Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Bare Oaks Players Auditions

The Bare Oaks Players are holding auditions for the 2015 season - by appointment only. Call 905-473-6465 or email bop@bareoaks.ca (preferred).

To audition, you need to have a piece prepared to present to the 3 Directors (Royce, Marc and Judy) that is not from the current playbill. It’s OK not to have it memorized and it should not be more than 4 minutes long.

Dates currently available:
  • Thursday April 30th @ 7:00pm. 7:30pm, 8:00pm and 8:30pm
  • Saturday May 2nd @ 10:00am, 10:30am, 11:00am, 2:00pm, 2:30pm, 3:00pm
  • Sunday May 3rd @ 2:00pm, 2:30pm, 3:00pm
  • Thursday May 7th @ 7:00pm. 7:30pm, 8:00pm and 8:30pm
  • Saturday May 9th @ 10:00am, 10:30am, 11:00am, 2:00pm, 2:30pm, 3:00pm
  • Sunday May 10th @ 2:00pm, 2:30pm, 3:00pm
To see the playbill for 2015, visit the B.O.P. Blog. (you can also subscribe to receive their updates)

The Bare Oaks Players is an independent group of Bare Oaks members who share their a love for  theater and produce live performances.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Volunteer Day and Member's Meeting - Saturday May 2

Naturist Volunteers
It's time again for our annual volunteer day. While there are many people volunteering all year, this is the day we set aside for a massive volunteer effort to get things ready for the season. We are told that it is also a fun day that many people look forward to. A big thank you to the multitude of people willing to give up their time to make Bare Oaks Family Naturist Park a better place.

Volunteer Day -  Saturday May 2, 2015

10am to 3pm

  • Everyone is welcome! Lunch will be provided, free of charge, for all volunteers.
  • Jobs vary from laying screening on pathways, to deconstruction of cabana, to building a ramp on the deck, to weeding the mini putt.
  • There will be projects suitable for all abilities and levels of ambition.
  • Non-members who volunteer will not be charged any day fees. (please register at the office)

4pm to 5:30pm – Members' Meeting

All members are invited to come and get an update on what's happening at Bare Oaks Family Naturist Park and ask questions.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Long-term Campsite Policy Change

We are sorry to announce that, effective immediately, we will no longer be assigning long-term campsites. The waiting list has been discontinued. Any long-term site that is relinquished will become a short-term campsite. All projects that contribute to making campsites more usable for long-term stays have been stopped. Members with an existing long-term agreement will still be allowed to sell their trailer with the site if the new site-holders qualify for membership. But any potential purchaser will be subject to increased scrutiny.

The reason for this is that an individual, with the assistance of a few members, has made long-term campsites unsustainable.

How we got here is astonishing and almost unbelievable:
  1. In the spring of 2013, Mr. X first came for a visit. Through the early summer of 2014, he made a few short stays. He seemed quiet and relatively well-behaved.
  2. In August of 2013 he applied for membership and asked for a long-term campsite. Because none were available, he asked to be placed on the waiting list and took an unserviced campsite. We confirmed that he had a permanent residence and he agreed, like everyone else,  to use his campsite only for recreational purposes.
  3. In the late summer and fall of 2013, we received a number of complaints about his behaviour. Through the winter of 2013-2014, it became obvious that he was using his RV as his permanent residence.
  4. In the spring of 2014, we informed Mr. X that we would not be renewing his campsite. He asked for a weeks to make alternate arrangements and we agreed.
  5. After seeing two promised departure dates pass, we served Mr. X with a no trespass notice. When he still refused to leave, we called the police to have him removed. When the police arrived, the claimed protection under the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA).
  6. We were surprised given that we are very clear about the nature of Bare Oaks as a campground and that the RTA specifically excludes campgrounds. However, the police were unsure so they left it to us to clarify the situation with the Landlord Tenant Board (LTB).
  7. We filed with the LTB and received a hearing date four weeks later. We hired one of the two top RTA lawyers in Ontario to put together the argument.
  8. On the day of the hearing, we were surprised to see members Y and Z present with Mr. X. In fact, he did not speak. Member Y did all of the speaking for him and presented a rather misleading interpretation of the situation at Bare Oaks. Even more surprising, the adjudicator did not seem particularly interested in hearing our lawyer's arguments. She asked a lot of questions and issued a temporary order giving Mr. X full access to all facilities while she made her decision.
  9. Nearly 4 weeks later, she issued an order giving Mr. X the full protection of the RTA and separated his campsite from membership. (over which she admitted the RTA has no authority) So effectively, Mr. X had the use of his campsite but no other facility because we withdrew his membership privileges.
  10. Our lawyer was astounded and we immediately filed an appeal with the LTB because he saw so many errors in law. But in an even more bewildering decision, the LTB denied our opportunity to appeal. We then filed an appeal with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. But having already spent thousands of dollars in legal fees and with an estimate from our lawyer of $20,000 to $30,000 and no guarantee of winning, we decided that abandoning the appeal was the most fiscally prudent direction.
  11. We were hoping that Mr. X would leave as soon as he could afford it given that his RV is not very comfortable in the winter. Unfortunately, member Y provided him with a much more comfortable place to live over the winter.
What does protection of the RTA means to Mr. X? It means that he can only be evicted if he fails to pay his "rent" or if he violates the law while on the property. He can be as rude as he wants. He can make statements and suggestions to women that are completely inconsistent with naturist principles. He can even do illegal things as long as he doesn't get caught and convicted for them.

