nude recreation.

    Historically, clothing optional areas often fall into what is perceived as legal grey area, meaning users typically assume the area is not officially “legal”. This creates problems when there are criminal acts where the police should be called, because nobody wants to feel like they are calling the police on themselves, too.

    Predators may gravitate to places where people are unlikely to call the police. This allows them to commit crimes brazenly. Such crimes include things such as masturbation, assault, or other disruptive behaviour.

    A good relationship with your local police department is considered essential. Instances of public masturbation and other safety related issues are the types of things that tarnish the validity of nude recreation. Its these poor representations that get clothing optional areas shut down permanently.

    Any person or club looking to establish a beach must be willing to be stewards of the area. There MUST be a willingness to call the police when needed. The benefit of working with police ahead of time means a police response won’t be a frightening ordeal.

    Nude recreation is rare, and it is unreasonable to expect all police officers to be knowledgeable on this area of law. Initiating conversations ahead of time gives authorities the chance to find out through their own legal department as to what is acceptable.

    Make sure people can find it

    While Hidden Beach is itself rather hidden despite being in the middle of a bustling city, the online presence of Hidden Beach is quite prominent. CNR has a web page for Hidden Beach that ranks highly with Google search results. Google Maps has Hidden Beach and Weaselhead (the original nude beach) marked, with a link to the directions to get there.

    Within 2 weeks of being added to Google Maps, Hidden Beach achieved over 24,000 views and over 16,000 searches by name.

    A photo journalist with the CBC even did a photo spread about Hidden Beach, which was quite well received. Surprisingly, the overwhelming response by Calgarians was that people were shocked that Calgary had not one but TWO clothing optional beaches.

    What about signs?

    A sign is NOT needed for nude recreation to be legal. In fact, nude recreation need not be confined to a specific area, as demonstrated by CNR’s countless outside activities in public areas. CNR even had a naked bike ride which took place entirely on bike paths along the river. The bike ride wasn’t even conducted as a “protest”, it was purely recreational.

    There are certainly benefits to signage, such as letting other park users know what to expect just up the trail. The practical problem is that the creation and installation of signage is very likely going to require “official creation” of the area, via a vote of elected officials or decision of a specific public servant.  It introduces a whole different set of challenges.

    The good news is that lots of different groups use public parks without signage or official designation. For example, Fish Creek Provincial Park also has a mountain bike terrain park, which is also entirely unofficial despite it also being shown on Google Maps.

    Philosophically, the major drawback of signs is that they inadvertently convey that signage is needed for nude recreation to be acceptable or legal, which is the complete opposite of what we have established. Nude recreation is already legal in lots of places, regardless of signage or area designation.

    Nude Mandatory vs Clothing Optional

    This is an important topic among nudists, who sometimes believe all spaces for naturism should be nude-mandatory. However, we live in a time where individual choice is valued over group assimilation. What this means is that younger generations demand a level of autonomy over their bodies and their choices in ways that may feel unnatural to older generations. Times change and we need to change with them.

    Anyone not offended by nudity should be considered an ally. Period. What someone else is wearing has no bearing on YOUR use of the area. You have no right to see others naked. You have no right to demand others take off their clothes for your comfort.

    The government CANNOT mandate that people remove their clothing via ordinances. Individuals cannot demand that anyone remove their clothing. Any public beaches used for naturism are “clothing optional”. Any member of the public is welcome to use the public area wearing whatever they wish, and they are entitled to do so free of harassment for what they choose to wear.

    Summary - How To Establish A Clothing Optional Area

    1 – Be reasonable in your expectations about the location. Find a decent area that is as quiet as reasonably possible. The area need not be completely isolated or immune to random passers-by, but should not be a high traffic area. CNR encourages people to seek an area INSIDE city limits if possible. The location should be central and accessible via transit.

    2 – Contact CalgaryNudeRecereation@Gmail.com for assistance. CNR can and will provide coaching and guidance for how to facilitate the required conversations. We want every major city across Canada to have an easily accessible area for clothing optional recreation!

    3 – Contact the police and initiate a dialogue. This isn’t nearly as frightening as it sounds.

    4 – Contact the controlling authority of the area you wish to use. Due to the length of time the internal legal review may take, Fall is a good time to do this so that people may begin using the area in the Spring.

    5 – Make a web page with directions and instructions. Add the location to Google Maps and claim it as your business. Take steps to ensure the web page ranks well with Google search results (Search Engine Optimization).

    6 – Enjoy the fruits of your labour!

    The future is now

    Nude recreation WILL be normalized in the future to the point that someone swimming in the river naked will be just as normal as someone wearing a swimsuit. With everyone’s help, we can make this a reality much sooner.

    Calgary Nude Recreation has already made this happen in Calgary, only 3 years after bomb threats shut down our first wave pool swim. If this can happen in Calgary, this can happen anywhere in Canada that there are enough enthusiasts who take the initiative to make it happen.

    Questions and comments can be directed to CalgaryNudeRecreation@Gmail.com

  • Wednesday, November 25, 2020 3:30 PM | Anonymous

    Editors Note: The following article appears in the Autumn 2020 edition of Going Natural/Au naturel magazine.  It was originally written in July 2020.

    Back in the Winter 2019-2020 issue of Going Natural, we published an article titled “The Future of Public Nudity in Canada” which outlined Calgary Nude Recreation’s strategy for advancing naturism within our culture. In early July, we hosted a new kind of event using that strategy – a naked bike ride.

    Now, you’re probably thinking that’s already been done and pointing out that the World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR) attracts thousands of people around the world every year. That’s true, but the WNBR relies on being a “protest” for its legality. Our strategy seeks to remove the focus on “authorization”  to be naked and instead focus on hosting events that are not a problem.

