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At the Eastern edge of the city, near Lawrence Ave. and Kingston Road, lies a beach at the foot of Beachgrove Street. A part of this beach area is considered a “designated” nude beach.
Located near the Scarborough Pumping Station is the Scarborough Bluffs Beach. This is a fenced in area accessible only by a steep path and difficult to reach.
The most convenient clothing-optional beach is located on Toronto Island. Hanlan’s Point is accessible by the Island Ferry, from the ferry docks at the foot of Bay Street and Queen’s Quay.
The Toronto Islands saw their first nude beach in the 1920’s. In May of 1999, the southern portion of Hanlan’s Point Beach, was designated a clothing-optional area, by the city of Toronto. The city of Toronto Parks Department maintains the beach, with the usual amenities for a beach. The fenced in, “designated” beach area is clothing-optional. The remaining Hanlan’s Point Beach is not so designated and normal clothing is required.
Section 174 of the Criminal Code of Canada sets out the parameters concerning the issue of nudity.
1. Every one who, without lawful excuse, (a) is nude in a public place, or (b) is nude and exposed to public view while on private property “is guilty of an offence”
2. For the purpose of this section, a person is nude who is so clad as to offend against public decency or order.
3. No proceedings shall be commenced under this section without the consent of the Attorney General.
Although, it may appear, that nudity of itself, is an offence, subsection (3) establishes a pre-condition that the consent of the Attorney General must be obtained before any charges can be laid. Nudity, should not be confused with “indecency”, which is dealt with in Section 173 of the criminal code of Canada:
1. Everyone who willfully does an indecent act (a) in a public place in the presence of one or more persons, or (b) in any place, with intent thereby to insult or offend any person, is guilty of an offense punishable on summary conviction.
2. Every person who, in any place, for a sexual purpose, exposes his or her genital organs to a person who is under the age of fourteen years is guilty of an offense punishable on summary conviction.
The Federation of Canadian Naturists is an extensive organization coordinating activities of naturists. Naturists maintain clubs and publications throughout Canada and the world. Being “natural” on a beach is not for everyone; yet, for many of us this freedom represents a closer contact with nature, our fellow human beings and ourselves.