Unbeknownst to younger generations, Aldergrove was once home to a nudist club known for its social activities and controversies – most notably, the annual Miss Nude competitions.
Despite the club being covered by reporters frequently at the time, the history of the club is not so easy to find – even through a thorough Google search.
Through reviewing newspaper clippings provided by the Alder Grove Heritage Society (sic), the Aldergrove Star was able to piece together the story of how Meadowbrook Sun Club formed.
It began in April 1963, according to the book Au Naturel: The History of Nudism in Canada by James Edward Woycke.
After being displeased with another club, named Sunny Trails, the founders of Meadowbrook created a space that placed nudity at the forefront of their commitments and promoted a relaxed environment.
Initially based in Surrey for its first season, the club soon moved to a five-acre plot of land shrouded in big trees, located at 25340 58th Ave.
By 1968, the club had a membership of 50 adults and 30 children, as written by Woycke.
Throughout 1968, Meadowbrook also placed advertisements in the Langley Advance newspaper. The ads highlight an active club offering volleyball, swimming, and horseshoes. It encourages people to mail inquiries to a Surrey P.O. box, assuring the public that they would remain confidential.
The club was well known for its many social events, frequently holding open houses, fun fairs, and the annual Western Canadian Sunbathing Association convention. Open to the public, these highly popular events contained games, fires, musical entertainment, and even plays.
The annual Miss Nude Pacific Northwest competition first arrived at Meadowbrook in 1972. The event was an elimination round for the Miss Nude World competition at the Four Seasons club in Ontario, to which the winner of the Pacific Northwest competition would attend all expenses paid.
During the first year, then 29-year-old Lorraine Sauerland Seattle took the crown, according to an article in the Langley Advance.
In 1974, controversy arose when professional dancer Patty Anne Knight won the Miss Nude Pacific Northwest title. As described in an Langley Advance article from July 25, 1974, audience members and Knight’s fellow competitors claimed she is not a true nudist due to only joining the Meadowbrook club that weekend.
Contestants were so unhappy that, the runner-ups refused to return to the stage for their trophies.
Following what Woycke described as ongoing disagreements over how the club should run, the Meadowbrook Sun Club dissolved in 1977.
Nevertheless, B.C. remains a popular spot for nudist clubs. Canada’s oldest nudist club, the Van Tan Club, can still be found in Vancouver.
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