But it is important to understand that he is also limited to his campsite, the road leading to it, the use of washrooms/showers and the office for administrative purposes. The LTB has stated that they have no jurisdiction on membership so it has been withdrawn. He has no legal access to the pool, saunas, hot tub, beach, outback, clubhouse, restaurant, etc...

Additionally, the LTB decision only applies to Mr. X. It is not biding on the park in general. But nothing prevents others from making similar claims. Given the experience of other campgrounds, not everyone would win but it is possible that some could have successes similar to Mr. X. He is not the first person to turn a campsite into a residence protected by the RTA. It all depends on the LTB adjudicator you get and how they interpret the RTA definitions.

For the benefit and enjoyment of everyone at Bare Oaks Family Naturist Park, we need to be able to easily and quickly enforce our rules. We need to ensure that we only include those who support naturist values. We need to be able to swiftly exclude individuals who make others uncomfortable or take away from the enjoyment of the park by others.

We have not given up. We are working on a number of solutions to ensure that we can maintain our naturist environment. This first step is hopefully a temporary one while we work on other solutions that will take a bit more time.

We apologize for bothering everyone with this issue. Normally, we deal with problem individuals quietly and directly. Members and visitors come to Bare Oaks to get away from life's problems and live the naturist life. They don't want to worry about operational issues and we do our best to insulate them from problems. Unfortunately, the current situation requires us to act in a manner that will have a negative impact on many people. We are truly sorry that it has come to this.

Photo by Amy Messere used under Creative Commons License.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

See Nude Art Nude

Nude painting of a woman sitting
Bare Oaks Family Naturist Park has worked with THEMUSEUM to organize a clothes-free evening in the Getting Naked exhibit of nude art on Friday, March 27, 2015 from 7pm to 10pm. You can buy your tickets here. If you want to use Facebook to invite others, here is the event. If you prefer Google+, here is the event.

By being nude themselves, the viewers will experience an atypical relationship with the art. No longer in a position of being a mere voyeurs, the exhibit guests will become part of the works themselves as they explore their own feelings in relation to the artists’ intent.

THEMUSEUM in downtown Kitchener, Ontario put together this special exhibit to showcase some of the all-but-forgotten nudes, unclothed and naked pieces of art in the Canadian Art Council Art Bank’s collection. Many of the artists are recognized Canadian icons, well known for other works, however the nudes have remained rarely seen.

Victoria Henry, Canadian Art Bank Director, wants to see these pieces displayed. But she says that “no one has had the courage to show the works until David Marskell of THEMUSEUM enthusiastically agreed.”

Marskell, who is CEO of THEMUSEUM, wants to take the discussion beyond the art. That is why he said that they are going “to pair the exhibit with discussion around nudity and culture.”

“Since its rebranding and evolution over the last several years, THEMUSEUM has made its mark in establishing itself as an organization that is not afraid to make bold choices,” says Virginia Eichhorn, Getting Naked Curator. She also says that “it seems surprising that here, in 2015, we can be made so uncomfortable with seeing a bit of skin. Why is that? Getting Naked sets out to answer that question as well as to provide examples of the enduring power of the human figure, in all its naked glory, as a powerful purveyor of meaning and representation of many ways and states of being.”

The Getting Naked exhibit opens March 7th, 2015 and runs through May. But there will only be ONE opportunity for to be nude while viewing the nude art – March 27th from 7pm to 10pm

The nude event is part of the Naked Dialogues. There are a number of very interesting events:

Wednesday March 18, 2015
Documentary – Killing Us Softly: Advertising’s Image of Women
This documentary shows how women are portrayed in advertising, specifically the over sexulization, negative stereotypes of body images, and objectification. It gives a critical overview of the advertising world's treatment of women.
Runtime: 45 minutes
6:30pm – Included with price of admission

Sunday, March 22, 2015
Many Shades of Naked: Food in Waterloo Region
Andrew Coppolino, writer/broadcaster | Food columnist with CBC Radio Waterloo Region, Kitchener Post and Rogers TV Grand River Living.
This session will, in a deliciously voyeuristic way, look at the many shades of naked food and naked eating in Waterloo Region from nakedness that Schmecks to eating in the raw.
1:30pm – Admission is free with a suggested donation of $5.00

Friday, March 27, 2015
Naked in the Gallery – Experiencing the Artwork Unclothed
Presented by the Bare Oaks Family Naturist Park
By being nude themselves, the viewer experiences a different relationship with the art. No longer in a position of being a mere voyeur, the exhibit guest now becomes part of the work itself as they explore their own feelings in relation to the artist’s intent. Join us at THEMUSEUM for this unique, artistic experience. Visitors will arrive clothed and have the opportunity to undress in a safe, semi-private area, leaving behind the multitude of boundaries and restrictions clothing imposes on the body and individual. Visitors are invited to explore the exhibition at their own pace, admiring the art, conversing with one another and celebrating nakedness.
This event is open for all ages, children under 13 must be accompanied by a parent.
7:00pm – 10:00pm. $10.00 (including HST).

