Entertainment is something that every single human needs and what we find entertaining typically varies from person to person. Sure, while most of us can agree on some television shows or musicians that are loved across the globe, there are some other "risque" forms of entertainment that many Canadians find taboo.
Strip clubs used to be the place where guys would get together on the weekends and girls would go for their bachelorette parties. For years, the sex industry has always been at the epicenter of controversy and stigma but flourished nonetheless. Now, we've noticed that a few changes that have forced dozens of strip clubs across the country to shut down.
Here's an in-depth look at the downfall of the great Canadian strip club.
Throughout history, people have treated sex, though a natural act to start a family, as taboo. This treatment has created issues for workers in the sex industry also, including those working in strip clubs across Canada.
Last week, The Globe and Mail released a story about how strip clubs in Canada are dying out. While Saskatchewan openly bans strip joints from operating, both Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island's were Canadian provinces that lost their last clubs earlier in 2018.
The story also informed people that in Canadian territories like the Yukon or Nunavut there are no permanent strip clubs that are open. Even the biggest cities in Canada, like Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, are beginning to notice a decline in their customers and there are a lot of reasons behind it.
Some of the biggest stars in Hollywood started by dancing around a stripper pole. Channing Tatum has never been coy about how he started his entertainment career by stripping.
We are also living in the era of the internet meaning that adult entertainment can be enjoyed at home, instead of heading out to a club to fork out money for dancers. Not only is that easier for Canadians, it's also lighter on their wallets as the country has dealt with an economic downturn.
While strip clubs are legal in Canada, each individual province and city gets to decides how to regulate them. That's why Saskatchewan has ultimately decided to ban them since 2015 unless it's for charity.
As of the 2018 new year, Kingston, Ontario was forced to shut down the city's only strip club due to changing policies in the city. Kingston Police and the city decided not to renew the Plaza's Gentleman's Lounge license after it expired on December 31, 2017.
The Kingston strip club had to fight for their license to be renewed and it required a family co-owner to be fired due to drug charges. Even the citizens of Kingston started a petition to keep the club closed, but they reopened their doors in February after 20 employees were out of work for just under two months.
Still, the story of the Plaza's Gentlemen's Lounge is a rare one when it comes to the Canadian strip club scene and that's because opinions about the profession are changing.
While some people are starting to use pole dancing as a way to stay fit, workers in the stripping industry are still facing challenges when it comes to the stigma around it.
Because of the ban in Saskatchewan, strippers claim that not being able to dance in establishments that serve alcohol is what puts them in bad situations. Typically strippers must perform at home or public spaces, which puts them at risk for harassment.
Others in Ontario have faced city-wide bans of sexual touching, something that workers feel should be allowed if consensual. Not only does it limit the performing a worker can do, it also limits how much money they can make.
Development of major cities is also what's putting these workers at risk, not of harassment, but just losing their job completely. Toronto alone previously had over 60 strip clubs and now due to the massive development of properties, only about a dozen are left standing.
So what does this all mean? It means that the shift in recent years has truly been devastating to those working in the strip club industry. Living in the era of #MeToo and the next wave of feminism, will strip clubs soon be part of the past?
For now, it's hard to say. There are occasions that many feel a trip to the strip club is required for, like a bachelor or bachelorette party, even a wild birthday bash sometimes. But the way we may see stripping could evolve.
Time will tell where this profession is headed but for now, it seems like strip clubs are shutting down across the country.