As we know, life is sometimes a compromise and to enjoy a holiday and explore another country, it’s not always possible to plan to stay at only naturist venues, as desirable as it may be, for the entire holiday. This was the case when we spent a very enjoyable four weeks in Canada in the late summer, early autumn last year.
We arrived in Toronto and after spending a few days with our family who live in Burlington, a delightful area on Lake Ontario, we collected our RV (Recreational Vehicle) from the local Cruise Canada depot and headed north. It was our first time in Canada and our first RV experience, although we have a touring caravan at home. We were determined to see a lot, but not spend all day, every day, travelling and so planned to spend some nights at commercial sites and others at naturist locations.
After a stop of two nights in Huntsville we made our way to our first naturist site, and the one we were looking forward to visiting the most, Lake Jewel Wilderness. As the name implies, it is very remote, certainly by the standards of our many previous naturist sites visited around Europe. After finding the turning off highway 17 onto Riding Stable Road we followed the instructions, continued for 6.3kms on a forest track until we reached the gate - then it’s only another 1.5kms to the lake and 640 acres of wilderness!
Our arrival on site was something like discovering a new tribe in the wild, naked people appeared from all over the place as much as to say, “What are you doing here?” As you can tell we were not expected. We had been in email communication with John Bedows, the owner of the site who unbeknown to us had sadly passed away following a very short illness only a couple of weeks before our arrival and no one else knew of us. Five minutes later and we were being shown a selection of pitches by Steve who now manages the site on behalf of Betty, John’s widow. From then on we could not have been made more welcome, we were invited to the daily 4pm Happy Hour “Just bring a can - we will be over there - come and join us”
Then off for some canoeing on the lake and an invitation to the Corn Roast, more beer, more chat about naturism in the UK and more friends made. As we said, it was remote, water is drawn from the lake and while it is apparently safe to drink, we didn’t risk it. The loos are of the compost variety, completely adequate. As we lay in bed at night you could hear wolves howling, thankfully in the distance. On our last full day we were invited to go along to the local fire station for a community charity breakfast 0 all you could eat for $10. As we had the RV, two members arranged to take us along in their large 4x4 before returning for a swim, more canoeing and a wood fired sauna – fantastic. We were sorry to say goodbye after only three nights.
On now towards Ottawa via a commercial sites at Pembroke, in beautiful countryside if it wasn’t for the torrential rain. It was Labour Day in Canada, a big public holiday at the end of the summer, so it’s not just the UK that has wet Bank Holidays! After a two night stop over at a municipal site almost next door to the Park and Ride, we spent a fantastic day in Ottawa, Canada’s capital. We then moved on to East Haven, a more conventional naturist club for adults only, some 30 miles outside the city. We received a warm welcome from owner Yogi and many of the members on site for their last weekend before the site closed for winter. It was after all the 8th September and members were packing up ready for the severe winter to come.
The site is very well kept with many trailers complete with slide-outs along with static lodges and about a dozen touring pitches with full service hook-ups. The site enjoys a great swimming pool heated by a massive wood burning stove, hand built by Daniel, Yogi’s partner, producing a pool temperature of 32C, more like a Jacuzzi. The actual Jacuzzi is set beside the pool with full electric controls. The site does not allow children, the thought being to allow their parents time to get away from it all for the vacation. The site used to allow them, but Yogi found she was being used as a free of charge Nanny service and changed the rules several years ago, it was feared the membership numbers would suffer, but the opposite has happened with a waiting list for permanent pitches now operating. It was while we were here that the weather took a much improved turn for the better and would continue with blue sky and sunshine right though the rest of our time in Canada. Why pack up for winter in high 20 degree sunshine?
In fact, the weather was so good, we stayed an extra day at East Haven before enjoying 3 great days in Bon Echo Provincial Park enjoying swimming, walking and a days canoeing (20kms). Now to our final stop before returning home, this time to Bare Oaks Naturist Park.
As many will have read and some experienced, Bare Oaks is a complete naturist complex, owned and commercially run by Stephane Deschênes and his team. All staff work naked, including those in the reception office, weather permitting, promoting the naked lifestyle throughout. The site has two pools, a lake for swimming, sauna, jacuzzi, restaurant and bar for members and guests. In contrast to East Haven, the club attracts younger families with lots of children along with very permanent and expensive cabins where some, mostly retired members, have set up home for the complete 12 month year. We enjoyed the site, although the RV touring pitches were rather cramped in comparison to other sites visited, but we had great neighbours again who made us very welcome.
In conclusion, we had a great time and mixing naturist sites with more commercial stops worked well for us. Ok - it would have been nice to spend the whole time at naturist sites but as we said at the beginning, life is a compromise ……..!
Graham and Julia Holland