Sunday, March 29, 2015
Nudist, Naturist or Gymnosophist?
Stéphane Deschênes, Human Body Advocate
It is normal to be embarrassed, ashamed, and even offended by our own image. But over a century ago, some people began to think that this attitude was not natural. This talk will discuss the beginnings of the movement in the late 19th century, the various principles behind the beliefs, and its evolution over the last century as well as the current situation.
Please Note: The presentation contains vivid and honest images of all parts of the human body.
1:30pm – Admission is free with a suggested donation of $5.00

Wednesday April 1, 2015
Documentaries – Behind the Robe: The Faces of Nude Models
Life models are often at the heart of nude artwork. They pose for artists who interpret their figures into works of art, but are rarely acknowledged. Marshall Ward, a fine arts instructor, decided it was time for life model's stories to be told. His documentary explores the lives of two models, Ed Cz and Georgina Brown, and allows them to discuss their work, both intellectually and physically.
Runtime: 40 minutes
6:30pm – Included with price of admission

Wednesday April 8, 2015 
Documentaries – Fig Leaf: The Biggest Cover-up in History
This documentary explores the use of fig leaves to cover up nakedness in art pieces throughout history.
Runtime: 60 minutes
6:30pm – Included with price of admission

Sunday April 12, 2015
Not Always a Prude: The History of Nudity and Censorship in Hollywood Film
Philippa Gates, PhD - Professor in Film Studies – Wilfrid Laurier University
Today, the preconception we have of Classical Hollywood film is that it presented a sanitized “Leave it to Beaver” world where everyone abstained from sex until marriage and married couples never slept naked (or even together, for that matter!). While that might be true in films produced from the mid-1930s to the mid-1960s, before 1934, Hollywood relished in sex, adultery, and nudity. The history of Hollywood onscreen nudity is the history of film censorship. This talk will begin with a discussion of Hollywood’s “Pre-Code” films of the early 1930s that depicted sex and nudity with comfort and frequency, and then the impact of those depictions in terms of the rise of censorship. Decades later, when the system of self-censorship—the Production Code—was abandoned in the late 1960s in favor of a Ratings System, Hollywood film began once more to indulge in the depiction of sex and nudity to attract audiences. Today, producers are forced to debate whether to include shocking sex scenes in the hopes that they will raise the profile of the film and attract more movie-goers, or whether to leave sex and nudity on the cutting room floor to guarantee a broader audience. Despite the fact that, today, we regard ourselves as more liberal than our ancestors of almost a century ago, in this talk, I will show how Hollywood films of earlier decades were more comfortable and realistic in their depictions of nudity compared to film today.
1:30pm – Admission is free with a suggested donation of $5.00

Sunday April 19, 2015
The Reclining Nude: From Figure to Body
Joan Coutu, PhD, Bojana Videkanic, PhD
This two-part talk will address various aspects of 'the reclining nude' from the history of Western and non-Western art. We will survey aesthetic, art historical and socio-political contexts of the nude as it appeared in various public discourses.
1:30pm – Admission is free with a suggested donation of $5.00

Wednesday April 22, 2015
Naked Joy – A Live Performance Art Piece
Jessalyn Broadfoot, Jewels Krauss, Janice Lee, Shauna Thompson 
Four women explore the body, its strengths, its vulnerabilities, its oddities from the familiar to the absurd and with a constant aim to be present (stripped bare to the root of emotion) this physical performance piece asks "what does it look like to be joyfully naked?"
Please Note: This performance contains some nudity.
7:00pm – Included with price of admission

Sunday April 26, 2015
NUDE: Object vs. Subject
Jennifer Toole - Canadian-American Photographer
Jennifer Toole will delve into the epistemological quandary of subject vs. object as it relates to the creation and display of the female nude in contemporary art and culture. Following an exploration of the agency of the muse, sexual objectification, and the male gaze Jennifer will make a case for Individualism: an all-inclusive ideological space where the artistic nude will be free to evolve productively.
1:30pm – Admission is free with a suggested donation of $5.00

Sunday May 3, 2015
Naked in the Media
Moderator - Mike Tennant - Marketing consultant, multi-award-winning ad writer and bestselling co-author of The Age of Persuasion.
Neil Ballantyne – The Waterloo Regional Record 
Allison Leonard – Editor in Chief, The Community Edition, WLU
Check back for additional participants
Media, no matter the medium, is a tool for sharing information with the public. Whether it is current events or breaking news, the radio, newspapers, magazines, television, internet or the vast remaining collection of mass media outlets may offer us a view into the happenings of our world. But what kind of view is being shared? What lens is placed upon the information that we intake, who decides what we see and why? When it comes to the topic of nakedness and nudity in the media, how, if at all, is the information communicated? Award-winning ad writer and bestselling co-author, Mike Tennant, will host a media panel of industry experts, igniting discussions on the topics of censorship, private versus public, marketing strategies, naked versus nude, scandals and more.
1:30pm – Admission is free with a suggested donation of $5.00

Wednesday May 6, 2015
Life Drawing Workshop Presented by Button Factory Arts
There is no other subject as dynamic and compelling as the human figure. Join us in a self-directed life drawing experience, no formal instruction will take place but a professional instructor will be present to help you with any questions or make suggestions. All skill levels will have the opportunity to draw from a live nude model, while gaining an intuitive understanding of the human form. Explore quick gestures (30 seconds to 5 minutes) and more complex poses (15 minutes and up).
Please Note: Easels will be provided. Supplies are entirely up to the participant to bring: drawing boards, paper, pencils, erasers, charcoal, pastels, colour pencils, watercolour etc.
7:00pm – 9:00pm. $20.00 (including HST). Please pre-register in advance