    Our bike ride – held on a sunny Sunday afternoon – occurred on paved bike paths across 12 km of Fish Creek Park in the middle of south Calgary. The ride was strictly recreational; we carried no signs and had no writing on our bodies. The City of Calgary and the Calgary Police Service were aware of our event ahead of time and were very cooperative. A special event permit authorized group use of the pathway but did not provide any provision or mention of nudity.

    The most delightful part of our bike ride was how overwhelmingly supportive people were. Post-ride discussion in community Facebook groups (from members of the general public who saw us) was remarkably positive – not one poster threatened violence or expressed a “moral” outrage to the concept.

    The Future of Naturism

    We are in unprecedented times. Between the threat of catching and spreading COVID-19, the psychological impact of the lockdowns, the much-needed light being shined on systemic racism and oppression, and the situation in the US , the impact and “threat” of nudity has been reclassified. There is tremendous opportunity for those in the naturist space to step up and spread the message, because it is no longer the scariest, strangest, or most unusual concept facing society.

    When people see actual naturism, it becomes quickly apparent that there is no need for offense. Naturism is going to be widely accepted in the future of North America. Each generation of youth is more and more accepting of body positivity, equality, and letting others live how they choose.

    If those who are opposed to our form of recreation try to misrepresent naturist values and sling mud at us, they will only be further alienating themselves and their antiquated beliefs. They will be showing themselves as the outliers that they are, becoming more and more irrelevant. On our bike ride, we heard that a person that we passed wanted to call the police on us, but other park users intervened on our behalf and ridiculed them for their offense.

    Safety in Numbers

    The key to our success is that we conduct activities with multiple participants. On our bike ride, we would hear someone ask others in their group “why is that guy naked?”, not realizing that all of us were. They focused on the first person they saw, confused, because our form of recreation is still rarely seen. Others in their group would respond happily “they all are! They must be doing a naked bike ride!”, and then the group was usually all smiles.

    It is the entire group, rather than a lone naked individual, that sells our activities as just a fun afternoon to those that we pass

    The fact remains that lone individuals do not convey the proper message and meaning to our form of recreation. At least not yet anyways. We will continue working towards that end goal.

    Other Group Activities

    While Calgary weather has been extra uncooperative this year, we also held a hike on World Naked Hiking Day (in a provincial park in the Rocky Mountains), another naked hike through a city park (on a Tuesday evening), and a “beach” day at a new secluded spot in Fish Creek Park. All event specifics have been available exclusively to our members, although we have been gradually ramping up public promotion of our events on Facebook as well.

    Seeking Others to Recreate Our Success

    CNR is still looking for well-established (or ambitiously new) groups that wish to host contextually appropriate nude events in public areas. We have created a step by step guide for facilitating dialogue with the authorities. We want other nude groups to try this plan in their area, and to let us know if they can’t make the same progress.

    We encourage interested groups to email CalgaryNudeRecreation@Gmail.com for more information.

  • Friday, April 24, 2020 10:28 AM | Anonymous

    The past few weeks have obviously been unprecedented. On March 8, we had our regular monthly swim. On March 13, the organizers of CNR made the decision to “proactively” cancel the April swim, prior to gatherings of that nature being officially disallowed. It seemed like a monumental and difficult decision at the time. By March 15, schools had been closed. On March 17, bars and restaurants. And so it went.

    The scope and severity of this virus is brutally obvious to all of us behind the scenes at CNR. The sacrifices around staying at home, maintaining physical distancing, and avoiding groups are necessary to protect all of us, especially those living/working in healthcare and long-term care systems.

    The changes have impacted all of us in different ways. Some of us are no longer working. Some are working from home, contending with new challenges and unfamiliar technology. Some are working in the same roles, with a thousand added pressures and complications.

    Many of us have been working through the stages of grief, processing and adapting to the “new normal”. Throughout this period, we have consciously avoided posting out of respect for the severity and magnitude of the situation. It felt gratuitous to be thinking about nude recreation in a time like this. Further, there was the practical aspect. How could one even practice social nudity in an era of physical distancing?

    Over time, we’ve started to feel better. The rules have been more or less consistent. The sun has come back and the temperature has risen. It hasn’t snowed since April 18! We’ve learned to make bread or get through a home workout or grown familiar with the new format of late-night TV.

    We are ready to start posting again.

    We know that everyone is in a different place in this journey. To those still grieving, that’s okay. To those who haven’t experienced any change, that’s okay too. If you are not ready to think about the prospect of social nudity, we completely understand and respect that. If you are actively sad that our May and June events won’t be happening either, we understand. All we want you to know is that we understand the context. We know this is an unprecedented time. We know people are suffering. We know coronavirus is serious.

    We are ready to start posting again.

    We don’t know what the future holds, but we do know that we are committed to acting responsibly. We are not ready to give up on contextually-appropriate social nudity or nude recreation. We know the personal benefits are well documented and when all of this is over, we’re going to be craving all the sunshine and fresh air we can get.

    Thank you for sticking with us. We are ready to start posting again.

  • Wednesday, March 04, 2020 5:38 PM | Anonymous

    A Transition in Ideology

    There needs to be a significant shift in mentality among nudists regarding nude recreation in Canada, and by extension, North America. The advancement of the acceptance of the human body within our culture has been stagnant for decades. The strange part is that it’s NOT the law that is stopping this advancement. The law in Canada mostly supports the quest for self-fulfillment. 

