Ottawans opine on public nudity as judge weighs case


Going au naturel in public is unnatural to many Ottawans.

“If you want to be nude, do it in your own privacy, or do it at a nude beach — don’t do it in public where everyone else has to look at you,” said teenager Lindsay Boyd.

She’s one of several sunbathers at Britannia Beach who weren’t too crazy about the idea of seeing strangers bare-skinned around town.

“It just makes everyone uncomfortable in their surroundings,” said Megan Pirie.

Thanks to Brian Coldin — the Ontario man on trial for going through two fast-food drive-thrus naked — the right to go bare is up for debate.

Coldin, a naturist, appeared in court in Bracebridge, Ont., Tuesday, where his lawyers challenged his right to be naked in public — although it’s still unclear whether he was partially clothed.

“(Coldin ) says he was wearing a G-string in the drive-thru,” Federation of Canadian Naturists spokesman Stephane Deschenes told the Sun.

“The ladies (working the drive-thru) interpreted it as nude.”

Coldin has reportedly spent more than $100,000 in legal fees.

“It’s a matter of principle,” said Deschenes.

“He has nothing to gain from this.”

Coldin’s lawyers are arguing nudity laws are unconstitutional.

But that logic isn’t flying at the beach.

“We shouldn’t be allowed to stomp on anybody’s else’s rights just because we feel we have our rights,” said John Berichon.

Others aren’t so adamant.

“I’m not opposed to nudity but … I guess we live in a society where nudity can be a sign of pornography as well, too,” said Mike Carrier. “Some people are comfortable with it, some people are not. That’s why there’s designated areas for that.”

Places like Sunward Naturist Park in Calabogie, where Tony Milne, 64, is one of the owners.

Milne said he’s driven around naked many times.

“I once found myself halfway into town and found I didn’t have any clothes on,” he said, laughing.

“I had to turn around and go back.”

Deschenes and Milne said going through a drive-thru isn’t something most naturists do and there are general misconceptions about the lifestyle.

“It’s not about getting naked, per se,” said Deschenes.

“A strip joint is about getting naked … Naturism is about respect for self, respect for others.”

Milne said about 300 people in Ottawa are members at his park.

“There are probably an awful lot more who would like to be,” he said.

A judge is set to deliver his verdict on Coldin’s case on Sept. 28.

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