Wednesday May 13, 2015
Life Drawing Workshop Presented by Button Factory Arts
There is no other subject as dynamic and compelling as the human figure. Join us in a self-directed life drawing experience, no formal instruction will take place but a professional instructor will be present to help you with any questions or make suggestions. All skill levels will have the opportunity to draw from a live nude model, while gaining an intuitive understanding of the human form. Explore quick gestures (30 seconds to 5 minutes) and more complex poses (15 minutes and up).
Please Note: Easels will be provided. Supplies are entirely up to the participant to bring: drawing boards, paper, pencils, erasers, charcoal, pastels, colour pencils, watercolour etc.
7:00pm – 9:00pm. $20.00 (including HST). Please pre-register in advance

More details on the Getting Naked exhibit can be found here: www.themuseum.ca/exhibition/opening-getting-naked-exhibition

After Naked in the Gallery, you are invited to socialize downstairs (clothed) at Imbibe: www.imbibefooddrink.ca

There are a number of hotels in the area if you want to stay overnight: www.themuseum.ca/planning-your-day

Photo: Painting by Glenn Howarth titled "Portrait of Laura No. 1" (1973)

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Charlie Hebdo and Naturism

 As we reflect on the horrible events in Paris, we may not think that there are any implications for naturism. Yet there are. Certainly, nobody is killing us for our beliefs. Nor are any naturists turning violent against those who oppose us. But at the core of the Charlie Hebdo event is the concept of offence. That is the same notion that is used to justify restricting your right to sunbathe clothing-free at the beach, in the park or even in your backyard at home.

The news media is debating whether to show the latest cover of Charlie Hebdo because it depicts the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Many have censored it and justify their decision by saying that it is offensive to Muslims. It probably is offensive to many and it is unfortunate that people will be upset. But how far do we go? Some vegetarians are probably offended at seeing images of meat. Does that mean McDonald's should not advertise their hamburgers? Some people are offended at seeing two men kiss. Some may be offended at seeing women wearing a short skirt. Where does that end?

Blasphemy and offence only exist when people who consider the ideas, words or images being expressed as blasphemous and offensive. These are not universal values. What offends one person is meaningless to someone else. For example, the French word for a seal is "phoque". (when pronounced the French way it sounds exactly like the f-word) Spoken out loud in an English environment, it is a highly offensive word which would upset many. But in French, it is an innocent word spoken by young children and their parents when they go to the zoo.

Fundamentally, we should not prevent people from saying and doing things that don't impact the liberty of others – even if it is offensive to some. To a naturist, being nude is natural. It does not impact anyone else other than causing offence to some.

The big story is the intolerance, extremism, and violence of a few emotionally disturbed individuals who were led astray by evil people. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families and friends. The public discourse has been about free speech. But it should also be about freedom in general. If it does not limit someone else's freedom, what a person says, does or wears should not be subject to restrictions just because it might offends others. Offence is very personal and should stay that way in a free and democratic society.

"Qui s'offense facilement découvre ses points faibles."
Étienne-François de Vernage ; Maximes et réflexions (1690)
[One who is easily offended reveals their weaknesses.]

Sunday, 28 December 2014

The Passing of a Naturist Icon

Photo of Christiane Lecocq at the CHM Montalivet by Guy Rusca

The French naturist federation (Fédération française de Naturisme or FFN) posted the following yesterday:
It is with deep sadness that the Fédération française de Naturisme has learned of the passing of Christiane Lecoq at the retirement home in Chatou (Yvelines), on Wednesday December 24. The funeral will be held on Friday January 2, 2015 at the Notre-Dame de Chatou church (Yvelines), place Ste Marie at 11h00 followed by the interment at the Carrières-sur-Seine cemetery where she will join her late husband, Albert Lecocq.

This news sends into mourning the naturist movement not just in France but worldwide. In fact, this venerable resident of Carrières-sur-Seine, native of Tourcoing, 103 year old (she was born April 6 1911), founded with her husband, Albert Lecocq, the Fédération française de Naturisme on February 19, 1950 and the International Naturist Federation in 1953.

Aside from the creation of these two organizations that impact naturists around the world, Christiane Lecocq and her husband worked on the development of naturist values and their promotion. Notably, they created the sun club of Carrières-sur-Seine, the first sun and sea site in Montalivet, and then there was the first large naturist site at Île-de-France in Saint-Chéron…

It is also Albert and Christiane who created in 1949 the first national, specialized magazine, La Vie au Soleil, which is still published today. After having retaken the management in 1969, Christiane Lecocq continued the work that had been hers since the 1940s. "I remember Christiane very clearly who was my boss at La Vie au Soleil. She was a woman who was not afraid to speak up, proud of her convictions" remembers Yves Leclerc, vice-president of the French federation.

It was with pride that Christinae Lecocq attended every year the annual general meeting of the French federation of which she was honorary president and where she recently celebrated her centennial.

"If France is today the top naturist destination in the world, with 3.5 million followers, 1.5 million from France, she cannot deny that it is largely due to her!" added Armand Jamier, president of the Fédération française de Naturisme.

The development of the naturist movement in relation to the Lecocqs - key dates

April 6, 1911: Birth of Christiane at Tourcoing.

1932: Christiane discovers naturism through sport at the Club Gymnique du Nord, Fort de Seclin, near Lille. She meets Albert Lecocq.

October 28, 1933: Albert and Christiane Lecocq are married.

1944: Christiane and Albert create, in secrecy, the first sun club. In 1945, they settle in Carrières-sur-Seine and create the sun club of Carrières, which becomes the unavoidable location for national and international meetings.

