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Nude man with strategically place hat
Kaspars Grinvalds

Naturism! The Ultimate in Alberta Freedom

In a neighbourly Alberta manner, an Edmonton woman welcomes naturists to her newly acquired waterfront property

This week, record-breaking temperatures are predicted across the province. Calgary’s, Edmonton’s, and Lethbridge’s predicted highs on Wednesday, July 10, are 35C, 34C, and 36C, respectively.

It’s almost enough to make you want to rip your clothes off and head to the nearest beach!

And some Albertans are doing just that, stipping down to what nature gave them and tanning their backsides au naturel.

All good and fine if they do it in private, but what if it’s your neighbours donning fleshy folds or, worse, stripping down on your private beach?

One Edmonton woman experienced this after she recently bought a waterfront property and learned that it has an unofficial clothing-optional beach.

Say what?

Very Neighbourly

But like any good Albertan who believes in our provincial motto of Fortis et Liberstrong and free, instead of sending them packing, she rolled out the welcome mat.

“I’ve never been around a (nude beach) before,” Shelley told CTV Edmonton. “I decided to work together with them. (I) sectioned off a piece and let them have the lower parts.”

It makes sense. Let them enjoy the lower parts to expose their personal lower and upper parts to the northern Alberta summer sunshine.     

CTV News covered the story and agreed not to reveal last names and locations to protect privacy.

How this nude beach came to be is almost an accident. 

A guy named John discovered the spot on a weekend hike a decade ago. He didn’t bring a bathing suit but decided to swim in his birthday suit anyway. 

It felt good.

It gave him a sense of freedom and confidence. He started exploring “naturism.”

The ‘secret beach’ gets busy on warm days - nude beach near Edmonton
The ‘secret beach’ gets busy on warm days | CTV News

Naturism in Nature

According to Wikipedia, “Naturism is a lifestyle of practicing non-sexual social nudity in private and in public; the word also refers to the cultural movement which advocates and defends that lifestyle.”

John started telling a few others about his secret happy place. A small and diverse group of naturists formed.

“Being naked out here in nature, hearing the birds and the wind, with no cars or traffic… It feels like freedom. Naturism has definitely helped my mental health and self-esteem. I don’t look at my body and go, ‘Ugh.’ I think of myself like a person. I’m good the way I am, and I’m happy with myself,” John told CTV News

“When you take off the clothes, people open up to each other. You make friends with people you wouldn’t normally make friends with. I’ve met doctors, priests, nurses, tradespeople (here), and I’ve become friends with a lot of them.”

Positive Body Image

The fact is, body shaming is real. And it can get worse in summer when people wear less.

Dani, another Albertan naturist, said being naked at the beach has helped them accept their body.

“It’s a really good way to get rid of judgment of yourself,” said Dani. “I feel like I struggle with my body image more when I’m wearing clothes because (they) are designed to fit me, but I may not fit (them). Whereas this, I’m myself. And I’m with other people who are also naked. We don’t really care about body types. If anything, it’s an opportunity to practice making good eye contact with people.”

This little piece of clothing-optional heaven is on private property and shall remain a locals’ secret. 

Shelley, the landowner, has yet to doff her gear and join the naturists. In fact, she has no plans to join them, but she is happy to have them. She respects their privacy; they respect hers.   

Curious? For a list of official nudist associations and clubs in Alberta, click here. 

Calgary has two ‘unofficial’ Nude beaches -  this is Hidden Beach in Fish Creek Provincial Park
Calgary has two ‘unofficial’ Nude beaches –  this is Hidden Beach in Fish Creek Provincial Park | Christina Ryan | CBC News

Nude Beach Etiquette

Finally, if you are keen to try naturism, follow these simple guidelines:

  • Do your research: Understand what naturism means and what you’re looking for, as it varies and is typically about non-sexual social nudity in a family-friendly environment.
  • Take the plunge: When you arrive, remember that no one knows it’s your first time, and it’s often best to dive straight in rather than be awkwardly hesitant.
  • Keep your distance: Avoid getting too close to others, and always bring a towel to sit on for hygiene.
  • Don’t stare or take photos: Make eye contact and converse politely, but don’t gawk or take pictures without permission. Discretion is in order, so this is one spot to keep your smartphone back in the car.
  • Don’t comment on people’s bodies: Avoid discussing anyone’s appearance to maintain respect and body acceptance.
  • Unwanted arousal: It’s rare due to the non-sexual environment, but if it happens, cover up or distract yourself.
  • Don’t confuse lifestyles: Understand that naturism is separate from other alternative lifestyles and should not be mixed up. Don’t make assumptions about who naturists are because they come from all walks of life and belief systems.
  • And don’t forget the sunscreen! This one should be obvious: to protect those sensitive parts from the sun.

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