Saskatoon

Topless 8-year-old would violate pool policies in Regina and Saskatoon

When a couple in Guelph, Ontario began speaking out after their young daughter was told to cover her bare chest while taking a dip, they found support across the country.

Saskatoon and Regina demand tops and bottoms in the pool

A spray pad in Saskatoon. (CBC)

When a couple in Guelph, Ontario began speaking out after their young daughter was told to cover her bare chest while taking a dip, they found support across the country.

One parenting blogger who spoke to CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning this week suggested that restrictive pool policies contribute to "body shaming" and "sexualizing" young girls. 

The story generated so much debate that the City of Guelph agreed to review its swimming attire policy.

In the city's 2015 Community Guide, the policy states that "females ages four and older must wear a bathing top in … enclosed or fenced pools."

So what is the policy in Saskatoon and Regina?

In response to the question a spokesperson for the City of Saskatoon suggested that "all patrons are expected to wear appropriate swimwear." That means clothing designed for swimming in a pool, and when it becomes wet, it can't be transparent.

When asked about the Guelph case, the spokesperson said that "an 8-year-old girl without a top would be inappropriate."

Regina's pool wardrobe policy is a little more descriptive.

  • Females: full one-piece or two piece suits (tops and bottoms)
  • Males: Swim trunks
  • Thong swim suits are not acceptable
  • Clients may wear a t-shirt and shorts in place of or over their swim suit
  • Infants/toddlers; Snug fitting bottoms or pool diapers

Parents react

Saskatoon parent Caroline Brost said young girls should not have to cover their chests.

Caroline Brost in Saskatoon. (CBC)
"I think if you start covering it up, then people get a little bit more curious about it and it just becomes something that's taboo. Like it's offside, you're not allowed to discuss it, you're not allowed to talk about it," Brost said. "Whereas if you let it be free, then the curiosity is gone and it's not an issue any more and everybody can be just a little bit happier about it. Why steal someone's innocence at eight years old, just because you think she has to cover up?"

Another parent, Bryanna Saccucci, viewed the topic differently.

"I think everybody just wants to accept everything nowadays," Saccucci said. "There's reasons [for swim tops]. The girls have breasts when they're older, so I'm pretty sure that's what we teach them, to cover them up."

Parent Hannah Ching said age is an important factor.

"If you're eight, I think you're at an age where you're getting older, so I think it's more appropriate to wear a top," Ching said. "I think if you're young, it doesn't really matter, but older for sure."

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