    Calgary Nude Recreation (CNR) hosted a series of nude activities in quiet areas during the summer of 2019 (read our blog about it HERE). Three of the events took place inside the city limits of Calgary, a city of over 1.3 million people.  We conduct our events openly with the relevant authorities because we don’t believe our form of recreation is incompatible with our culture. Criminal Code s. 174, which bans public nudity in Canada without a lawful excuse, is not worthy of concern for us as demonstrated by our successful events. They key part is “without lawful excuse”, which is largely undefined by law. We believe proper naturism IS that lawful excuse, and the authorities we work with seem to agree (Read our legal blog HERE). 

    Some suggest law enforcement will use other laws to stop nude recreation, such as with the man in Guelph Ontario who tried meditating naked in a city park near a playground. He was arrested for “causing a disturbance”. Well… he got arrested because he WAS causing a disturbance. 

    CNR supports law enforcement in keeping the peace and enforcing the law. The police made the right choice in Guelph.

    We do not fear the police even though we host nude events in public areas. There is clearly a difference with the way we host events. To many, these differences are very subtle and deemed insignificant. We agree the differences are subtle, but those differences are incredibly important. We call those subtle differences “nuances”.

    We have demonstrated our methods and philosophy are ALREADY compatible with our culture. We just took the time to show others what we already knew ourselves.

    Applying Nuances to Our Reality

    There are nuances to everything we do in life, and we don’t even waste time thinking about many of them. You aren’t likely to head in to the office in a swim suit and flip flops, and you probably aren’t going to attend a funeral wearing your dirty gardening clothes and muddy shoes. Neither of these things is illegal, so why can’t you do them? Because our culture doesn’t view those things as acceptable, and that is very important to understand.

    CNR believes that the majority of the people have no issues with nude recreation. They have issues with people who use nudity to be antagonistic, proselytizing, and disruptive. 

    According to a 2006 Roper Public Affairs poll, conducted for the Naturism Education Foundation (NEF), 74% of Americans believe people should be able to engage in nude recreation in established areas. 54% of Americans believe that the government should set aside designated areas for nude recreation. These numbers show amazing support for nude recreation, and its likely those numbers are higher in Canada.

    Our goals are achievable; we just need to be smart about it.  We just need to show people that proper naturism is already compatible with our culture.

    Nuances and Public Disturbances

    Nudists are NOT being singled out by the requirement to consider their impact on others, and it’s time they stop pretending they are. 

    In 2019 at the Gay Pride festival in Toronto, a street preacher with a megaphone was arrested. He entered an area where he knew he would be the minority by a large margin. It was made very clear he was not welcome and his conduct was not appreciated. He had a megaphone. He refused to follow repeated requests by the police to stop using the megaphone and to tone down his message. He was adamant that he had a right to create a disturbance. He was arrested for disturbing the peace as a means to force compliance. If viewed with a broad lens, the scenario may sound incredibly familiar.

    We have a pretty clear list of guidelines to follow.  We avoid these pitfalls and have demonstrated repeated successes of our methods and philosophy.  Proper naturism is trouble-free.

    Nuances and Nude Recreation

    So how do you get naked in a culture that is potentially uptight about nudity, without creating a ruckus or a disturbance? You do so by understanding the nuances that make one situation acceptable and another unacceptable, and then you make compromises. Those who can’t understand the difference between a quiet spot on the river and the grocery store are the reason that s. 174 exists. Perhaps this sounds harsh, but that harshness doesn’t make the statement untrue.

    Many refuse to accept nuances to be valid; “either its legal or it’s not” is a common phrase we hear regarding nudity. Well, if one group is “getting away” with something, and another is not, perhaps effort should be put in to identify the nuances between the two situations. CNR hosts nude events in quiet public areas and the authorities know where to find us. Our events have been trouble free.

    We emphasize “quiet locations” for hosting nude activities. This is a key part of our advocacy. Do you believe this would include your back yard? What if there were three 2-story homes that have a clear view of your back yard? What is the difference between your backyard and the river? What if less people are likely to walk past you in your back yard? Are they both equally acceptable locations for nude recreation?

    In the perfect world, yes, they would both be acceptable. We do not live in that world. The difference with your back yard is that your neighbours live there. It is not reasonable to ask them to leave or not look out the windows of their home if they do not wish to see you. At the river, it is far more reasonable for one party to go somewhere else. In fact, many public disputes are settled simply by asking opposing parties to go separate ways.  

    The solution that works in public areas is not practical or reasonable when dealing with private residences. Compromise becomes near impossible in residences. It is not fair to use someone’s residence to force your nudity on them. 

    There ARE restrictions on public nudity, and we believe those restrictions are valid, needed, reasonable, and acceptable. We have these rules because there are those who refuse to accept that nuances exist. We are proving that these restrictions do not stop nude recreation, even in big cities. 

    Nuances and Nude Advocacy

    For advocacy to work, we must show proof of concept. We must accept that while what we are doing may not be wrong, there will be people who interpret it as wrong. We must accept that we will be treated unfairly until we have shown proof of concept. We must push only one boundary at a time, and do so in a comfortable way.

    We must consider what kind of undue disturbance our recreation creates with others in any given situation. Are we making an attempt to impact as few people as possible? Are we engaging in nude recreation for self-fulfillment purposes? Are we using nudity to antagonize people? Are we grossly out of place?

    For nude advocacy to work across Canada, nudists must stop trying to implement a nudist resort ideology to all aspects of the public realm. The greater public can’t even agree on the best way to reduce unemployment, or the best type of food, or the best sports team. The non-naked public is not going to accept nudism at the grocery store or on the subway. As soon as this is understood, we can find a compromise between nude recreation and the needs of the public to maintain a peaceful co-existence. 

