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 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
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, follow me on twitter @tarard or find me on Facebook for more information.

Marlene Johnston
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.

James R. Young
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
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

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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Vote Early and Vote Often

Photo courtesy of Elections Canada

Vote Often

October 27th is Election Day in all Ontario municipalities. Did you know that in municipal elections non-residents can also vote?  You can vote in any municipality where you own land or are a tenant. You can only have one residence but you can be a tenant in many ways such as a commercial property or a campsite.

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.

To vote, you need to be:
  • A Canadian Citizen
  • At least 18 years of age
  • A resident or tenant (or their spouse)
Many members are already registered and have received their voter card.

Why should you vote?

  • To show that we are part of the municipality and that we care
  • Because the opinion and needs of Bare Oaks members matter
  • Because your vote can make a difference. There are 139 potential voters at Bare Oaks. When you look at the 2010 results for East Gwillimbury, you can see that 139 votes could have a big impact.

How to Vote

To check if you are on the list, go here:
If you have not received a voter card, you are probably not on the list. So just:
  • Fill it out and take it with ID to the Civic Centre (Leslie St. & Mount Albert Rd.) on weekdays between 8:30am and 4:30pm. If you do this by October 21, you will be added to the voter's list.
    • Or you can simply take the form (with ID) to an advanced poll or to the polling station on election day (Oct.27) and present it there.

Vote Early

Even if you live far away, you can vote at one of the advanced polls. (some are on weekends) There are advanced polls on October 11, 14, 16, 18 and 21. A complete list is found here:

Know the candidates

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Paul Gauguin - Naturist Painter?

Paul Gauguin [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Two Nudes on a Tahitian Beach by Paul Gauguin
Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) was a leading Post-Impressionist painter. His peers included Vincent van Gogh and his work influenced other famous artists such as Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. It should be noted that he was hardly a model citizen. He gained notoriety for a lascivious and indulgent lifestyle.

He lived in Tahiti for the first time from 1891 to 1893. There he discovered casual nudity among the natives and spent time nude himself. From those experiences, he recounted an environment where the lack of clothing desexualized women and created more equal relationships between the genders. It is particularly interesting that he made these observations given that Gauguin was infamous for having relations with multiple young Tahitian women.

His observations are similar to the ones that are often heard today from naturists. That when people are free of clothing their attitudes change. The conversations are often more genuine and without pretense. We present our authentic self to others – not just physically but emotionally and spiritually as well.

From Noa Noa published in 1919 by Paul Gauguin:
(Translated by O. F. Theis)

Among peoples that go naked, as among animals, the difference between the sexes is less accentuated than in our climates. Thanks to our cinctures and corsets we have succeeded in making an artificial being out of woman. She is an anomaly, and Nature herself, obedient to the laws of heredity, aids us in complicating and enervating her. We carefully keep her in a state of nervous weakness and muscular inferiority, and in guarding her from fatigue, we take away from her possibilities of development. Thus modeled on a bizarre ideal of slenderness to which, strangely enough, we continue to adhere, our women have nothing in common with us, and this, perhaps, may not be without grave moral and social disadvantages.

On Tahiti the breezes from forest and sea strengthen the lungs, they broaden the shoulders and hips. Neither men nor women are sheltered from the rays of the sun nor the pebbles of the sea-shore. Together they engage in the same tasks with the same activity or the same indolence. There is something virile in the women and something feminine in the men.

This similarity of the sexes make their relations the easier. Their continual state of nakedness has kept their minds free from the dangerous pre-occupation with the "mystery" and from the excessive stress which among civilized people is laid upon the "happy accident" and the clandestine and sadistic colors of love. It has given their manners a natural innocence, a perfect purity. Man and woman are comrades, friends rather than lovers, dwelling together almost without cease, in pain as in pleasure, and even the very idea of vice is unknown to them.

