• September 25, 2009 8:00 AM
  • - General

Nudists Fight Back to Save Forest Homes

POTTAGEVILLE, ON, Sept. 25 /CNW/ - Over 100 nudists at Glen Echo Park are set to fight for their rights under the Residential Tenancies Act in a series of Landlord and Tenant Board hearings in Toronto originally scheduled for October some of which have now been moved forward to September 28th, due to impending sale of the Park on October 1, 2009.

Members of the community located about 50 km north of Toronto were caught off guard when they received a vaguely worded letter in late August from the current owners, Edward and Mary Todorowsky, saying their beloved Park was closing its doors October 1.

When members sought clarification from the Todorowskys, they received only vague and nebulous responses, if any. A registered letter sent by one resident asking clarification was simply ignored.

Members are scrambling to learn what their rights are and what options are available to them, given the sudden muteness of the owners and the numerous written assurances given in recent years that the Park would only be sold to individuals with the clear intent to continue the naturist community.

There are about 90 land lease homes at the Park. While the residents own their homes, they lease the land on which these homes are situated, on a yearly basis. Some residents have been part of the community for over 50 years: some started their residency as children in the arms of their parents.

The prospective new owner is claiming to use the property as a private residence. When he visited the property last week, he brought a team of plumbers and electricians to survey the area and asked current residents whether or not they had water and electric services at their sites. There is growing speculation that he intends to operate the Park as a religious-based community.

Glen Echo Park is one of the oldest nudist or naturist communities in Canada. The founders were members of the now defunct Toronto Gymnosophical Society, or TGS. Glen Echo Park is situated within the King Forest or Happy Valley Forest, an area within the Oak Ridges Moraine that is classified as an Area of Natural and Scientific Interest or ANSI.

Aside from the legal implications of the sale and transition of the property to a new use, there are deep concerns of what is to become of their beloved forest homes with the prospect of development. Naturists traditionally pride themselves in living lightly on the land, leaving a small and shallow ecological footprint.

The current land lease homeowners have contacted Oak Ridges Moraine Foundation and the Nature Conservancy of Canada, alerting them to the situation and the prospect of development.

Photos available at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/glenecho/

For further information: Laurent Leduc can be contacted as spokesperson for the Glen Echo Park Members Community at laurent.leduc@utoronto.ca or (416) 720-5420 cell