    To be clear, we like nudist resorts and the vibe they create. What we don’t like is the assumption that since something works at a nudist resort, that same concept should work in any public location. The law does not support this belief either. Compromises MUST be made to keep the peace and minimize disturbances. 

    Our Nuanced Approach to Advocacy

    We do not use someone’s place of employment or home residence to force our nudity on them.

    We engage in advocacy with a large group of people, our membership base. A lone man will be treated far differently than a large mixed-gender group. One person is easy to stop, but a large group of people is much more difficult because it demonstrates wider support. We started our activities as low key as possible. We do not publicly promote our events as if it is the World Naked Bike Ride. We pick the quietest spots we can find, and we are building a history of trouble free activities. 

    We are transparent with the authorities. We tell them, and then SHOW them, that we have no desires to cause problems. We will show the authorities that even when we have to end our day early (and get dressed) it’s STILL not a problem. We remove all reason the authorities have to fear our activities by being graceful and understanding at all times. A “request” from the police is a nice way of telling someone to do something. We will follow their instructions and requests, and do so happily. 

    If an issue with the general public ever does happen, it’ll likely be apparent to the authorities who the problem is, as long as we have a credible history of trouble-free events behind us.

    This will take time. We will continue to demonstrate that proper naturism is trouble-free, and that it is a normal form of recreation. We will all make nude recreation more publicly visible over time. As more and more people become accustomed to nude recreation they will be more accepting of it. The restrictions we currently deal with will be relaxed. People will start to barely notice naked people in public, they’ll just see people enjoying the sun by the river. And eventually, someone’s kid is going to grow up thinking how strange it is that we used to get all worked up over nudity.

    Together, we will bring nude recreation into the mainstream in Canada.  We have already shown that its already compatible with our culture.


    CNR has an outdoor events planning guide for established nude groups, and a separate guide for starting your own nude group.  We want to assist you in achieving the same successes as us. Contact CalgaryNudeRecreation@Gmail.com if you are interested.

  • Saturday, December 07, 2019 12:45 PM | Anonymous

    It’s no secret that in the absence of gender caps, women tend to be underrepresented at nude events. Here at Calgary Nude Recreation, we have chosen to avoid discriminatory gender caps and instead focus on creating a comfortable, welcoming environment for all people.

    As a man who has been involved in the social nudity scene for many years, I do not believe that most men intend to make others feel uncomfortable. However, deliberate or not, it still happens. The point of this post is not to point blame, but to walk through some common scenarios and tips to ensure we are creating open and comfortable spaces for female attendees.

    Note: Why didn’t you have a woman write this article?  We were specifically asked by a female member to write this from a man’s perspective. If you would like to offer additional commentary, we always welcome guest submissions at CalgaryNudeRecreation@gmail.com.

    1. Prolonged staring, especially outside of eye level

    This one is pretty obvious on the list of inappropriate behavior. Staring makes people feel uncomfortable while clothed, so imagine how much worse it can be when naked. If you are in a situation where maintaining eye contact would be awkward (i.e. not in a conversation with the person), then don’t stare at them. If you are in a conversation, then you should maintain healthy eye contact. Keeping your gaze at eye level at all times is a good habit to have.

    If you really find it difficult to control your gaze, science has shown that engaging your mind with a simple math problem (e.g. adding up the digits in your phone number) can help you refocus so you can remind yourself to look elsewhere.

    2. Unwanted conversation

    We want everyone to feel like this is a welcoming environment where it’s possible to meet new people. We also don’t want anyone to feel like they’re being pulled into unwanted conversations.

    So how do you know if the other person actually wants to talk to you, or is just being polite? If you are unsure, my advice is to limit conversation to 30-60 seconds.

    After about a minute, plan to move on and tell them that you are going to try the blue waterslide (or go over to the hot tub, or into the pool, etc.) and see if they want to join. If they accept, you’re good to move on and continue your conversation. If they decline, you’ve got an easy way to remove yourself from the conversation and move elsewhere.

    If they state that they are leaving to go down the blue slide (or over to the tub tub, or into the pool, etc.) without explicitly inviting you, that’s a sign they do not wish to continue the conversation. DO NOT FOLLOW THEM.

    3. Inappropriate body language

    Like it or not, certain body parts can still convey a sexual or threatening tone, even while nude. Body language plays a large part in this. Consider the following people sitting, but imagine them naked on the edge of the hot tub:

    Neutral ways of sitting Inappropriate way of sitting

    Be mindful of which attributes you’re putting “on display”. If your penis or anus are front-and-centre, or if you’re doing anything to accentuate or draw attention to them (including cock rings), it’s not helping to create a welcoming environment for anyone else.

    Other poses to avoid while at nude events:


    4. Touching yourself

    No matter how innocent it might be intended, there is something incredibly unsettling about a man touching his penis while looking at you or talking to you. Scratching, stretching, and stroking are all on this list. I feel very unsettled experiencing that as a man, and can only imagine how much worse it could be as a woman. Always be mindful of where your hands are and consciously avoid the urge to scratch that itch within the vicinity of others.

    5. Awkward "compliments"

    This can sometimes be a struggle to understand, because a compliment is inherently nice, and why would something nice ever be unwelcome? The challenge lies in when compliments become creepy or vaguely threatening, which often involve referencing someone’s appearance who you don’t know well.

     Awkward/Creepy Compliments Neutral Compliments 
    - You are very beautiful
    - You have a pretty smile
    - I love your eyes
    - I think it's cool that you did __
    - That's a really nice towel
    - I like how passionate you are about __

    If you’re having a hard time understanding the difference, imagine the biggest, burliest biker guy saying them to you. If the thought of that man in a leather jacket, leaning off his motorcycle to tell you that “you’ve got a pretty smile” feels somewhat unsettling, it’s likely going to be received the same way by a woman you don’t know.

