GROOMER ALERT: Toronto Skinny-Dipping Club Gives Free Memberships to Children

AP Photo/Dita Alangkara, File

It’s hard to imagine that such a thing is real, but a skinny-dipping club based in Toronto is raising eyebrows, not only because it allows children to join, but also because it incentivizes children to participate by offering them free memberships.


The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) Skinnydippers appears to be a real thing with an active Facebook page and everything. The website for the group features a cartoon of a naked family, including two children. I will not link to the page here.

According to the group’s code of conduct, "Children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult or guardian,” and the group plays plenty of lip service to frowning upon predatory activity. 

"We are aware that children can be fun and we all have a bit of childhood still in us,” the code of conduct reads. "However, children in general wish to play with other children, not adults. Please conduct yourself accordingly. We will not tolerate any questionable actions with regard to children. If you do not come with children, it is generally acknowledged that you do not play with the children."

Photography is allowed; however, it is by permission only. "If the individual is a minor, it is by permission of the child's parent or guardian." How exactly is that supposed to make it better?

There are more questionable details on the website’s FAQ:

Q. Am I considered a Youth and what do I/we pay? (25 and under)

A. Youth membership is free. As a single person between 19 & 25 you pay $5.00 for an event and as a couple you would pay $7.00. Price is based on the younger person in the couple.

It gets worse.

Q. I am18 yrs old (or younger), can I attend and how much would I pay?

A. Basically your [sic] pay nothing. It's FREE. (If you are under the age of 14 you must be accompanied by an adult 18 or older. If you fall between the age of 14 and 18, you are welcome to attend for FREE without a guardian.


Okay, so kids as young as 14 years old can attend without having a guardian? As if letting them in with a guardian would be bad enough, how can anyone say that opening its doors to children that young without parental supervision to swim naked around adults isn’t grooming and predatory?

And of course, change rooms are co-ed.

Q. How do the change rooms work?

A. All change rooms are co-ed. The men's change room is for anyone. The women's change room is reserved for single women and couples.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that the group boasts on its Facebook page that it participates in its local pride events. “Let’s normalize nudity together,” the group says in one post. Commenters have recently flooded the group’s Facebook page with angry comments blasting the group for obvious reasons.

According to section 174(1) of Canada's Criminal Code, being nude in a public place "without lawful excuse" is illegal. This includes nudity on private property if the person is visible to the public. However, authorities rarely enforce the statute. 

Indecent exposure charges can be brought if someone exposes their genitals to a person under 16, as outlined in section 173(1) of the Code. Those convicted of indecent exposure face a maximum penalty of two years' imprisonment, while fines are typically imposed for nudity if the case proceeds to prosecution.

How exactly does this group get away with this?

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