Toronto
2 min

No more sex

Official sanction will ruin nude beach for cruisers

Gay men will find that sex is off-limits if the city of Toronto officially okays a nude beach at Hanlans Point.



Lawyer Peter Simm warns that nudists who sate their sexual appetites behind a leafy bush under the sun “will find it’s no longer appropriate.”



On Fri, Apr 23, the city’s Department of Economic Development, Culture and Tourism will consider a proposal giving Hanlans Point beach a “clothing-optional” designation.



For years, the secluded strip of sand and shrubbery on Toronto Island has been popular among gay men and lesbians. It was the site for Toronto’s first gay Pride picnic in 1971. It’s also been a site where gay men have been arrested.



The proposal to seek official sanction is an initiative of the mainly gay Totally Naked Toronto Men Enjoying Nudity. Simm is making the pitch.



“The first time I visited Hanlans I was struck [by] how this great beach was almost completely empty on a hot summer day,” he says, adding that the surrounding foliage makes it an ideal beach for bare bums.



And from his almost 200 hours of research, Simm uncovered the fact that Hanlans Point beach was an official nude beach from 1894 to 1930.



In a 40-page report, Simm highlights the economic incentive for officially recognizing and promoting Hanlans as a hot spot for nudists.



“Toronto’s tourism and hotel revenues will grow substantially when the clothing-optional status of Hanlans Point Beach is restored,” he writes.



To support his economic claim, Simm looked to two other official “non-textile” sandbars – Vancouver’s Wreck Beach and Miami’s Haulover Beach. Each attracts up to 5,000 nudists on a hot day.



Simm also points out the city provides recreational facilities for other segments of the population, such as golfers and tennis players.



“Nude swimming and sunbathing are simply other forms of recreation,” he writes.



But the economic development department is reviewing the proposal as a policy initiative instead of as a business venture, says John Macintyre, a Parks And Recreation director.



“Is this an appropriate thing for the city to do,” Macintyre asks, refusing to comment further.



The proposal will go before city council during its May 11-13 sitting, spearheaded by Downtown Councillor Kyle Rae.



“Our aim is to have a beach that is welcoming to everyone, gay or straight,” says Simm. “I’m quite confident it wouldn’t be difficult to have them co-exist.”



Stephane Deschenes of the Federation Of Canadian Naturists, which is endorsing the idea, agrees.



“Most of the naturist beaches have a gay contingent. Sometimes it’s more integrated than others,” he says, while acknowledging homophobia does exists.



The economic development committee meeting is open to the public; it is scheduled for 11am on Fri, Apr 23 at City Hall (Queen St W at Bay). TNT MEN is at (416) 925-XTRA, xt 3010.