    6. Not accepting straightforward requests

    Nude resorts and events are often open to all like-minded people. A byproduct of being inclusive is not screening by age, sexuality, race, socio-economic status, or physical ability, which means that attendees come from incredibly diverse backgrounds and life experiences. What may be harmless to you might be offensive or uncomfortable to someone else. If someone mentions that some part of your conduct or behaviour is not appreciated, just respect that person’s request.

    You are not a dick if you aren’t able to read someone else’s mind, but you ARE a dick if you choose to continue your conduct once you have been informed.

    Saying “I was just trying to be nice/friendly/etc.” is not necessary as it tries to turn the situation around on the other person and make them feel bad for speaking up. Simply thank the person for letting you know and move on.

    It shows tremendous character to recognize when we’ve done something that negatively impacts others, and to make changes to try and make things better. I hope this post helps you identify problematic behaviours in yourself or those close to you. I hope it encourages men to be good allies by both consciously creating comfortable spaces around us and to speak up when we witness something inappropriate.

    If you are a member of Calgary Nude Recreation, check out Part 2 of this post where we discuss how we strive to handle guest conduct at our events.

  • Wednesday, November 27, 2019 9:06 AM | Anonymous

    The following is a Guest Blog written by an organizer of Calgary Nude Recreation.

    You may have caught an article last month on the one-night-only pop-up art exhibit featuring 15 nude portraits of men from Calgary’s arts and music scene. From the art director behind the series, titled "Unmanned":

    “Women are far more often the subjects when we talk about the nude throughout history—in sculpture, painting, photography,” said Rebecca White. “We wanted to use the male body, be it cis male or trans male, as our subjects for this series, and to put their bodies into positions or settings that begged the question: ‘What makes a nude sexual?’ while also highlighting the varied beauty of the male form.”

    Intrigued, I attended the basement exhibition with several friends and was pleasantly surprised to see the venue jam packed. The photographs lined the perimeter of the space, each one authentic, vulnerable, and thought-provoking. Many of the “models” were there, cheerfully mingling and showing off their nude portraits to friends and family.

    Two observations struck me about the exhibit. The first was the live, grassroots, real level of support which “unusual” things can garner in Calgary. Far too often I hear Calgarians say “Oh, I think that’s a great idea, but it’ll never work in CAL-GARY!” It’s awesome to see unusual things being successfully executed in our city.

    The second observation is a broader conversation about context and the value judgments we as a society ascribe to largely similar actions. Take a nude selfie? You’re a narcissist and asking for it if that picture ever gets leaked. Have someone else take the photo? Let’s put it on the wall and pay $8 to go see it! There are similar thought patterns around nude recreation that we are always looking to explore and deconstruct.

    Overall, the evening was a great testament to the fact it is possible for anyone to create spaces in Calgary where nudity is normal without interference from those who believe bodies are something to be ashamed of. I applaud the art director, photographer, and local men who took part in this project for starting a conversation that can help normalize nudity both for men, and for Calgary.

    Have something to say?  Email your pitch to CalgaryNudeRecreation@gmail.com

  • Tuesday, October 08, 2019 10:46 AM | Anonymous

    Earlier this year, members of the CNR Advisory Committee attended a training session regarding safe spaces. The session was hosted by the Calgary Sexual Health Centre Training and Professional Development team. The objective of this session was to ensure we are doing everything possible to ensure our events are welcoming to all interested people (regardless of sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation) and that we have adequate policies and procedures to respond to any issues that may occur at an event.

    The first thing we learned was that the correct terminology is “safer spaces”, not “safe spaces”. Many of us had been burdened by the assumption that doing right by offering a “safe space” would transfer accountability of all participants behaviour to the organizers. It was a relief to learn there is an understanding that no one can ever guarantee a place is 100% safe, because it is understood that organizers cannot control the actions of others. Learning this helped us to settle into the session and hear what came next.

    Overall, while many of the concepts emphasized (including boundaries, inclusivity, and intolerance of harassment) are already part of our “DNA”, we came away with some areas of focus to analyze to ensure we are meeting the needs of all members and meeting our objectives around inclusivity.

    During the workshop, we had some interesting moments trying to “bridge the gap” between the training material originally developed for a corporate audience, and our reality of an organization that enables strangers to get naked together. In many ways, it was reassuring to hear that the language we already use, and the processes we already have in place, help to ensure our events are welcoming to all people. While a workplace may be struggling with which sign to put on which bathroom to be inclusive, the fact that all attendees use the same change room at our events is inclusive by default.

    Something that has always been top-of-mind for CNR organizers is the rules we set around dress code and how that applies to women versus men, and how to provide accommodation for non-binary individuals. While the rule since the beginning has always had clarification for those who’s “gender falls between”, we learned more about the differences between sex and gender, and the correct terminology. We concluded (with the help of the facilitators) that the core intention of the policy is right, and we have worked to update the website and policies to reflect consistent terminology.

    In terms of changes to existing policies and procedures, the biggest suggestion was to move from a “crime and punishment” model (how our current policies were interpreted by the facilitators) to that of “restorative justice”. After nearly 24 months of events, we agree with the notion that most issues stem from ignorance rather than intentional malice, so are currently discussing ways to make this shift.

    One of the small changes you may have noticed is a new gender-inclusive sign which we now post over the “mens” graphic on the change room entrance. We hope this helps reinforce our commitment to inclusivity. 

