Dear Barb—Airing it Out

Dear Barb:

I have just moved into a new neighbourhood and I think I may have picked a questionable area.  I have noticed two of my neighbors walking around their house naked.  Another person does their gardening naked, mind you, they do have a five foot fence around their yard.  But from a certain angle I can see right into their backyard.  It seems odd to have two neighbors on the same street who do this.  These neighbors are fairly friendly with each other and visit often.  I do have two children under the age of seven and I don’t want them being exposed to this.  Is there a law against doing yard work while naked? My husband doesn’t see a problem with it, he says we should just ignore them and not look in their yard.  Maybe I’m just a prude?  What do you think? Thanks, Victoria.

Hi Victoria:

Interesting neighbourhood! According to the Government of Canada, the Criminal Code regarding nudity is as follows:

Every one who, without lawful excuse, is nude in a public place, or is nude and exposed to public view while on private property, whether or not the property is his own, is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

It sounds to me like your neighbors are committing an offense, so you do have the right to report them and hopefully they will cover up.  But there are some people who feel these laws violate their freedom of expression.  One man decided to go to a Tim Horton’s buck naked to order his morning coffee.  Employees commented that the sight of his genitals made them uncomfortable.  Brian Coldin of Bracebridge Ontario ended up serving five months of house arrest followed by 12 months probation.  Other parts of the world, like the Netherlands and Spain, are more relaxed about nudity laws.  Something to keep in mind is “World Naked Gardening Day” (WNGD) which falls on the first Saturday of May.  I’m not sure why they chose that day, as in some areas it can be very cold.  According to NBC News Today, WNGD “has become an annual tradition that celebrates weeding, planting flowers and trimming hedges in the buff.” It is meant to be a light hearted, fun day with no political implications and there are some humorous dos and don’ts for it: But I, personally, would not want my young children to be exposed to these neighbors, either, so, no, I don’t think you are a prude.  Thanks for sharing your interesting dilemma.

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