A “family place”

The clothing police are out in full force.

That’s right: the Canada Games Centre is not backing down on its clothing policy, which I first wrote about last March.

Today, another woman was told to stop her workouts and leave the centre because Canada Games staff deemed her clothing inappropriate.

A Sub-three reader wrote me via the blog today to say that she was into her second set of dead lifts with weights when centre staff told her she couldn’t continue and would have to leave the centre.

Why? Because she was wearing self-described short-shorts, which she noted don’t reach the knees, “but they’re not revealing any private areas or anything.”

The same reader, Samantha, pointed out she wears what she does for comfort. Samantha said that one set into her workout and she’s “sweating up a storm.”

She also noted that she couldn’t wear much more clothing than she does without becoming “uncomfortably warm.”

But it seems the prudes at Canada Games Centre aren’t concerned about the quality of their patron’s workouts. Rather, they have more important business to attend to: leering at them to decide whether or not they meet the proper clothing standards.

Seriously, what do they think is going to happen? Do they believe their gym is such a sleazy place that an orgy will break out? Why do they even think their patrons should be eye-balling each other?  For that matter, why are they studying their clientele so closely? That’s kind of weird.

Gyms aren’t pick-up joints; people join them to get fit and to train for events. Their patrons dress for comfort, not to excite others.

Apparently, her friend wearing the same running shorts wasn’t told to beat it.  According to the girl’s mother who posted on Facebook, her 20-year-old daughter “now feels really bad about herself.”

Way to go, Canada Games staff! Big props for helping encourage positive body image ideals in young people!

Centre staff reportedly told the woman to leave because the facility is a “family place.”

Back in March when the story about the centre’s odd preoccupation with peoples’ workout gear first broke, the centre told CBC News that the code was “a light-hearted take on an internal awareness campaign of our existing Fitness Centre dress code.”

Apparently, things at the centre are as “light-hearted” as ever.

Not for Samantha. “This is such a bullshit policy,” she wrote Sub-three.

Samantha is particularly unhappy with Hazel Gaudet.  Gaudet, you may recall, is the mysterious, unidentified patron at the centre who gave CBC News all the quotes in the first place about how a ban on short shorts was needed because it made women look “right cheap.”

Samantha commented that Gaudet “gets to wear what she’s comfortable working out in, probably sweat pants and a hoodie. Why can’t I wear what’s comfortable for me to work out in?”

That’s a fair question. Why not?

Olympic 800-metre runner Geoff Harris already publicly castigated the games centre for its strange obsession with athletes’ workout gear, noting his own Nike kit would not pass their stringent, Victorian standards.

Harris may still train at the games centre, but one thing’s certain: Samantha will not.

“Thanks Hazel and company for ruining my workout experience,” she wrote Sub-three. “I’m going to find another gym that actually lets its serious members workout in serious workout gear.”


About subthree

A multiple award-winning journalist, I'm currently a contributing editor with both Canadian Running and Canadian Cycling magazines. My articles have appeared in Explore, Canadian Geographic, enRoute, The National Post, The Globe and Mail, and many other magazines and newspapers. Formerly a competitive cross-country mountain biker, I switched to running in 2006. I've run seven marathons, qualifying for Boston five times (and which I've run once). Generally, I've placed or won in my age group in races, in distances ranging from five and 10 kms to half and full marathons. I've also taught spin classes at a number of leading Eastern Canadian gyms. Sub-three was a 2012 #Runchat finalist for Best Overall Blog.
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11 Responses to A “family place”

  1. Ian Cordner says:

    Ridiculous………leave the clients alone……..they know what they’re doing!

  2. Janet says:

    That’s part of the reason I love the smaller independent fitness centres around HRM (Crossfit, 360) because people there are non-judgemental. It’s all about being the best you can be and that includes being a strong woman. No one comments on your clothes or what you look like, unless your form is off 🙂

  3. Jack says:

    It would appear to be a human rights issue. Restricting a women from a public space on such a weak premise should be investigated by legal authorities. Could criminal charges be next?

  4. Steve says:

    Charles – I know Samantha and her family…. if they (CGC) have issues with her gym wear then we are truly sinking to a new low where the inmates are running the ship. I am curious if Adrienne Power or other elite athletes I have seen train there have been subjected to the same wardrobe criteria.

    We live in a nation where the lack of physical activity is epidemic and now a facility that should be doing everything in its power to encourage exercise is putting up barriers…. truly and unacceptably bizarre.

    • subthree says:

      I would have to agree with the latter point entirely. Good question about the elites as well.

    • Ramblin Runnr says:

      The CGC policy states that shirts must cover the body, and shorts must be mid-thigh or longer. In Samantha’s comments on the Sub-three blog post from March she says herself “None of my shorts even attempt to reach my knees, but theyre still not revealing any private areas or anything. I’ve just gone on wearing my short shorts, and occasionally gotten warnings”.

      Regardless of what the elites wear, or the bizarreness of the policy, it sounds to me as that she was aware of the policy, received more than one warning about her clothes, and then continued to wear the same clothes she received warnings about. It doesn’t seem so outlandish that she was then asked to leave. I am not a member of the CGC, I don’t know Samantha, I imagine she’s a lovely person, and I don’t necessarily agree with the policy, but let’s get grounded.

      Rules are rules, if I break them I expect some consequences. Samantha should go find another gym that allows her to be comfortable (which it sounds like she is), and leave Hazel et al to work out in their non-serious work-out gear at the CGC.

      • Steve says:

        I agree that rules are rules, but I see such a policy as being more appropriate at a private institution… not one that was funded by all taxpayers. By virtue of its very public funding policy it should attempt to be as inclusive as possible.

        As well, why does the clothing rules not roll over to the swimming area where I have often seen women in the skimpiest of bikinis and men in speedos? What makes the workout area different from an apparel perspective?

  5. Ramblin Runnr says:

    Why do you have such a hate on for the Canada Games Centre? They can make any policy they like in their facility. If I don’t agree with it, I can choose to go to another gym, there are plenty of them around HRM. Better yet, go for a run in the great outdoors, it’s free!!

    • subthree says:

      I don’t have a “hate” on for the Canada Games Centre. And, yes, they can make any policy they like. This one just happens to be a particularly bizarre one, though. Yes, I agree. If people don’t like the policy, they’re free to work out elsewhere.

    • no privates showing is my clothing policy says:

      actually it is not a private facility so they can not “make any policy they like in their facillity”. It is funded (in part) through our taxes.

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