    At the end of the day, the core objective of offering a “safer space” is for all persons to feel welcome, to feel included, and to feel that any acts of discrimination or harassment will not be tolerated by the group. We hope that our general Membership Terms, event regulations, and overall language make this clear. If there is anything you think we could improve, or have any questions about our policies, please email CalgaryNudeRecreation@gmail.com or reach out via Facebook Messenger.

  • Sunday, September 22, 2019 6:45 PM | Anonymous

    Earlier this summer, Calgary Nude Recreation published our analysis on the “legality” of outdoor nude recreation in Canada. Utilizing the approach outlined, we are happy to say that we successfully held several “pop-up” events at public locations in and around Calgary from June to September 2019.

    In each case, we explored and previewed multiple sites/trails to find the optimal location. Relevant authorities were made aware well in advance of our intention to use the site, when we would be there, and how to get a hold of us if required.

    Nude Recreation Pop-up Activations

    Naked Hikes

    Other than weather-related challenges, each event was successful with a good cross-section of attendees, and no complaints or issues from the general public. The largest turnout was over 60 people at the beach day on August 2. Hikes were generally timed to avoid passing other hikers, and those likely to interact with us were chatted with in advance. While invited by us, law enforcement did not check in on any event. Attendees had a great time working on our tans and chatting with other attendees.

    Calgary’s existing nude beach

    The “unofficial” nude beach at the far west end of Weaselhead Natural Area was not utilized by Calgary Nude Recreation in an official capacity this summer, although individual members have reported typical attendance levels on nice days. We continue to believe this site is dangerous to access and has limited viability once the southwest ring road opens, which is why we chose three new sites for our pop-up events.

    A permanent nude beach for Calgary?

    Calgary Nude Recreation believes it is deeply unfortunate that Calgary is one of the only cities on the list of Most Livable without a sanctioned clothing-optional recreation area. If you agree, please ensure you communicate this to your councillor and request clothing-optional recreation options whenever relevant at engage.calgary.ca.

    CNR strives to continue working towards a designated clothing optional area, though we have demonstrated that any quiet place can be legal and practical to use for the practice of naturism.

    The Perfect Location?

    Each of the sites utilized for pop-up beach days have their pros and cons. Thanks to limited sight lines, accessible water, and appropriate scale, our favourite was the Glenmore Dam location. Unfortunately, water contamination makes this location problematic.

    We are always on the lookout for great locations. Please email us any locations you believe to be suitable. You can reach us at CalgaryNudeRecreation@Gmail.com

    We understand how important the establishment of a designated site is to our members, but this isn’t a challenge we can take on alone. As posted earlier this summer, access to clothing-optional recreation is a cultural issue more than a legal one. More Canadians need to know the virtues of social nudity, and more importantly need to know that one or more of their friends, family, or coworkers are open to it too. Until this happens, negative stereotypes will continue to block our path.

    Thanks to everyone that joined us this summer! Our next swim is October 20th.

  • Tuesday, July 23, 2019 7:51 PM | Anonymous

    The following is a Guest Blog written by Melissa, a member of Calgary Nude Recreation.  

    Thinking back on my attitude towards nudity, I didn’t feel shameful about my body until I entered junior high. Dress codes started to be enforced and I learned that not only was my body shameful, it was also dangerous. My body had the power to distract male teachers and my male peers. This “distraction”, I learned, was something to do with sex and it was my responsibility to keep my body hidden lest something bad happen to me. This nebulous connection between showing skin and having sex never did make sense to me. I didn’t understand as a young girl how showing skin meant you were “asking for it”. I thought about how baring my navel or my cleavage made me “slutty”, while the boys could play shirts vs. skins during gym class. I always thought it was strange how seeing my upper thigh could fill a man’s head with lustful ideas, somehow making it impossible for him to function, yet I could watch the boys run around in just shorts and be completely unaffected. As I grew up with my “dangerous body”, hidden under layers of clothing, I asked myself why exactly was I so ashamed of something that was intrinsically part of who I was?

    I came to realize that policing my nudity had very little to do with keeping me safe from men and everything to do with causing shame and fear in order to exert control and deny me bodily autonomy. As I progressed into adulthood I wanted to take ownership over my body and make the meaning of my body relevant to me. I wanted to stop pandering to the expectations of modesty that I had railed against since I was young and start a new chapter of body acceptance.

    Fast forward to last year, a friend of mine invited me to join her and another friend at one of Calgary Nude Recreation’s wave pool events. Admittedly I did have some flashbacks to my youth and the warnings I’d received to “cover up”. I knew there would be a lot of people at the swim and I knew many of them would be men. Would my body incite a riot? Would I be blamed for causing “sinful thoughts”? Would I have to leave before I tempted the wrong person with my immodesty? The shame came rushing back, anxiety washed over me, over my body. My body that has climbed mountains, held loved ones, and continues to enable me to live my life to the fullest. My beautiful, imperfectly perfect body that should solely be my own.

    In this moment I knew I had a choice: to continue to uphold social norms that perpetuate the stigma that treats my curves and genitals as dirty objects to be fetishized OR to reject social norms completely and embrace my unabashedly female presenting form. Needless to say, I went to the swim.

    Here I was, completely naked around all genders, including men, and guess what?

    Nothing bad happened! No one made me feel uncomfortable, commented on my body, or acted as if they couldn’t control themselves around my naked female form. I truly felt free from the constraints of shame and from the societal boogeyman of the “immodest woman”.

