Toronto exposes other talents
By Ian Ross and Mark Brown
Bare breasts and exposed penises have found a home at the University of Toronto.
The Naturists Society, a university-ratified club organizing activities in the nude, is enjoying its inaugural year of exposure on the Toronto campus.
The club did not have any problem getting its ratification, said club founder Thomas Lundy. He added he just went through the appropriate channels and has not received a single complaint.
Lundy explained the club was not created as a spectator sport but is more about freedom of expression for students. He added the group has a strict policy. "No gawking rascals will be present at any of our events."
Jim Delaney, manager of liaison and campus life services at U of T, said the university administration also encountered no negative issues when the proposal for the club was brought forward.
"We are interested in freedom of association," Delaney said. "Our university policy promotes it."
The Naturists Society's first event was an evening of swimming at the campus pool in September, which was met with a high response.
"Swimming seemed to be the most natural thing to do first," Lundy said. He added over 40 people were in attendance and the positive feedback from the event has resulted in a scheduled nude swim on the third Friday of every month.
According to Lundy, the club intends to increase the number of different events it hosts with the next scheduled event being a nude volleyball tournament on Dec. 5. Other ideas which have been brought forward include a nude play sometime in the near future and possibly a spontaneous early morning run across U of T's campus.
"People think it is liberating. It's just people in their birthday suit it feels good," Lundy said.
The club has no official members so the events are advertised as open invitation and some fee may be charged depended on the event, Lundy added.
While the club seems to be booming in Toronto, the question of whether such a club could be established on the Western university campus has been met with serious doubts.
Melissa Cousineau, VP-student affairs for the University Students' Council, said Western's ethics and image would not support a naturist club on campus.
"I really can't see us ratifying such a thing. Not unless they were going to study nudity or go to colonies," Cousineau said. "Western is a far more conservative campus than Toronto."
Michelle Drury, assistant coordinator of membership services at Western's Campus Recreation, agreed with Cousineau. She said the policies set down for campus facilities would not permit such activities.
"We do have a policy against women going topless in our pool," Drury said. "So I can't see this naturalist thing flying down here." Drury added the pool in the University Community Centre has viewing windows that would create another issue of onlookers.