Calgary naturists to attend nude swim in Edmonton

A naturist group in Edmonton says some out-of-towners will attend its naked pool party, after the City of Calgary cancelled a similar event being put on by a naturist group in that city. 

While 90 to 100 people typically attend the CottonTail Corner private swim events at Edmonton public pools, 130 tickets were sold for Saturday's swim at the Hardisty Fitness and Leisure Centre. 

CottonTail Corner administrator John Martens said at least 10 of the swimmers are naturists coming from Calgary. 

"We're glad that we could help our Calgary neighbours because they got shut out of theirs," Martens said. 

Controversy in Calgary

The all-ages nude swimming event was set for Sunday at Calgary's Southland Leisure Centre by Calgary Nude Recreation. It was cancelled due to security concerns. 

After the event received media attention, Mayor Naheed Nenshi told CBC News that backlash to the event included a bomb threat and a claim that license plate information would be collected in the parking lot. 

Martens said he understands that safety needs to be prioritized. 

"If somebody's making a threat about a bomb, that's not something you want to joke about," he said. 

His group extended an invitation to Calgary naturists to attend the Edmonton event instead.

"I hope they take away that we're all just one big community. Even though they got shut out of their swim, they're always welcome up here," Martens said. 

He said the CottonTail Corner has secured additional lifeguards for Saturday night and is bringing extra beach balls to the pool. 

Martens himself baked 20 dozen cookies for the event.

30-year history

CottonTail Corner has been hosting naked pool parties in Edmonton for the past five years, but the tradition dates back much further. 

Ray Jorritsma, who manages the Edmonton Naturist Swim Group, said the group has been hosting nude swimming events for more than 30 years.

Jorritsma said he hopes the publicity doesn't negatively affect his local naturist organization. 

"The city, up to now, has said some very positive things about our swims," he said. "They indicate that these swims have been held for a long time, and to date they seem to indicate that they see no reason to change the status quo and we're very much hoping that things stay that way."

Mayor Don Iveson confirmed that the city has, for years, hosted naturist clubs with private bookings. 

"That will continue to be our practice," Iveson said. 

"There's no issue from my point of view." 

Jorritsma, who will attend the CottonTail Corner event, is pleased that Calgary naturists are being welcomed in Edmonton. 

"If they can't swim in a pool in Calgary, then by all means come up and join us," he said. 

"The message I would give is, 'You are more than welcome.' Come and join us. Have a good time, and enjoy the swim."