    Seeing so many other nude bodies interacting in non-intimate ways was so refreshing. I felt less self-conscious while nude then I did with clothes on! Seeing real naked people who were as perfectly imperfect as me was eye opening. Seeing men and women interact with each other without sexual connotation was liberating. Being able to escape our hyper-sexualized world even for a few hours made my brief initial discomfort worth it. My experiences with social nudity have now allowed me to feel worry-free that this body could incite disaster at any moment. I can now spend time with the people around me knowing that my unclothed body is not a danger to them or to myself.

    Social nudity allowed me to feel less like an object and more like a person. I stopped identifying my nudity as a weapon or as something dangerous. I no longer let society dictate how I feel about my body; I no longer regulate the showing of my skin to “protect” others.

    I will not let someone else define my body’s intent or alienate me from my bodily autonomy ever again. Engaging in social nudity may not be ground-breaking for some, but for me it has helped build confidence and develop self-acceptance. Social nudity has disproven a harmful and damaging misconception about my body that has followed me since childhood.

    The weaponization of my naked form is something I will no longer allow, and I am grateful that Calgary Nude Recreation has provided such an amazing community for those of us looking to take back our bodies for ourselves.

    Cover image developed from a photograph by Filip Filipović from Pixabay.

    Have something to say?  Email your pitch to CalgaryNudeRecreation@gmail.com.  

  • Monday, June 10, 2019 11:00 AM | Anonymous

    Nude Recreation in Canada – What’s the Deal?

    The following provides an overview of the current legal status of nude recreation in Canada.  It is intended to enable our members (and others) to understand the law and any risks they may be assuming by participating in nude or nearly-nude recreation.

    The Legal Review

    The CNR Legal Fund was used earlier this year to retain the services of a constitutional law firm to develop an opinion on whether naturism is lawful.  We were pleasantly surprised to find out that the law is mostly on our side already, at least in the context of hypothetical activities taking place in secluded parts of national and provincial parks.

    We have developed the following beliefs by building on the opinion developed by the law firm, reviewing the case law cited, analyzing newer decisions concerning nudity, and evaluating media coverage on recent cases involving nudity in Canada.  Please note that the following should not be interpreted as legal advice.

    The Criminal Code Statute on Nudity

    Section 174 of the Criminal Code of Canada addresses the offence of nudity.  It is reproduced here in its entirety:


    ·         174 (1) Every one who, without lawful excuse,

    (a) is nude in a public place, or

    (b) is nude and exposed to public view while on private property, whether or not the property is his own,

    is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

    ·         Nude

    (2) For the purposes of this section, a person is nude who is so clad as to offend against public decency or order.

    ·         Consent of Attorney General

    (3) No proceedings shall be commenced under this section without the consent of the Attorney General.


    Let’s chop up the statute and walk through each component of the law.  

       (a) is nude in a public place,

    This is fairly black and white.  Nude means to be wearing no clothes.  A public place is defined in s. 150 of the Criminal Code to “include any place to which the public have access as of right or by invitation, express or implied”.  It’s a very broad definition, but it doesn’t matter much because the next section also extends to private property.

    (b) is nude and exposed to public view while on private property, whether or not the property is his own,

    This is also fairly black and white.  It should spark some thought, as it makes it illegal to walk through your house naked unless all windows are fully and completely covered.

    (2) For the purposes of this section, a person is nude who is so clad as to offend against public decency or order.

    This is a deeming provision that brings additional conduct under the purview of section 174.  Specifically, you do not need to be “wearing no clothes” to be charged under s.174 anymore.  Wearing a jockstrap, thong, hat, or shoes could now be illegal – if wearing it offends against public decency or public order.

    against public decency

    There is a well-understood legal test that is applied to determine whether conduct offends public decency.  We don’t need to get into details, because the good news is that multiple cases have confirmed that nudity without a sexual component cannot be immoral or indecent behavior.

    against public order

    This creates a second path to guilt for “partial nudity” cases and addresses the social norm of “peaceableness” and concepts like the “Queen’s Peace”.  The test for this falls more specifically on the exact details of a situation and whether an actual disturbance of the peace occurred. 

    ·         174 (1) Every one who, without lawful excuse,

    This is where the law gets even more complicated, because there’s a giant “get out of jail free” card in the first sentence. 

    Lawful excuse is not comprehensively defined, but rather evolves over time based on case law and the circumstances of the moment.  The introduction of the “lawful excuse” provision introduces the opportunity for a defendant to provide evidence that could meet “an air of reality threshold test” and therefore allow an acquittal.

    Specific examples of valid lawful excuses cited in two s.174 decisions have included not being disorderly along with an absence of indecency or immorality; legitimate theatrical performance; escaping from a house on fire; or modelling in a lecture hall for art students.  It has also been implied that a genuine form of self-expression while nude could engage s. 2(b) of the Charter, providing another path to lawful excuse.

    It is also worth noting that the actions of local government authorities to permit/authorize clothing-optional recreation (for example at Wreck Beach in Vancouver or Halan’s Point in Toronto) appear to be accepted lawful excuses via the absence of examples of participants being charged under s.174.  Nude participation in events like the World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR) or Toronto Pride Parade also appear to be accepted lawful excuses.

    is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

    A “summary conviction” is a less serious offense than an indictable offence.  Finger prints do not need to be provided when charged under summary conviction, and there is a 6 month limitation period to being charged.  The maximum penalty is a sentence of 6 months of imprisonment, a fine of $5000, or both.  There is no minimum penalty, and there are limitations on whether you can be arrested without a warrant for offenses punishable on summary conviction. 

    (3) No proceedings shall be commenced under this section without the consent of the Attorney General.

