After pool party cancelled, northern nudists invite Calgarians to get naked in Edmonton

Edmonton naturists are extending an official invitation to their counterparts in Calgary, who had their naked waterslide pool party shut down by city hall, to go skinny-dipping in Edmonton instead.

Nudists scorned in Calgary are being welcomed to a naked pool party in Edmonton

Edmonton naturist group, the CottonTail Club has for years been hosting nude swimming events in the city, including naked scuba diving classes. (Supplied)

Edmonton naturists are extending an official invitation to their counterparts in Calgary, who had their naked waterslide pool party shut down by city hall, to get naked in Edmonton instead. 

The CottonTail Corner Club is encouraging naturists in southern Alberta to take a road trip north this weekend after the City of Calgary cancelled a nude swim event due to security concerns.

The Edmonton-based club is hosting a nude pool party on Saturday night.

"Calgary Naturists!!! We have secured another lifeguard for Saturday, so if you'd like to come on up to Edmonton for CottonTail Corner's Naturist Swim, come join us," reads a post from main administrator of the club, John Martens.

"Naturists helping naturists. That is what community is about."

An all-ages nude swimming event planned for Sunday at Calgary's Southland Leisure Centre started making waves last week.

A petition calling on the city to cancel the event or make it adult-only had gathered more than 20,000 signatures by Thursday morning.  A petition against that petition got nearly 6,000 signatures.

The flood of online reaction and unspecified threats against the recreation centre prompted police and the city's corporate security team to complete a safety review. The event was officially cancelled this week.

The group wanting to host the event, Calgary Nude Recreation, posted a statement to social media, calling the cancellation an "outrageous" decision based on the opinions of an "incredibly vocal minority."

The group said it will continue to book events in Calgary and will pursue legal action to ensure they are allowed to go ahead.

Kevin Boldt, a long time CottonTail member, said it was disappointing to see the Calgary swim cancelled.

Boldt can't fathom why people were so up in arms.

Baring it all at a private event doen't hurt anyone, he said. 

"People who don't attend, have never attended, have no interest in attending, and have no real reason to make accusations, took it upon themselves to start a petition," he said.  "And some of the things that were being said were just right out of left field and downright accusatory and hurtful." 

"And then when the city of Calgary chose to shut down their event. Yeah, it was disappointing." 

While this week's cancellation may have sullied the waters for Calgary's naturist club, everything appears to be going swimmingly for birthday-suit enthusiasts in Edmonton. 

"I was surprised to begin with that there was even objection to it," said Boldt.  "We've been doing swims here in Edmonton for over 30 years, in some form or another, and they've always been family-friendly events. We've never had an incident." 

Outdoor beach 

For years, the CottonTail club has been hosting nude swimming events regularly at Edmonton's Hardisty Fitness and Leisure Centre.

They normally gather on a quiet beach beside the North Saskatchewan River near Devon, but wanted a new way to let it all hang out during Edmonton's frigid winters. 

The beach east of Edmonton is often a haven for southern nudists who don't have access to their own dedicated swimming hole, said Boldt. 

He said the invitation to Calgary is just a formality because "they're always invited," said Boldt. 

"We wanted to extend an official invitation to them just to show support to them and their community." 

Looking to swim in the buff this weekend? More information on the event is available on the club's Facebook page.