Topless in Toronto

by Tastyleisti

Editor’s Note: Last year, National Go Topless Day went largely uncelebrated in St. Louis. In our defense, fifty percent of our leadership was out of the country or embroiled in a child custody battle, the other fifty percent doesn’t have breasts. In the spirit of changing things in 2012, here’s a guest post by local blogger Tastyleisti. This year’s National Go Topless Day will be August 26th.

On a recent trip to Toronto, I was preoccupied with being naked in public spaces. I did a bit of research, and decided to check out Hanlan’s Point, the local nude beach, for the first time. It was my last day in Toronto and the weather was good. I had very little gear, not even a towel, but I had sunscreen and plenty of it, and a ferry ticket to get to the island. We must isolate the nudes!

As I looked around on the ferry, I saw a business man in a suit, with a briefcase. Seriously? Is this guy heading to the nude beach? Does his briefcase fold out into a beach chair?

I asked some friendly looking fellows which way I should head to the nude beach, and they told me I could follow them. We had a funny chat and instantly bonded, and they clued me in on the Toronto nudist scene, local politics, and the subtleties of Gay-Canadian culture.

The author on the day in question. Photo courtesy of Tastyleisti.

My new pals even invited me to have a beer with them and sit on their beach blanket. You’re sure my naked vag on your blanket isn’t too offensive? Awesome, just checking!

We traded stories and lost track of time watching an aging male nudist with a majestic beard stroll back and forth along the surf. My friends told me that a strong wind came by and parted his beard down the middle like the Red Sea. Can’t believe I fucking missed that one! Where was I?

My time was running short, as I had to catch a bus out of town. I told my friends of my final mission in Toronto: to walk around downtown, topless, since it’s legal in Ontario. My friends and family clued me in on the backstory. Twenty years ago, in Guelph, Ontario, a young woman named Gwen Jacobs was walking on a hot summer day, as a man strutted impudently in front of her, and basically taunted her by taking off his shirt to beat the heat, and laughing that she couldn’t.

Not one to be bested, Ms. Jacobs took off her top and was charged with public indecency. Big mistake on the part of police. Had they charged her with public nudity, they likely would have won. Jacobs fought and took her topless battle all the way to the Supreme Court – and won. Since then, women have enjoyed the right to go topless in Ontario. Awesome! Sadly, though, not many Ontario women seem to be taking advantage of their rights to go topless.What’s up with that? Fear not, I am here to take advantage of those rights for you.

I was down to the wire at the nude beach, so I decided to just put my shorts back on and pack up my things to get going. I strutted confidently past the “Clothing mandatory beyond this point” signs (they should really say “Pants Mandatory” instead) and made the 15 minute walk to wait for the ferry. 

I had to stop and ask someone which path to take. He looked a bit confused, but pointed me in the right direction. I got to the ferry dock, and saw kids, families, and quite the range of people standing around waiting.

I continued to wait for the ferry amid disapproving and confused stares. I got a couple of laughs, but found that most people were trying not to look at me. What? They’re just tits. Get over it. I can’t be the only woman taking advantage of this freedom.

I took the ferry, topless, (I was just daring them to stop me, since a few men were also topless on the ferry) walked off the ferry, and proceeded down the street, stopping to buy a water from a street vendor while topless. He was so flustered he started to give my change away to another customer and I had to remind him what was going on. You’d think his life flashed before his eyes or something.

My stroll carried on, topless, wearing a straw fedora and jamming out to awesome grooves through my headphones. I walked clear to the bus station, and right past a business district with lots of financial types in suits getting out of work. I could hardly contain a giant smirk. This is fucking bizarre. People’s reactions were not quite what I expected. God, I wish I had a hidden camera to film all of this, or a secret film crew to follow me around. Now that I think of it, I should have asked someone to take my picture! (As it happens, someone did take my picture, without my knowledge, and posted it on twitter, amid a minor buzz regarding this brazen topless woman walking around downtown in the middle of the day)

Only two people spoke to me without me speaking first – one, a woman saying, “You go, girl” and the other, a rather confident man who stared me squarely in the tits and simply said, “nice,” and kept on walking.