1949: In order to provide the naturist movement with a method of communication, the Lecocqs create the magazine La Vie au Soleil. For 60 years it remained the leading publication of the naturist movement.

February 19, 1950: Christiane and Albert create the Fédération Française de Naturisme and establish the concepts of naturism.

July 23, 1950: They create the Centre héliomarin (CHM) in Montalivet.

1953: Christiane and Albert create the International Naturist Federation to bring together all the federations which have developed in several European countries. [Editor's note: the founding countries actually included more than Europe. The minutes of the 1st INF congress list the following 9 founding countries: Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Netherlands, France, UK, Canada and the USA.]

1969: Death of Albert Lecocq. 

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Nude Volleyball Tournament - January 3rd

What do real Canadians do in the winter?  Take off all their clothes and play nude volleyball of course!
The 8th Annual Holiday Indoor Nude Volleyball Tournament will be taking place this year on January 3rd at Spikes in London, Ontario.  The price will be $15 per person for both players and spectators.  Families with children under 18 will be $30.  Spikes has 4 sand courts.  Courts will be divided up by level of play.  Levels are A, B, Novice Plus and Novice.  The A and B level will be playing a 6=4 on 4 format.  The Novice and Novice Plus levels will be playing a 6 on 6 format.  Registration will start at 9am and game play will start at 9:30am.  So please arrive at 9am sharp!

This year the swim will be followed by a nude swim at Chelsey Park at 312 Oxford Street West from 7pm-8pm.  The facilities also includes a sauna and a hot tub. 

Those who are interested in further evening activities, people will be meeting at Robinson Hall/Thorny Devil restaurant and night club after 8pm 398 Talbot St.  Get there by 9pm to avoid the lines.  Sorry, we have to keep our clothes on for this event.

Please contact Peter Allison at volleyball@BareOaks.ca for more details.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Winter activities

While things are much quieter at Bare Oaks in the winter, we are still open almost every day. Hot tub, sauna, billiards, table tennis, darts, or just hanging out by the fireplace may seem like the obvious activities. But the outdoors are beautiful in the winter too!

Thanks to Wendy and Kim, we now have about 2.5 km of snowshoe trail set for the active part of the membership and interested day visitors. Hopefully the mild weather won’t impact the trails too much.

Trails loop around both ponds, lake and of course traverse the Bush Bunny trail in the forest. These can also double as cross-country ski trails and once frozen in they will make great walking trail for folks. 

And..... if the weather holds on the “not too cold side” of things and it’s sunny, all this could be enjoyed au naturel.

Kim and Melissa are also planning an ice rink built and maintained by the members. But visitors are welcome to use it as well.

So don't just hibernate all winter, come on out and enjoy a breath of fresh air in nature!

Happy Holidays to all!!

Thursday, 20 November 2014

My experience in naturism as a woman and a feminist

“But what about creepy men?” It’s the question I get asked most frequently by men and women alike when I say I work in a naturist resort. I typically reply that I could get as much creepy attention from men working at a Starbucks, and probably more. Yes, from time to time there will be a fella, almost never a woman, who makes a gesture or a comment that makes me very conscious of my body. But in my experience, it happens less often when I’m at work than it does on the street.

For example, after one of my first shifts at Bare Oaks I went home to my neighbourhood in downtown Toronto, and was on a trip to the grocery store when, not once but twice on a twenty minute walk, the male passengers of passing vehicles hung their heads out the window and cat called me. I was wearing short shorts, and I felt self conscious. On the same trip to the store I was stared at repeatedly, and started to think that maybe I had something stuck to my butt. Nope, just a woman in shorts showing leg. I actually asked my husband if I was too fat to be wearing those shorts when I got home. Maybe that’s why everyone was staring at me? I could describe the way it made me feel as being “naked”, but really, it made me feel vulnerable. When I really am naked, I never feel so ashamed, so exposed, or taken advantage of.

When I’m at work and something uncomfortable happens, in fact, I actually don’t feel ashamed. I feel certain that the other person is acting inappropriately. I’ve done nothing wrong. They’re the one’s who are being creepy. And it’s strange that I can’t feel that way in the “textile” world, isn’t it?

In the textile world I have to wonder what I’ve done to bring on this behaviour. In the story above I mentioned that I was wearing short shorts. Does that make it my fault that I was catcalled? Does that mean I deserved to be made to feel uncomfortable? I sure hope not, but in the end, that must be how many people see it. I imagine that the men who made comments to me in the street thought their behaviour was innocent. I try to think the best of people, so I imagine they didn’t expect me to break out in a nervous sweat and wonder if there was something I was doing wrong, or feel that I’d put myself in a dangerous position. I imagine when they do the same thing to a woman out on the town in any situation they don’t realize she may be thinking “am I asking for rape?” Because, ideally, no woman is asking for rape. We all know that, right? But it’s been so ingrained in many of our heads that what we wear or how we behave might lead to unfavourable violent situations, when someone shows us too much attention it can sometimes send a woman into a spiral of anxiety. We know better. We should have known better.

And cat calling is one thing. Then there’s people who feel like they have to reach out and touch someone.

