Skip to content

Only landed nudist club in Sask. marks 50 years

Green Haven Sun Club celebrates naturism with special events Aug. 5.

BALGONIE – “There’s a local legend that naked people run around over there.”

That’s what a friend told me jokingly, pointing to a field of green trees just off a highway northeast of Balgonie. 

That spot - a veritable oasis on the Prairies - is perhaps Saskatchewan’s oldest and best-kept secret. A place where clothing and prejudices are left at the gate; where naturism is celebrated in a wholesome, family-friendly environment.

What is this Xanadu of southern Saskatchewan? Green Haven Sun Club - the province’s only landed and AANR-affiliated nudist club.

Moments later, our car comes to a halt at the gate to enter the code on the keypad.

“Nudists are no different than anybody else except we don’t like to wear clothes when it’s hot,” said Green Haven president Doug Schick. “It’s a family-oriented club.”

Another impressive fact is that Green Haven is the oldest nudist club in Saskatchewan - marking 50 years in 2023. 

Initially, the original location of Green Haven was closer to Fort Qu’Appelle. Five years later, land that makes up the current location was purchased, and the evolution began.

In the naturist community, Green Haven has built a reputation of a must-visit destination as Schick explained that local, national and international visitors from other clubs quite enjoy their time spent on the grounds.

“Green Haven is one of the friendliest clubs that they’ve ever encountered and we’ve got the nicest people here,” he said, sharing feedback from visitors. 

“Welcoming” is certainly a key descriptor for people encountering the place not just for the first time, but in subsequent visits. There always seems to be a group of people glad to see you - be it at the heated pool area, the club house, just walking the grounds, or gathering for coffee on a friend’s deck.

Club members have been what keep this special place moving forward through the decades. Volunteers maintain the grounds, serve as board members, and organize special events that make up the fabric of life at Green Haven. 

My friend Kerry was eager to give a golf cart tour of the land, providing a history lesson and showcasing the features of a place himself and wife Brenda have enjoyed these past 31 years. 

He explained to me how a feature story on Green Haven heard over the radio was what first piqued his interest in the place - a serendipitous moment many years ago while in his workshop. Since then, the couple have been quite involved with the club, keeping busy with maintaining the grounds and checking people in at the gate.

As we cruised past ancient lodges that made up the first dwellings deep into the overgrown bush, a sense of solitude and serenity soaked in - along with all that natural vitamin D so strongly produced by the sun. It was easy to see the pride Kerry took in touring me through this land that has become “home” for the couple; the excitement of sharing what has been accomplished over 50 years and enthusiasm for the future.

“This is the only AANR-affiliate club in the whole province,” Kerry said, with his famous welcoming smile.

I also sat down with Marcel and Linda, a couple who have also been long-term fixtures at Green Haven. After visiting a nudist club in St. Maarten, they decided to become AANR members in around 1990 and found Green Haven shortly thereafter. 

Initial visits included hauling a truck and trailer in for weekend stays, but they quickly decided to rent a permanent lot.  

One of Marcel’s recent projects has been establishing a Diabetes 5km fun walk/run, which coincides with this year’s 50th anniversary celebrations on Aug. 5. On that day, registration fees for the event are donated to the cause, this being a great way to support the fundraiser and get active while enjoying the grounds. And possibly something to cross off the bucket list. 

“I was trying to do something to bring people to the club, and attract them some other way,” Marcel said. Over the past six years, popularity - and donations - have grown.

“We get all kinds of ages participating in the 5km walk/run fundraiser,” Marcel explained. “So far, I’m the oldest - but I always want someone to challenge me!”

The 78-year-old is confident to complete the walk in well under an hour again this year.

The walk itself consists of a 2.5 km loop meandering along a gravel roadway, through meadows, and under evergreen trees. Twice ‘round the marked trail, and the walk/run is complete - with participants ready for some freshly-made hamburgers at the finish line.

“It's sort of a nature walk at the same time,” Marcel said, noting the chance to see wildflowers and wildlife along the route. 

Other activities to mark the 50th year of Green Haven include cake, evening ceremonies, a dance, and fireworks.

As with many social clubs, Green Haven relies on membership fees to remain financially viable. There are a couple trailers onsite to rent, and new visitors are always welcome. The club also has a list of rules and etiquette to ensure the safety and enjoyment of everyone on site and entering the gates. Anonymity is also something members and guests adhere to, again ensuring a positive experience outdoors for everyone. 

One member’s sentiments to me were, "Green Haven is, in my mind, intended to be a place of safe naturism,” she said. “A social place where judgement of body - be it your own or someone else's - is to be left at the gate. Where we shed our layers and make great friendships. A place of freedom within good standards."

The only disappointing part about a visit to Green Haven is once again encountering those gates when it’s time to leave; that it’s time to return to the expectations of regular life. 

Knowing there is plenty of summer left for subsequent visits makes leaving the grounds a little bit easier.

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks