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 The Americas
Australia / NZ
Europe
European Saunas
Elsewhere
 Canada
United States
Mexico, Central America, Caribbean
South America
Supplemental Information
  Introduction 
The Maritimes & Québec
Ontario & The Prairie Provinces
British Columbia
Canada

Map of Canada
Getting Acquainted with Canada
Naturism in Canada
Nudity and the Law
Supplemental Information
Websites / Organizations
Parlez-vous français?


Map of Canada

Canada is divided into three broad areas for the purposes of this guide:

   The Maritimes & Québec
The Maritimes are Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.
   Ontario & The Prairie Provinces
The Prairie Provinces are Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.
   British Columbia

There are no listings for Newfoundland or the territories.

Getting Acquainted with Canada
Canada is a vast country that is second only to Russia as the largest country on Earth. Except for Southern Ontario, which is the part of that province that is near Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, all of Canada lies north of the 45th parallel, which is halfway between the equator and the North Pole. Canada extends farther north than any other country except Greenland, with its northernmost point just 800 or so kilometers from the North Pole. A trans-Canadian road trip from Vancouver to Halifax across the country's southern border region would be a journey of about 6,000 kilometers—comparable to driving from New York to Los Angeles, then backtracking to Albuquerque.

Canada is divided into thirteen administrative divisions—ten provinces across the southern realm of the country and three territories in the far north that extend into the Arctic Circle. In the far east of Canada, the province of Newfoundland and Labrador consists of an island (Newfoundland) and a nearly uninhabited mainland region (Labrador). Newfoundland is not bridged to the mainland, and a rather distinct culture has evolved in part due to this isolation. West of Newfoundland but east of the U.S. state of Maine are three provinces—New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island— that are collectively known as the Maritimes. These provinces are much smaller in land area than Canada's other ten regions and are comparable in collective size to the U.S. region of New England. Farther west are the mammoth provinces of Québec and Ontario. Each province is far bigger than Texas—Québec is actually almost as big as Alaska—but their populations are exponentially skewed toward the far south. Ontario's cities and towns are clustered near the Great Lakes, while those of Québec are mostly along the St. Lawrence River. Montréal and Toronto, the largest cities of the two provinces (and all of Canada, for that matter), are less than six hours apart by car. Add an extra hour to detour through Ottawa, Canada's national capital that is located in Ontario at the Québec border. Farther west are three provinces—Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta—that are commonly called the Prairie provinces. Each of these provinces is similar in size to Texas and to one another, and they lie to the north of Minnesota, North Dakota and Montana. On the Pacific Coast of Canada is British Columbia, which is about half again as large as any one of the Prairie provinces. If Canada has a California, then B.C. it is, with a moderate coastal climate (in its most populated area), an interior wine region (the Okanagan Valley) and a city oft compared to San Francisco (Vancouver). North of Canada's provinces are its three territories—the Yukon, the Northwest Territories and semi-independent Nunavut.

Canada has a small population relative to its enormous land area, with 2010 estimates putting the total number of Canadians at about 34 million—a bit less than the number of people in California. The population is most heavily concentrated in Southern Ontario and Southern Québec. To get a grasp of the population distribution, consider the 49th parallel. This is the latitudinal line that forms the western half of the border of Canada and the U.S, between the Great Lakes and the Pacific. All three Prairie provinces are north of this line, as is all but a small part of British Columbia. However, much of the eastern half of Canada lies south of the 49th parallel, including the entirety of the Maritimes. Over two-thirds of Canada's population live south of latitude 49, and just the metropolitan populations of Toronto and Montréal account for about a quarter of all Canadians. Eastern Canada (i.e., the six provinces that lie east of Manitoba) north of the 49th parallel is virtually uninhabited. The population zone of Western Canada extends farther north but is still mostly within the southern quarter of the four western provinces. A notable outlier is Edmonton (Alberta), which at about 500 kilometers north of the U.S. border is the northernmost metropolitan area in North America that has a population of over a million. The four western provinces contain about 30% of Canada's population, and about 43% of Western Canadians live in British Columbia. The three territories of Canada are extremely sparsely populated and account for less than one third of one percent of the population of Canada.

