Pro-toplessness advocacy organization marches through Toronto streets half-naked and believes in aliens

Pro-toplessness advocacy organization marches through Toronto streets half-naked and believes in aliens

Does not apply to alien-related gatherings in parks (Image: Grant Hollingworth) 

Last week, the city denied a permit to the group GoTopless, which had planned an event at Ashbridges Bay Park on Sunday to mark National Go Topless Day, where women are encouraged to be—you guessed it—topless. So instead, the organization decided to take to the streets in protest, marching through the city sans shirts. We thought the city seemed a touch prudish by rejecting the group’s original overture, but apparently women must be “properly attired” in parks and other public spaces, despite the 1996 Ontario Court of Appeal verdict that gave women the right to not wear tops as they please.

The National Post has the details:

In 1996, the case of Guelph activist Gwen Jacob led the Ontario Court of Appeal to rule that going topless is not, in and of itself, an indecent act. Ms. Brisebois believes GoTopless was denied a permit to bare breasts at Ashbridges Bay because the city of Toronto doesn’t understand the laws. “There’s no bylaw that governs toplessness, that’s a criminal code matter,” responds Bruce Robertson, acting executive director of Municipal Licensing and Standards, adding that while it is legal for women to go topless on the streets of Toronto, parks bylaws require appropriate attire. “You can’t be naked. Women can’t be topless. Unless you’re on that one stretch of beach where it’s ‘clothing optional.’

The Post also asked the strange but bizarrely appropriate question—is this about toplessness, unidentified flying objects or freedom (unlike the Toronto Sun, which went with a 10-image slideshow of bare chested men and women)? And the answer is probably all of above: GoTopless is the Canadian branch of an American organization tied to the Raelian Movement (a group founded by Claude Vorilhon, who believes all life on earth was designed by highly intelligent extraterrestrials that designated him a messenger). Frankly, we’re not sure which part is weirder: that women are allowed to be topless everywhere except the city’s parks or that the weekend protest genuinely had something to do with aliens.

Topless activists march through the streets — but avoid the park [Toronto Star]
Topless protect in T.O. [Toronto Sun]
Where and when you can go topless in Ontario, and what it has to do with UFOs [National Post]