Here is the original version in French:

Chez ces peuplades nues, comme chez les animaux, la différence entre les sexes est bien moins accentuée que dans nos climats. Grâce à nos artifices de ceintures et de corsets, nous avons réussi à faire de la femme un être factice, une anomalie que la nature elle-même, docile aux lois de l'hérédité, nous aide, sur le tard des races, à compliquer, à étioler, et que nous maintenons avec soin dans un état de faiblesse nerveuse et d'infériorité musculaire, en lui épargnant les fatigues, c'est à dire les occasions de développement. Ainsi modelées sur un bizarre idéal de gracilité—auquel nous restons, quant à nous, pratiquement, étrangers—nos femmes n'ont plus rien de commun avec nous, ce qui ne va peut-être pas sans de grades inconvénients moraux et sociaux.

A Tahiti, l'air de la mer et de la forêt fortifie tous les poumons, élargit toutes les épaules, toutes les hanches, et les rayons du soleil et les graviers de la plage n'épargnent pas plus les femmes que les hommes. Ils font ensemble les mêmes travaux, avec la même activité ou la même indolence. Quelque chose de viril est en elles, et, en eux, quelque chose de féminin.

Cette ressemblance des sexes facilite leurs relations, et la nudité perpétuelle, en écartant des esprits la préoccupation dangereuse du mystère, le prix qu'il prête aux "hasards heureux" et ces couleurs furtives ou sadiques de l'amour chez les civilisés, donne aux moeurs une innocence naturelle, une parfaite pureté. L'homme et la femme, étant des camarades, des amis autant que des amants, sont presque sans cesse, pour la peine comme pour le plaisir, associés, et la notion même du vice leur est interdite.

Friday, 1 August 2014

The Sarong: Destroyer of Naturist Worlds!

The following article was published in Canada's Going Natural, France's La Vie au Soleil, The Australian Naturist and New Zealand's Go Natural.

The Sarong: Destroyer of Naturist Worlds!

by Stéphane Deschênes in collaboration with Michel Vaïs

On a recent visit to a naturist resort in France, I was struck by the multitude of people wearing clothing away from the beach and pool (nudity was mandatory in those places). Women seemed to have a particular affinity for the sarong, also known as a wrap or pareo.

But naturism is a philosophy, not just a dress code for the beach or pool. So I decided to make some inquiries in order to better understand the reasons behind these sarongs.

Early explanations were about practicality: “I always have something to sit on.” But is it really more practical to carefully tie a sarong around the waist than to just casually drape it around your neck or over your shoulders? I also noted that most of these women carried some sort of bag that would easily have accommodated the thin sarong. Clearly, practicality didn’t seem like a valid rationale, so I persisted with my investigation.

When I discussed the topic in more depth, some admitted that they felt uncomfortable being nude while so many other women were covered up. We now see the reintroduction of clothing as a tool of embarrassment. That is consistent with the textile world, where the sarong is commonly worn for “modesty” to cover up a bathing suit.

Some explained that they felt more attractive wrapped in the colours and styles of the sarong. Here we see the reintroduction of body shame. One woman even said that she felt more “feminine” when wearing a sarong. Imagine believing that cloth is more feminine than your own body!

Of course, as so many women cover up, it is predictable that men would begin to feel some discomfort and embarrassment as well. So not surprisingly, shorts were very common among men—an item of clothing that, without a shirt, does nothing to keep the wearer warm.

Marc-Alain Descamps, the French social psychologist who wrote many treatises on naturism, said that “the reciprocal visual bestowal of complete nudity defuses the exhibitionist/voyeur relationship.”1, In other words, a nude person in front of dressed people may feel somewhat exhibitionistic and perceive them as voyeuristic. That creates an imbalance that results in emotional discomfort.

Another element of textile mentality is the provocative tease. While it may not be the intention of the woman wearing a sarong, that aspect quickly manifests itself. As she walks, her legs are intermittently exposed, and occasional glimpses of her hidden body are revealed through the wrap’s slit. As naturists know, and many textiles will agree, partial exposure is far more erotic than complete nudity.

While the majority of women wrapped the sarongs only around their waists, some were wrapping their entire bodies. This is clearly a sign of further expansion in the redevelopment of body shame.