Canada has two official languages: English and French. While English is the most spoken language, French is the first language of about 23% of all Canadians. Québec is the dominant francophone province, where about 80% of the population speak French as a first language. New Brunswick, with a francophone minority of about one-third of all residents, is the most linguistically mixed province. English is the principal language of the other provinces.

Naturism in Canada
At first glance, Canada does not seem to be replete with naturist entities, especially for such an enormous country. However, a much better appreciation of Canada's naturist offerings is possible when one factors in population, which, for comparison, is 11% of that of the U.S. Adjusting for population, Canada actually has a higher percentage of well-attended and hassle-free nude beaches than does its neighbor to the south. The three largest metropolitan areas in Canada—Toronto, Montréal and Vancouver—all have popular nude beaches, and smaller cities like Winnipeg, Halifax and Victoria are also within reasonable proximity to well-established places for bare bathing. Canada also has a respectable number of naturist retreats, especially in Ontario and Québec. Canada is more socially liberal than the rest of North America, and the social climate is such that naturism is on the whole less controversial than it is at points farther south. The actual climate is more limiting. Temperatures in most of Canada's populated southerly regions are quite comfortable for naturism in June, July and August, but there aren't many naturists still basking on the beach by the end of September.

Nudity and the Law
Only a few of Canada's nude beaches are designated and signed for naturist use. The "Legal Issues" section of the Federation of Canadian Naturists website contains the wording of Canadian laws related to public nudity and references some judicial decisions that interpret the intent of those laws. In a nutshell, nudity is illegal in public places or on private property that is exposed to public view. Canadian naturist activists are not surprisingly unhappy with the literal wording of the laws but can take some comfort from various court rulings that have affirmed that these laws were not written to make criminals of those who practice non-affrontive nudity at sufficiently remote places.

Several events that took place around the time of the new millennium have indicated a greater tolerance for nude beaches on the part of the public and authorities. In 1999, the Toronto city council voted 41 to 9 to formally designate Hanlan's Point Beach as clothing optional, transforming the once lightly attended and unofficial nude beach into a popular and official one. Also in the late 90's, a few religious zealots sought to ban nudity at the twin nude beaches north of Winnipeg. Not only did they fail, their moralizing and the ensuing controversy had the ironic result of putting these once obscure beaches on the map. More nudists began to flock to them, the custom of bare bathing has become more deeply rooted and any future efforts to end nudity will meet with even greater resistance. A shocking and uncharacteristically Canadian incident occurred near Halifax in 2001. After years of more or less unofficially tolerating nudity at Crystal Crescent Beach, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police raided the beach and made several arrests for mere nudity, to the astonishment of regulars. The RCMP's action was not well received. Later that year, the provincial director of public prosecutions dismissed the charges against the nudists as groundless and essentially admonished the police to butt out. In the years since, that order has held and the long-term result is that nudity at Crystal Crescent is practiced more freely than ever.

Supplemental Information
The Supplemental Information option on the blue bar near the top of this page contains more information about nude beaches in North America, including explanations of the numbers (1 - 4) that are assigned to each beach.

Websites / Organizations
The Fédération québécoise de naturisme (FQN) and Federation of Canadian Naturists (FCN) are organizations that formed in 1977 and 1986, respectively. Today, these organizations work in conjunction and maintain affiliations with naturist retreats and clubs throughout Canada. The FQN and the FCN jointly publish a bilingual quarterly magazine, Going Natural / Au naturel.

Parlez-vous français?
If you plan to visit Québec, you may wish to familiarize yourself with a few a bits of French naturist terminology. A few words and phrases are described under the Some Terminology section of the Introduction to France.

































To download the complete KMZ file for Canada (viewable in Google Earth), CLICK HERE.
See the DOWNLOADS page for a list of all available KMZ files.