Our Names Reflect our History
Roads, buildings and features around Bare Oaks Family Naturist Park are named to make it easier for people to orient themselves. But the names were not selected randomly. Each name has a particular significance in relation to the naturist movement. The history of Bare Oaks can be found by clicking here. Below is an explanation of the meaning behind each name.
Ray and Mildred Connett were the early pioneers of naturism in Canada. In the late 1940’s, the very idea of naturism was seen as subversive. Unconcerned about damage to their personal reputation, Ray and Mildrid became a very public promoter of naturism. He was a prolific writer of the subject and helped organize Canadians who were interested in naturism. At a time when newspapers would not carry advertising about naturism, The connetts became a key contact point for people looking for clubs in their areas. They were also an important resource for clubs that were just starting up. There were co-founders of the Van Tan Club in 1939. They then went on to form their own club, Sunny Trails, in 1952. Click here to read more about Ray & Mildred Connett.
The Toronto Helios Society was the first naturist club on the Bare Oaks’ property. It was started in 1972 by Eric and June Jarvis. When they first purchased the property, there were no amenities – not even an outhouse! The first members had it rough. They camped without electricity or a potable water supply. But they persevered and added roads, campsites, ponds, lawns, a pool, and more. The basic layout of the land that you see today was created by June and Eric. They had been members of the Toronto Gymnosophical Society which was undoubtedly the inspiration behind the name Toronto Helios Society. Helios means “sun” in Greek.
Doug and Helen Beckett founded the Federation of Canadian Naturists (FCN) and its magazine Going Natural in 1986. Following the breakup of the Canadian Sunbathing Association in 1953 and the failure of the Eastern Canadian Sunbathing Association (ECSA) in 1960, there was no English-speaking association representing Canada. Doug saw the need for a national organization to unite all Canadian naturists and promote naturism to the general public. With support from the FQN, the FCN was formed and together the two organizations now represent Canada in the International Naturist Federation (INF).
Michel Vaîs founded the Fédération québécoise de naturisme (FQN) in 1977 and the magazine Au Naturel. Until then, there had not been any Francophone organizations in Canada. Being well travelled, Michel was responsible for bringing European naturist ideals to Canada. It was through Michel’s early efforts that Canada maintained a presence on the international naturist stage. Michel and the FQN were also supporters of Canadian naturism and they helped found the FCN.
In 2001, Carol and Larry Bean rescued the park and returned it to its status as a naturist park. (Beamor is the name they requested and is a combination of Larry’s last name and Carol’s maiden name.) In the intervening years between when Eric & June Jarvis sold the park and Carol and Larry purchased it, the property had degraded significantly. Over the next 5 years, they undertook a wide variety of major infrastructure improvements. The one with the biggest visual impact was the construction of this beautiful lake which now provides a wide variety of recreational opportunities.
In Greek, Gymnos means “nude”. It was a common term used in early naturism. Not far from Bare Oaks existed a club known as the Toronto Gymnosophical Society (TGS) which met near the village of Pottageville. Early naturists had to be very secretive about their philosophy and words like gymnos and helios (“sun” in Greek) were often used to disguise what they were about from the general public. Gymnos is also the root of the English word “gymnasium”. In ancient Greece, the Olympics and sport in general was performed nude which is how the word gymnasium came to be today. Gymnophobia is the clinical term for fear of nudity – an illness which seems to affect most of today’s society! That would make most naturists Gymnophiles.
When Eric and June Jarvis purchased the property, there were no ponds or lakes. The only water features were Harrisson Creek and the Black River. Since skinny-dipping is one of the fundamental pleasures of naturism, they immediately set about damming Harrisson Creek and digging out a swimming pond. The eastern portion was dug first. A few years later, they extended it to the west. You can still discern the two original areas of the pond today.
The Black River & Harrison Creek
There are two rivers at Bare Oaks. Harrison Creek flows along the north end of the property and joins the Black River that bisects our land. We are at the headwaters of the Black River. By the time it flows into Lake Simcoe in Sutton, it is a significant river. Both rivers are incredibly important to the natural habitat at Bare Oaks and responsible for the incredibly diverse wildlife that can be found throughout our property. You can read more about the natural environment at Bare Oaks by clicking here.