Although nobody expressed any issues of social status, I suspect that it will eventually creep in as well (if it hasn’t already done so). Wearing the “right” sarong or demonstrating your wealth/status through more expensive designs/materials can’t be far behind.

It was not possible to determine how many had devolved back into a textile mentality versus those who had never achieved an enlightened naturist outlook. But clearly an environment where the people around you are generally dressed is not conducive to a successful adjustment by those who are new to the movement.

The sarong is like a virus from the textile world. On the surface, it appears innocuous. But as you can see, it can easily re-infect our minds with the negative attitudes towards the human body that we are fighting. It becomes a tool for shame, status, allure, and enticement. As naturists, we must be forever vigilant against these incursions from the outside world. We must recognize them and stop them before they destroy our worlds by making our philosophy meaningless.

Nudity is not the objective of naturism. But it is a fundamental tool to achieve the movement’s goals. Out of respect for others, we must make an effort to present our complete, authentic, and open self.

Original quote from the film Vivre Nu: “Le don visuel réciproque de la nudité intégrale désamorce le rapport exhibitionniste/voyeur.”

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

14% of Canadians are willing to join us

The results of the 2014 survey on Canadians’ experience and attitudes toward nudity and naturism are now available.

Identifying the size of the naturist movement has always been challenging. While it is easy to count visitors/members of Bare Oaks Family Naturist Park and other clubs, that represents only a small portion of participants. That question was first answered through a 1999 survey. But are the results still relevant a decade and a half later?

We wanted to update the data, determine trends, and reaffirm the original conclusions so Bare Oaks Family Naturist Park coordinated the efforts of the Federation of Canadian Naturists (FCN) and the Fédération Québécoise de naturisme (FQN). A new survey was commissioned using an Ipsos panel to ask a similar but more in depth set of questions. The survey was designed, implemented and interpreted by Mark Wilkins Communications.

The results show that interest in naturism is up from 1999. Here are some of the conclusions:
  • Just over 2-in-3 Canadians (69%) claim to have engaged in at least 1 of 6 naturist behaviours tested. The exact same proportion claim to be open to doing so in future. Experience and openness are notably stronger amongst males, and, regionally, Albertans compared to Canadians living elsewhere.
  • At roughly 6-in-10 overall, experience with sleeping in the nude and openness to doing so in future outstrips experience with and openness to other behaviours to a significant degree.
  • This is followed at close to 1-in-2 by experience with / openness to walking around one’s home in the nude.
  • At roughly 1-in-5, a third tier of experience and openness is represented by swimming in the nude (not in mixed company scoring higher than doing so in mixed company particularly when future behaviour is considered).
  • Finally, experience with visiting a naturist / nude beach of resort reside at roughly 1-in-20, but rises significantly to the 1-in-10 range when considering openness to doing so in future.
  • Regionally, Canadians demonstrate several noteworthy differences in their openness to various naturist behaviours:
    • Albertans have greater experience with and are more open to naturism in the home setting (sleeping, walking around) than Canadians elsewhere.
    • British Columbians and Ontarians lead the way in terms of experience with nude swimming, but Albertans show the greatest openness to consider doing so in future (both in unmixed and mixed company).
    • While British Columbians have the most experience with visiting nude beaches, Albertans and residents of the Prairie provinces are most open to doing so in future – and also lead in terms of openness to visiting a naturist resort in future.
  • Finally, while younger Canadians (< 25 years of age) have not to-date shown a greater proclivity to naturist behaviours (their experience being generally on par with that of Canadians aged 35+), they do demonstrate a higher openness to engaging in all in future (exception: sleeping in the nude, to which Canadians of all ages are roughly equivalent in terms of openness).
  • When we collapse across public behaviours (ie. swimming nude in mixed company or going to a naturist/nude beach or resort), we find that 1-in-5 (21%) Canadians have engaged in such behavior and that 1-in-4 (25%) are open to the idea in future.
You can read the complete survey at:

Photo taken during Spencer Tunick's installation work in Sydney by Nelly Xiao. Used with permission.