This summer World Pride was held in Toronto, and I was downtown enjoying the parade and the crowds, walking up Church Street, and thinking it was so damn hot I was maybe going to take my top off. Going topless is legal for women in Ontario and I’m not kidding, it was blistering hot. I had never taken advantage of the law before, and was nervously trying to amp myself up to just go ahead and get topless; it was Church Street after all and countless men were walking around completely in the nude. But before I summed up the courage, a young man walking past me in the opposite direction with his friend said “Yeah baby” and smacked my ass as he passed me. I was shocked that something so inappropriate could happen right in the middle of all the good vibes going on in the street, and I whipped around to glare at him. He laughed, put his hands up, and kept walking. I stood there, boiling with rage for a moment, looking around for someone to complain to. This man just groped me in the street. He felt like he should touch my body. Because, why? He thought I was attractive? So he turned me into a sex object, an actual object that he could touch when he wanted to, because he thought I was sexy. Needless to say, after that, I didn’t get the courage to take off my top.

At work, on the other hand, I have never been touched inappropriately. Even thinking of someone getting that far seems unbelievable. First of all, questions would have been raised and an individual who seemed to be exhibiting inappropriate behaviour from a distance would have been dealt with immediately. If anyone went as far as to touch someone against their wishes, well, lets just say bad shit would happen. They would find themselves faced with an entire community outraged, and they would know what they’d done was wrong. They’d be on the wrong side of things.

At work, I almost never feel sexualized. That weird tension when you know someone’s just talking to you because they’re trying to flirt, almost never happens. I never wonder if I look fat. I never wonder if anyone is judging my body. Fashion doesn’t matter. I always fit in with everyone else in skin, and I always stand out in my own way. I find it’s easier to talk to people without my clothes on. I find I am both more accepted and more accepting. Everything is out in the open, so anyone trying to figure anything out about me pretty much just has to listen to my words.

Some women feel they can’t leave the house without makeup on. Most of us would admit that this comes from cultural norms which obligate women to be attractive, appealing to look, at all times. I stopped wearing makeup when I was 21. I found the liquids, pastes, and powders were making me break out, and I was never very good at getting it all to look right. I still put it on, from time to time, for a night out, or a job interview, or sometimes just before I get into the shower because it’s fun. But I don’t make it part of my daily routine, and I find the time it would take me to do it every day isn’t worth it. That’s how I feel, and that’s not for everyone.

I look at taking my clothes off the same way. As much as our clothing can say a lot about us, I often worry that my clothes aren’t saying what I wish they would. I’m not good with fashion. In some situation I feel anxiety and stress about what I should wear, or the appropriateness of what I have on. Taking my clothes off can be like taking my makeup off. Like refusing to play the game of trying to look good to please other people. This is my body. This is how I look. Deal with it. I am happy with my body, and I’ve worked hard undoing years of teenaged programming to feel that way. I feel better in my skin than I do in the uncomfortable clothing that has gotten too big or too small as my body has changed, the clothing I can afford on a student budget. I just don’t understand what is so offensive about my body? Just for being a body.

I find feminism in naturism. I find equality. I find a place where I am not obligated to look the way anyone else looks, because it is very obvious, when it comes down to skin, that we are all different and there’s no use comparing. I find a place where sexualization and sexual harassment aren’t tolerated. I find a place where people look out for each other, take care of each other, and respect each other’s individuality and individual life experiences. These are all things I hadn’t expected to find in naturism, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised. When we loosen the grip of obligatory sexualization for a little while, beautiful things can blossom.

Alexis Beckett

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Municipal Election Candidates in East Gwillimbury

As we said in the October 1st blog, all Bare Oaks members with a long-term campsite are non-residential tenants under Ontario Municipal Elections Act and are therefore eligible to vote in East Gwillimbury. (visit the blog for instruction on how to vote)

We sent an email to all of the candidates in East Gwillimbury and asked them to send a paragraph or two (max. 1,000 characters) explaining why Bare Oaks members should vote for them. Below are the responses we received in the order we received them:

Tara Roy-DiClemente http://www.tarard.ca/
Councillor Candidate
Why Vote for Me?
1. I appreciate the value of having a facility like Bare Oaks in our community – through the visitor dollars, amenities and employment it provides.
2. For the past 4 years, I have been part of a Council team that has delivered historically low tax increases, eliminated debt, and increased reserves, all while enhancing municipal services like our library and fire department.
3. I am the only Councillor to post my expenses & voting record online.
4. I understand the pressures of growth and am committed to building safe, liveable neighbourhoods.
5. I listen to residents, I take action, and I get results.
6. I want Council meetings recorded, archived and broadcast online.
7. I do my research and am not afraid to ask tough questions.
8. I have the best attendance record on Council.
I invite you to visit my website www.tarard.ca, follow me on twitter @tarard or find me on Facebook for more information.

Marlene Johnston http://www.marlenejohnston.ca/
Councillor Candidate
I am respectfully asking Bare Oaks Family Naturist Park residents to choose Marlene Johnston as one of their choices for Councillor.  I have served on Council for many years, beginning in 1985.  I am proud that I was part of a Council that curtailed estate residential growth, thus protecting the most beautiful natural areas of our town before there were strong Provincial policies to assist with this.  I believe that growth should be confined to the four main villages and that natural wilderness areas should be cherished and enjoyed by all as you do at the park. 
I live by the attributes of good character, I am a team player with a proven record of encouraging others to be the best they can be, I am enthusiastic and I look forward to taking on the new challenges the future will bring.  www.marlenejohnston.ca

James R. Young http://www.thinkyoung.ca/
Councillor Candidate
I am excited to be running for Council in the upcoming municipal election in the Town of East Gwillimbury.  I was privileged to serve as Councillor from 1994-2000 and as Mayor from 2000-2010.  Nearing the end of that term, I decided it was time for a break to try new ventures and to focus on spending more time with my growing family.

