Revisiting the story of Toronto Island siblings who raised the ire of their neighbors when they went swimming without bathing suits
As summer officially draws to a close, we revisit the summer of 1967, when Star photographer Bob Olsen captured this adorable snap of two tiny outlaws.
“In a series of daring daylight raids, Metro Toronto Police have swooped down on an 18-month-old Toronto Island boy and his 2½-year-old sister,” the Star reported at the time, with more than a hint of sarcasm.
Several times over that summer, complaints against these shameless nudists (Marc and Lisa ter Woort, accompanied by their more modestly clad mother, Johanna) led to police issuing summonses to the family for “public disorder.”
“There is now a clothing-optional beach on the island at Hanlan’s Point,” says Lisa. “But that was not the case during the time this photo was taken. … Let’s just say my brother and I were ahead of our times.”
Today, Lisa is tickled by the intense furor that this scandal caused, splitting the city in a roaring debate. City of Toronto controller Allan Lamport supported the law-and-order approach, saying, “There are nudist colonies for this sort of thing,” while controller Margaret Campbell called the bylaw “stupid.”
Lisa spent her pastoral childhood on Ward’s Island. “My best friend Jane and I used to raise monarch butterflies,” she says, “and we would go to the beach after every storm to look for treasures.”
But the freedom enjoyed by the girls ended up getting curtailed by neighbors when it came time to swim. Lisa’s mother allowed her children to play naked, to avoid their complaints about sand getting in their bathing suits. This mom was going to get grief, no matter which suit (bathing or birthday) she chose for her children.
Source: Hamilton Spectator
Original publication 19 September, 2021
Posted on NatCorn 30th October 2021
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