May, 2015 / Author:

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Ah summer! The time of year we can finally shed our winter clothing and lounge around outdoors. For some, this means a trip to the beach to sport the latest swimsuit, or perhaps their birthday suit. Whatever your choice, Outwords has taken a look at beaches across Canada that are GLBT-friendly and often clothing-optional as well. While many other parts of the world have designated nude sunbathing areas, Canada lags far behind with only two officially recognized clothing- optional beaches, one in Vancouver and the other in Toronto. However, there are many other unofficial ones to be found, which we have highlighted below to help with your summer travel plans.

 

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Wreck Beach. Photo by Colin Roy

Wreck Beach

By far the best-known in Canada is Vancouver’s Wreck Beach, where hundreds if not thousands of sunbathers, many from the GLBT community, gather during the warm, summer months. It’s located within Pacific Spirit Regional Park at the conjunction of the Georgia Straight and Fraser River, just west of the city and close to the grounds of the University of British Columbia.

The sandy and rocky shoreline stretches approximately eight kilometres from Acadia Beach in Point Grey to Booming Grounds Creek and there are clearly marked signs indicating where to let it all hang out. There are several trails leading to the beach area, with the most popular being No. 6, where there are stairs with railings that lead down the steep slope. There are several official and unofficial vendors hawking their wares, from beach accessories to beverages, and there are always games of some sort being played. Wreck Beach is easily accessible by public transit from downtown.

Hanlan’s Point Beach

Hanlan’s Point Beach in Toronto has always been known as “the gay beach;” however, it only became officially recognized

as a clothing-optional beach in 2002. In recent years it’s become more known as “the nude beach” or “the party beach,” attracting all genders and sexualities willing to leave their inhibitions at home.

Outwords Ad June 2014-1The sandy one-kilometre stretch is on the western side of the Toronto Islands, meaning sun worshipers get the last remnants of rays beneath wonderful sunsets. It’s a bit of a trek to get there and involves taking a short 15-minute ferry ride across from the mainland harbour terminal, and then another 15-minute walk to the beach entrance.

There are plenty of beach activities taking place and in the past there have been stages set up for DJs, especially during Pride. This year, a new Toronto music event called Bestival will be taking over the beach the weekend of June 12 and 13, offering live music, DJs and other assorted performances. Bathers also can enjoy watching planes departing and landing at the nearby City Centre Airport. The area is also becoming popular with kiteboarders.

 

Crystal Crescent Beach

As for other unofficial GLBT- friendly beaches, we found some on the East Coast,
the Prairies and right here in Manitoba. Starting in the east, Crystal Crescent Beach is located in Sambro, approximately 30 kilometres south of Halifax within a provincial park, which is most likely the reason for it being unofficial. There are actually three separate beaches,
and like most places, the “alternative” one is always the furthest one away. Not much happens here on a regular basis in terms of events, but check in with Bluenose Naturists Club to see if they might have something planned.

Oka Park

Liberally minded Quebec has Montreal area’s Oka Park, affectionately known locally as Okapulco. It’s located on tiny Lac des Deux Montagnes, meaning the water is often suitable for swimming throughout the summer. Getting there from downtown can be quite a trek without a vehicle, but that’s part of the adventure, right? Public transit can get you to Vaudreuil and then farther to the ferry that crosses over to the national parkland. Left of the main family-friendly beach is where the party-like atmosphere begins. Keep the bond with nature going and bring a tent to spend the weekend at one of the treed campsites.

Paradise Beach & Cranberry Flats

Saskatchewan and Manitoba have clothing-optional beaches that are cleverly split into two separate sections, with one being more hetero and the other more homo. Paradise Beach is located a short distance from Saskatoon along the west side of South Saskatchewan River and is a family-friendly naturalist hangout, while across the river on the east side is the gay-friendly Cranberry Flats, which is actually the closest to the city at only 20 kilometres away. Both are quite popular on weekends, attracting a few hundred joyous individuals wanting to bare it all at “Bare Ass Beach,” as the locals often refer to Paradise.

 

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Beaconia Beach. Photos by Dylan Bekkering

Patricia & Beaconia

In Manitoba, less than an hour’s drive northeast of Winnipeg, Patricia and Beaconia beaches can be found along the shores of Lake Winnipeg. Similar to Saskatchewan, the two are separated by water, with Patricia being the more popular hangout for the mainstream crowds, while Beaconia is primarily for the GLBT sun lover.

Each is reached via a marked trail from the parking lot, where bathers will then find their beach of preference. Should one find themselves at the wrong beach, there’s always the option to wade across the lagoon to the other side. Both are fairly sedate, although weekends can get more crowded and noisier.

No matter where you are in Canada, our summer is short so let’s make the best of it. See you at the beach!

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Beaconia Beach. Photo by Doug Nicholson

 


–Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality.
He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats and being mesmerized by musical beats.

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