My hope has always been to see our community progress in an orderly fashion.  I am deeply concerned that this is not happening.  It is important for all of us to know where our local and regional tax dollars are being spent and it is a must that we receive efficient and effective government at both levels.  I want to ensure that our Town Council is accountable and I want to advocate on behalf of all residents of the Town of East Gwillimbury.

I believe that the future of East Gwillimbury should not be dictated by the Development Industry.  Allow me to be YOUR voice by supporting me on October 27th. 

I respectfully ask that you "Think Young" once again.

Loralea Carruthers http://www.voteloralea.ca/
English Public School Trustee Candidate
Whether or not you have kids in school, make sure that you vote for Public School Trustee!

Public School Trustees are responsible for $1.3 Billion of your tax dollars every year! You need an experienced representative on the board making sure this money is spent in a responsible manner.
Vote for Experience you can Trust!

Vote for Loralea Carruthers for your Public School Trustee

Loralea has served as your Public School Board Trustee for the past 11 years and has brought the views and concerns of East Gwillimbury/W-S to every decision made at the School Board including advocating for 7 New Schools in the riding! Loralea has become a highly skilled and effective advocate for quality publicly funded education always putting student success and well-being first while ensuring a balanced and equitable budget. She is a long-time resident of the area and an effective advocate for students and taxpayers. To learn more about Loralea please visit www.VoteLoralea.ca

Your vote is important. Please vote for Loralea Carruthers.

Elizabeth Tracey
English Public School Trustee Candidate
I am a fair and hardworking person with the best interest of the community families at heart!

If elected I can help the parents and students have a better school experience by representing them and their concerns.
I have the time and motivation to dedicate to the position to help make the classrooms better with smaller class sizes, educational content review with parents by survey, etc.., better busing guidelines/boundaries and also dedicate time to families with special education needs and develop more day-time sports programs.

Many times students cannot focus or concentrate in the classroom and are told by the teachers go to the Doctor, go on medications, go to anger management,
go to a child psychologist and child psychiatrist, etc.. When sports can solve many of these stress & anxiety issues students have!!!
Boys on meds = Men on meds, And I do not agree with this for our population!

Therefore I want to help the parents and families that feel lost in the schools by their children having to sit still for many hours at a time, to implement physical movement activities within the day-time agenda and to also help the children with physical and learning disabilities to be more included by expanding special education. (the rest of the text has been deleted due to the 1,000 character limit)

William H. Petrie http://www.facebook.com/pages/William-H-Petrie/603826989735908?code=81921
English Public School Trustee Candidate 
Cool blog!
Good work in providing that. We need a bigger, better voting turn out to
keep our democracy thriving.
I am a concerned parent, former council assembly facilitator (City of Toronto) and
in touch with fellow parents as to the change that's needed to improve the system for our current and future students. My priorities are bussing issues, providing new modern thinking teachers to the system on a full time basis and addressing the concerns regarding upkeep and the building of new schools as it pertains to developers footing some of the costs. I don't believe that the current incumbent has her priorities straight when it comes to this position due to her obvious desire to further her own political career at the expense of this position (running in the Ontario election during the school term). I hope your members make the choice for change and vote for william.h.petrie, YRDSB English school trustee 2014.
Thank you for this opportunity

Virginia Hackson http://www.virginiahackson.ca/
Mayoral Candidate
The Town has made great progress this term with proven leadership.

We’ve kept tax increases to the lowest they’ve been in over two decades. We’ve increased our reserves by 18%. We continue to provide great services and we are debt-free.

I have created a new age of partnership. I have engaged many agencies and community groups work together for this Town and communication with residents is at an all-time high.

I have been your representative at York Region, Chair of the Conservation Authority, Chair of the Region’s Audit Committee, and I am a sitting member of the Police Services Board.

What have I accomplished? Low taxes, no debt, great services, open communication, new partnerships and managed growth with a focus on parks and trail systems.

You elect a Mayor to provide leadership at the Town, the Region, and  the Province. So who do you want to represent you – someone who says she would like to be a leader, or someone who is a proven leader and has the experience to show for it.

Jack Hauseman http://www.jackhauseman.com/
Councillor Candidate
Bare Oaks members should vote for me because as a five term Member of Council, successful businessman and financial manager, and proven community leader promoting teamwork, I have the experience, vision and commitment to effectively deal with the many growth related issues facing East Gwillimbury over the next four years and beyond.

My Goal is to create a lean, cost effective local government making best use of the property tax dollars residents entrust to us in the delivery of quality municipal services, to stand up to the development industry by supporting our Official Plan which preserves our municipal identity as a Town offering our residents a choice of different urban and rural lifestyles and takes advantage of the benefits of growth on our terms, building complete communities, a balance of both residential and industrial and commercial growth, while protecting our rural and environmentally sensitive areas from any further development and promoting a bright future for East Gwillimbury.

On October 27th, 2014 elect JACK HAUSEMAN Councillor


Caroline Bourret
Trustee Candidate: Conseil Scolaire de district catholique Centre-Sud
(1,000 character limit allowed to exceed due to bilingual response)
Merci de cette opportunité de m'exprimer en français d'abord et en anglais ensuite:

C'est à la suggestion de quelques parents d'élèves qui fréquentent l'école de ma fille que j'ai décidé de me lancer dans cette aventure.  Je suis une femme d'affaires qui n'a pas la langue dans sa poche et qui ose dire tout haut ce que plusieurs pensent tout bas. Je dois admettre qu'en tant que recrue, je suis totalement prise au dépourvu par la quantité de courriels, solicitations, entrevues et autres qui résultent du processus électoral. Et je ne suis pas candidate à la mairie! 

