Rachel Sutton looks out over Cox Bay on a sunny Tuesday afternoon. The Tofino resident and vacation rental operator is raising the idea of bringing a nude beach to the community. (Photo - Andrew Bailey)

Woman wants Tofino to get a nude beach

“They may enjoy a surf and then walk around naked and just be free.”

A Tofino resident is laying bare her desire to see the community adopt a nude beach.

“We’ve become a major tourist destination and a nude beach is inclusive and allows people to be free while they’re on vacation and it allows people who are local to feel that they can gear down comfortably without such a moral compass on their bodies,” Rachel Sutton told the Westerly News.

READ MORE: Vancouver Island’s Long Beach named one of world’s best

READ MORE: Complaint about “excessive nudity” in change rooms

“The ethos of Tofino and Ucluelet and the West Coast is fairly irreverent and we are a population who value uniqueness and doing things in a creative and spontaneous manner…They may enjoy a surf and then walk around naked and just be free.”

People of all genders are permitted to be topless in B.C., but full nudity is illegal on public lands. However, the province does offer an assortment of nude beaches. NaturistDirectory.com, a website that promotes destinations to travellers looking for clothing-optional opportunities, lists Vancouver’s Wreck Beach, Nelson’s Red Sands Beach, Hornby Island’s Little Tribune Bay and Crescent Rock’s Naturalist Beach as its top four B.C. beaches.

Sutton said Tofino is an accepting and inclusive area and is “certainly” the type of community that could embrace a nude beach.

“We have a fresh migration of people to this area in the last three to five years who are forward thinking,” she said. “I think also, universally, we’re seeing some more archaic viewpoints go the way of the charming antiquity and we are stepping forward in a resurgence of the kind of energy we saw in the ’70s.

“We’re facing worldwide wars, we’re facing famines and droughts, we’re facing bigger issues to do with gun control and questionable politicking in our country as well as our neighbours to the south and this is an irreverent, light spark of joy that could be a pleasant dinner conversation.”

She said promoting body positivity is important and a nude beach could add to Tofino’s allure to visitors.

“I love the idea that we could just gear down and not have to feel a lot of shame, blame or guilt about our bodies. We could just say, ‘Well this is how I arrived.’ We all came into the world naked and why should we feel ashamed?”

Tofino Mayor Josie Osborne told the Westerly News she is not opposed to the idea, but said it would likely be more of an informal agreement than an official designation.

READ MORE: Tourist claims Tofino’s beaches have ‘gone to the dogs’

“I don’t have any moral objections to the idea. I just think it’s something that needs to be discussed well with the community and if something was going to go in that direction, be it formal or informal, that everyone is respected for their feelings.”



andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca

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