    Finally, this last line helps bring everything into context.  No one may be charged without the consent of the Attorney General.  (In Alberta, that’s now Doug Schweitzer).  There are only a few laws that also contain this provision, and they tend to concern statutes which may infringe in unique ways on personal liberties, or could allow the law to be used in a situation it was not originally intended. 

    The Attorney General has previously told us they cannot speculate on whether they would or would not grant consent – it would depend on the specific scenario under investigation.

    So is it Legal?

    It is the position of CNR that nude (or nearly-nude) activities, which take place in a calm and deliberate manner, in a contextually appropriate location, are unlikely to initiate an aggressive response by law enforcement.

    Contextually Appropriate

    CNR considers two factors when broadly defining contextually appropriate:

    1. The activity has a strong connection to the values and practice of naturism.  This would almost always involve the activity taking place in nature.
    2. The impact to other members of the public have been considered, and reasonable attempts have been taken (or are willing to be taken) to minimize negative impacts or outcomes.

      A previous case has definitively established that “flaunting” nudity in an effort to shock is contrary to the naturist philosophy and can sustain a conviction under the breach to public order section s.174(2). 

      Cultural versus Legal

      Despite the specific scenarios that have been carved out as very likely being “lawful”, it is important to acknowledge the cultural component of nudity.  Even though women have been allowed to be topless in Canada since 1996, this is still a very rare practice.  In fact, a recent Facebook poll asking “Is it against the law for a woman to be topless in public, in Calgary?” garnered 3.3K responses, with 47% incorrectly answering it is against the law. 

      News media has not been particularly helpful to the practice of naturism.  As a topic that tends to generate a disproportionate number of clicks, the media pumps public nudity with edgy puns and cheeky references.  This tends to skew the public perception for what is acceptable, both legally and socially.

      We believe that cultural issues (i.e. a perceived lack of legality) are far more likely to cause issues than actual legal proceedings for contextually appropriate nudity. 

      Law Enforcement

      It is the belief of CNR that police have a mandate to keep the peace.  The police do not want to deal with problems.  We believe that contextually appropriate naturist activities would not constitute a problem.

      To paraphrase a Calgary Police officer when asked about this topic, “If I’m not dealing with a situation where someone is dying and have time to respond to people skinny dipping in the river, then I’m having a pretty good day”.  It is notable that he also commented that trying such a thing on a crowded beach would garner a vastly different response than a quiet section of river.

      Don’t Ask, Do Tell

      After nearly 18 months of progress, CNR has settled on an approach with law enforcement we call “Don’t Ask, Do Tell”.  This approach:

      1. Relies on the Legal Opinion and further analysis as correctly classifying naturism as a lawful activity, and implicitly believes internal reviews by government/law enforcement legal council is concluding the same.
      2. Understands that a permit would almost certainly grant the “lawful excuse” to be solidly within the law.  
      3. Accepts that culturally, it is not realistic in 2019 to ask a government official to put their job/reputation on the line by granting us a permit.
      4. Accepts that those who wish to participate in social nudity have a level of responsibility to prove CONTEXTUALLY APPROPRIATE naturism can peacefully co-exist in public areas without issue.
      5. Builds personal relationships with local law enforcement/government authorities and demonstrates proactive accountability for our conduct with those authorities.

      Don’t Ask, Do Tell involves notifying the relevant authorities as to the time and location of our activities well ahead of time.  This notification includes multiple methods of contacting us.  We will continue to notify the relevant authorities as to our activities until our activities are so mundane that they do not wish to hear from us any longer.

      This approach was used successfully on June 9, 2019 in the Rocky Mountains with no intervention required by local law enforcement, park conservation officers, or other government employees. (Yes, its a bit early in the season still)

      Law Enforcement Interactions with Respect to Nudity

      We believe that all requests by law enforcement should be complied with.  If we are asked to get dressed, we will get dressed.  It’s pertinent to remember naturism is new to a lot of people, and it is reasonable that people err on the cautious side with unfamiliar topics. 

      When people are charged criminally for being nude in public, the arrest and criminal charges seem to come after other solutions fail to garner the desired results (usually the desired result is the person getting and staying dressed).  We believe that legal repercussions are unlikely if all requests by law enforcement are immediately complied with.

      Utilizing the relationships developed under the Don’t Ask, Do Tell model, we will follow up with the relevant administration to ensure future issues are minimized. 


      The law on nudity in Canada is inherently complicated, providing several distinct avenues for conviction along with a largely undefined clause which negates the offence entirely.  Consent of the Attorney General is required to commence proceedings.

      Case law provides a handful of examples of the factors considered in previous judgments regarding charges under s.174.  While there are several encouraging conclusions, every situation is different and case law cannot guarantee a particular future outcome. 

      With proper etiquette, and general courtesy to those concerned by our form of recreation, we do not believe legitimate and contextually appropriate naturism should cause any legal problems.  The law will likely fail to be on our side if we are disrespectful or confrontational with our nudity.  Failure to comply with law enforcement requests can also result in undesirable outcomes.

      Calgary Nude Recreation looks forward to practicing naturism in ways we believe are already allowed by law, which can help advance the cultural issues surrounding social nudity and help promote the values of body-positivity and self-expression.  We appreciate all those who join us in our advocacy efforts.  We are changing Canadian culture for the better, and having fun doing it.  Thank you for being a part of it!

      Appendix: Select cases & articles reviewed in developing this opinion

      R. v. Coldin, [2012] O.J. No. 1009

      R. v. Benolkin, [1977] S.J. No. 211

      R. v. Shaver, 2019 ONCJ 269

      R. v. Verrette, [1978] 2 SCR 838

      Recent nudity cases where charges have not been laid under s.174: 



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