Je ne fait pas de campagne, pas de publicité, en fait mon budget est 0$ et je suis très confortable avec cela!  Saviez-vous que les dépenses électorales peuvent être remboursées aux candidats selon le nombre de votes pour chaque candidats? Le résultat final est que c'est encore le payeur de taxe qui écope!  Mon expérience en tant qu'auditeure et vérificatrice aidera sûrement le conseil à améliorer la gestion des budgets et à amener de nouvelles idées sur la table.  Les gros chiffres ne me font pas peur, ça fait partie de mon travail normal.  Mon but ultime est d'être en mesure d'aider la communauté francophone à obtenir de meilleurs services scolaires dans la région de York.

I got involved in this campaign because some parents at my daughter's school suggested that I would make a good candidate. I am outspoken, straight to the point and as a business woman, I am used to deal with large numbers and budgets.   To tell you the truth, as a first time candidate, I am overwhelmed by the amount of email, communications, interviews that the election process involves! And this is not even for the mayor position!  I am not campaigning, I do not do any publicity or advertising, my motto is Zero budget.  Now that I am into it, it seems that it is all about the money! And the worst is that the campaign expenses are reimbursed based on the voting results.   It's all comes back to the taxpayer getting gouged again! As an auditor and forensic investigator by trade, I am sure I can assist the school board in managing the budget and bringing new ideas to insure better services for the York region francophone.

John Eaton http://www.johneatoneg.com/
Councillor Candidate
I have been a resident of East gwillimbury for 27 years. As your Councillor, I will continue to ensure the growth and land use decisions in our community are consistent with the “Official Plan” and that all components are addressed.  Council has the responsibility of a $34M budget and must respect the tax paying residents of EG by employing sound business principles. I believe strongly in a TEAM effort of staff and Council. My background as a Business Professional for 35 years and my ability to work successfully with people, determine their needs and then provide the solutions, provide me with the necessary skills and dedication to represent the residents of East Gwillimbury.  I will continue to address the KEY ISSUES expressed by the public: FINANCIAL STABILITY, CONTROLLED GROWTH, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT and GREEN SPACE PROTECTION.  I will work diligently for East Gwillimbury. Please RE-ELECT John Eaton as your first choice on Oct 27th.

Rae Bowie http://www.raebowie.ca/
Councillor Candidate
I am seeking a council position because I truly care about our town and its future.  I believe that a strong council is created when individual council members bring a diverse set of experiences and skills and each are committed to working together as a team.  My years of experience both as a volunteer and in my working life have taught me that the best solution to most issues are found through collaboration, open discussion and team work.
I am passionate about our town.  As a council member I will be committed to hearing your thoughts on issues and raising them at council and with staff, on your behalf.

My husband Ian and I arrived in Mount Albert almost 35 years ago.   We were drawn by the rural small town community charm of East Gwillimbury to raise our family.   Together Ian and I have owned  successful small businesses.  Currently Ian and partners operate the Rail Yard Wake Park in Mount Albert, which is attracting tourists from all over southern Ontario and creating local jobs.

As an Environmental Technologist by training, I understand the importance of preserving our natural environment and rural area.  As an East Gwillimbury councillor I will consider the impact of council decisions in order to safeguard our natural environment. (the rest of the text has been deleted due to the 1,000 character limit)

Robert Ritchie http://www.robertritchie.weebly.com/
English Public School Trustee Candidate
Thank you for your email. My initial reaction was to answer immediately but I wanted to wait until my website had been completed. Unfortunately, it is not finished but when it is I will email you the site address and your members can decide if they wish to visit.

To answer your question directly, I would not try to convince your members to vote for me or any other candidate.
I would encourage them to educate themselves on the candidates for the various positions and simply vote!

With respect to qualifications, I am a classroom teacher in the college system for almost 30 years. Although a different system, the principles of education are basically the same. To be honest, sometimes there is very little difference between 2nd year students and grade 2 students, especially when dealing with some males.....:)

I worked my way through University as a correctional officer in a number of different prisons. In some respects I value the education I received in those institutions as much as the one I received in school.

In closing, win or lose, I would be happy to come and address your community. When you view my website you will see that I can speak on a variety of topics. Thank you for being interested in the election.

Joe Persechini http://www.joep4eg.ca/
Councillor Candidate
My name is Joe Persechini, and I want to thank the
members of the Bare Oaks community for the
opportunity to address you and present my platform.
Once I am elected, my main priority will be to
manage the expected growth in
East Gwillimbury in a responsible and
sustainable way.
We need to ensure we keep a balance
between this growth explosion and the
preservation of the small town atmosphere,
which exists today and gives our community its
To maintain East Gwillimbury as the greatest
place to live and start a family with affordable
housing for seniors and young families.
To keep taxes in line with inflation and get the
best return for our tax dollars, while key
services are still provided.
Increased growth means more demands on
services, roads and recreational facilities, we
need to manage both properly.
I am confident that, with close to 40 years'
experience in business and community
involvement, I will make a positive impact and
help East Gwillimbury manage the expected
growth properly. Together we can build a
much stronger and more vibrant community.
On October 27th vote for Joe Persechini.
Thank you