A controversial nude advocacy group operating out of Calgary is putting on a clothing-optional wave pool event this week, more than a year after much public outcry over a similar planned event.
Calgary Nude Recreation has booked out a facility that includes a wave pool, hot tub, steam room, water slides and a rope swing for the event set to take place on July 7.
An event organizer who goes by the name Naked Jeff told Global news the group is “all about body-positive values and encouraging people to be comfortable in their own skin.”
Jeff also said his group believes people have the right to be shameless about themselves and be respected “regardless of what they are or aren’t wearing.”
In January 2018, Calgary Nude Recreation cancelled their first planned major swim event at the Southland Leisure Centre after the facility received a volatile threat that caused safety concerns. Petitions against the event also circulated on Facebook in the days leading up to the cancellation.
Jeff said even though the January event had to be cancelled, they have held monthly events since without seeing any threats.
“I think if it happened again we would see a similar level of support,” he added. “So it’s not a concern of ours.”
WATCH (Jan. 2018): Volatile threats force City of Calgary to cancel nude swim. Jill Croteau reports.
The threat and subsequent cancellation led Calgary Nude Recreation to successfully seek a policy change and become an official nude advocacy group. They are now leaders in nude advocacy in Canada and put on other events such as nude hikes in the Rocky Mountains.
Jeff said the biggest misunderstanding is people assume nudity and sexuality must go together, but in reality, the events are entirely non-sexual and more akin to the norms of public pools.
“There is certainly a lot of misunderstanding about what we are all about,” he said. “When people don’t know about something it is easy to be afraid of it.”
That’s why this event, and many of the group’s other events, are “clothing-optional.” Jeff went on to say that Calgary Nude Recreation does recognize “being naked around others can be quite frightening for people. And sometimes people need to see things for themselves to understand it better.”
Their goal is to encourage people to come and check out the events in a safe way without having to make a big commitment before being sure they want to.
“The reality is, if most people saw the average person naked or groups of average people naked, they would realize that their bodies, their imperfections and their flaws, are actually incredibly normal. When people realize this then they could let go of the shame our culture forces us to carry,” Jeff said.
“It can be euphoric, it can be a very invigorating experience to finally set that down.”
Tickets for this event are $20 for members or $25 for guests of members. The location of the event is being kept secret from anyone who is not a member; members and guests of members will find out the location upon purchasing a ticket.
— With files from Aaron Tell