Volume 93, Issue 4

Wednesday, May 28, 1999


NEWS

Senate revisions disable confusion

Western removes toxic substance

Post-secondary funding, taxes fuel debate

London population grows stagnant

OSAP repayment plan gets facelift

Birthday suits now welcome in mega city

Public suports more funding

Briefs

Stuff

In the city

Birthday suits now welcome in mega city



By Stephanie Cesca
Gazette Staff

Sun screen will be a hot item in Toronto this summer thanks to an organization called Totally Naked Toronto!MEN which has won the right to open the mega city's first clothing-optional beach.

Barry Birnberg, co-founder of TNT!MEN, said although the group is a gay and lesbian organization, the beach is not intended to be strictly homosexual and will be open to heterosexuals as well.

"All naturists have wanted it for a long time," said Stephane Deschenes, media relations director for the Federation of Canadian Naturists. He explained the new beach, called Hanlan's Point, is located on the west end of Centre Island in Toronto and is predicted to be very successful.

With respect to community feedback about the beach, Deschenes said there presently isn't any opposition. "The vast, vast, vast majority are in favour of it or indifferent."

Deschenes said the opening of Hanlan's point follows a European pattern, accepting the concept of nudity as a natural aspect of life. "We're following the same evolution," he said. "Once you get into it you realize and accept your body the way it is. What comes with it is acceptance and confidence."

Birnberg said although Hanlan's Point is presently a pilot project for the summer months, he is hoping the Toronto city council will decide to make it permanent after the trial summer is evaluated. "We're all pulling very hard together to make this happen," he said.

Peter Simm, co-founder of TNT!MEN, said he was the brain behind Hanlan's Point as he wrote and presented a 40-page brief to Toronto's city council, which amounted to 180 hours of work. "I worked on the brief for eight months and I submitted it to the council," he said. "I was very pleased by the support by the council."

"They brought [the proposal] six months ago through committee and it went through fine," said Doug Reid, media relations officer for the City of Toronto. "It was passed by a substantial majority."

Birnberg said if Hanlan's Point remains a permanent location for legal nudity, a door could open in Toronto's tourism department. "We're sure it's going to attract tourism," he said. "We do expect in the next few years 5,000 people will come to the beach on the weekends."

Birnberg added Mr. Totally Naked Toronto '99 will be chosen tomorrow and the winner will promote Hanlan's Point by making guest appearances at the beach. "It's a great deal of fun," he said.

Jim Lee, New Democratic Party Leader for the Lambton-Kent-Middlesex riding, which governs Grand Bend and its beach, said he would not like to see his beach go nude.

"Personally, I have a problem with it," he said. "But understand this. It's the people who tell me what they want."

Lee said if the community supported a clothing-optional beach, he would look into making that a possibility. "If the people in this riding wanted it, it would go."






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Copyright The Gazette 1999