Calgary firefighters’ ‘Hot Stuff’ calendar officially retiring

Behind the scenes of the final 'Hot Stuff' calendar photo shoot benefiting the Calgary Firefighters Burn Treatment Society. Jill Croteau/Global News

For almost 36 years, a creative team has designed photo shoots to showcase bare-chested heroes.  The steamy snaps of buff bodies gracing glossy calendar pages were a staple for the fundraising efforts of the Calgary Firefighters Burn Treatment Society (CFBTS).

Calgary firefighter posing for the calendar. Jill Croteau/Global News

But the ‘Hot Stuff’ project may be a little too hot for the current times. CFBTS president Thomas Kerr says they wanted to end the fundraising initiative on their own terms before it was extinguished by critics.

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“Our product is no longer relevant,” admitted Kerr. “30 years is a long time. Today isn’t the 80s or 70s and we are going to produce a product for all of Calgary.”

Tara Walmsley, a firefighter who works for CFBTS and has also been showcased in the calendar, said the project has been a labour of love but understands the perception.

Tara Walmsley. Credit: Jessica Crandell Photography

“Society is changing and it’s not as welcome as it used to be.” Walmsley said. “People can’t post (the calendar) in their workplace. It generally gets hidden.”

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The plan is to evolve and broaden the base of support.

Firefighter ‘blows fire’ for photo shoot. Jill Croteau/Global News

“It is harder for big corporations to back it. They say: ‘We love your cause, but we don’t love the calendar it doesn’t fit with our values,'” Walmsley said. “Our hope is to bring it to be more inclusive for everyone. It doesn’t have to be a ladies’ night out thing.”

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Those who volunteer to pose for the pictures for the calendar are sad to see it come to an end. Firefighter Jason Bond says it’s been harmless fun and a good incentive to stay in shape.

A photo shoot outside the fire hall. Courtesy: CFBTS

“I don’t think we are objectified, it was everyone’s choice,” said Bond. “Also we are doing a lot for the charity.”

The team doesn’t want anything to compromise their efforts to support burn treatment programs. 100 per cent of the proceeds from the sale of the calendars supports burn survivors.

“When we listen to survivors talk and see them thrive, this is one of the most important things to donate funds toward,” Kerr said.

The CFBTS team is envisioning a signature event next year to replace the calendar.

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Volunteers posing for photo. Courtesy: CFBTS

“It is bittersweet. The return has waned in the last few years and that’s the bitter part, the sweet part is we are going to be bigger and better,” Kerr said.

The 2024 edition of the calendar, the last of the series, will be released this fall.

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