|Forty years ago, in 1969, one man had a vision to create a place where
families could enjoy social nudism. It would lead to what became the most
successful and longest running owner-operated nudist club in Canada. This
is the story of Crocus Grove — the place and the people.
Leon Prucyk delivered papers for the Winnipeg Free Press. His
pickup point had naturist magazines from Europe on display. Reading them
gave him an interest in social nudism. He and his wife Evelyn and their
children joined the local Manitoba Outdoor Club, whose members enjoyed
swimming in the nude at a friend's lakeside cottage at Beaconia beach.
Passing motorboats eventually made this difficult to enjoy au naturel
so Leon decided to look for something more suitable. He dreamed of a place
close to where he lived and worked in Winnipeg
where families could go to enjoy social nudism, so he began to plan how
to realize that dream.
In 1969, after a lot of searching, Leon found a 60 acre heavily wooded
property on a high sandy ridge with pine trees bowing in the wind, the
fresh scent of pine in the air and squirrels running about. It was an hour's
drive north of Winnipeg. The trees provided a good screen from curious
eyes and there was an all weather sand trail road.
An Executive was formed to run the Club with Leon. Everyone worked together.
The Executive held meetings, set policies and planned events. In later
years, it also handled some media communications.
In June of 1969, Leon applied for a charter for Crocus Grove Sun Club,
with Sunny Chinooks acting as the sponsor. In August of that year the American
Association for Nude Recreation (then called the American Sunbathing
Association, or ASA), granted the Prucyks a charter for their clothing-optional
By 1971, Leon and John S. had cut a road all the way into the property
and a fence had been erected to keep out curiosity seekers and wandering
livestock from neighbouring farms. Ivan helped Leon dig a well by hand.
There was a toilet and the beginnings of a volleyball court. Members pooled
their money and purchased a 24-foot diameter above-ground pool.
1971 saw electricity introduced to the grounds. A pool filter and an
electric pump were installed, which eliminated the hours of hand pumping
required to fill the above-ground pool. It also provided drinking water.
Plans were made to recruit new members and for the construction of more
facilities. People pitched in to dig a line to the areas without running
water. Leon supplied the pipes and members who wanted water for their lots
did the work of laying that line.
One member, Carl, was a first year apprentice bricklayer so he worked
on the construction of the first building on the grounds, the sauna building,
in 1973. Leon supplied the materials and some of the other members lent
a hand with the construction, working in the hot summer sun mixing mortar
and laying cement blocks. It was the Club's fourth year.
In 1976 an in-ground pool replaced the above-ground one. It was a big
project that saw practically everyone take a turn at helping in one way
In the spring of 1977, while they were in Winnipeg shopping, Leon and
Evelyn's cottage was stuck by lightening and burned to the ground. They
rebuilt it that summer. The clubhouse was constructed at the same time
and had a dining room, second floor lounge and small kitchen.
Membership was growing and ads were placed in a local newspaper advertising
the clothing-optional resort. Over the years, Crocus Grove Sun Club has
been written about in local newspapers and visited by television crews.
Stories have appeared on local supper hour news, interviews have been on
radio stations and articles have been written in the Winnipeg Sun
and Winnipeg Free Press. A French radio station from Winnipeg even
sent a reporter out to do a story. Crocus Grove was accepted by both the
public and the media.
Crocus Grove's family-oriented atmosphere and affordable rates attracted
many families, and the shouts and laughter of children enjoying the pool
or children's play area could be heard echoing throughout the campground
on sunny summer days.
The laid back atmosphere was interspersed with a wide range of social
activities: pot luck suppers, camp fire sing-alongs, nude Olympics, the
annual chili cook off, games nights, cribbage tournaments, wine and cheese,
an annual Irish party, theme dances, wiener and corn roasts and of course,
volleyball. Volleyball has remained a passion with the membership. Trophies
have been won for volleyball tournaments at AANR
and WCANR (now AANR Western
Canadian Region) conventions and are displayed in the clubhouse.
Other sports that have become part of life at Crocus Grove include badminton,
mini golf, croquet, horseshoes, and shuffleboard. There's also table tennis
and a recent addition, Bocce ball. Ladder golf was introduced a few years
ago by Harry and is slowly gaining attention.
The long, cold Manitoba winters don't prevent members from getting together.
In recent years a bowling night, a roast beef dinner evening and a February
breakfast have been planned and were very well attended. Volleyball at
a local community center has been added. Unfortunately, all events are
textile but they enable people to stay connected until spring.
Crocus Grove Sun Club is full of interesting people. Each person contributes
to the club's atmosphere and spirit in some unique way. For forty years,
people from diverse backgrounds have come together at Crocus Grove to enjoy
the nudist lifestyle with its many benefits while engaging in sports and
social activities. Over the years, members have come and gone. Some have
moved on to other interests while others have died, yet each one has brought
something to Crocus Grove that has helped make it the special place that
After a long struggle with cancer, Leon died in 2005. The loss of the
club's founder and champion of nudism was a very difficult time for all.
A co-op was formed with the intention of buying the campground from Evelyn.
However, funding goals proved to be too difficult to complete that model
of ownership. In 2006, members Ray and Sue took a hard look at what they
could do to keep nudism alive in Manitoba. They came forward and made an
offer to purchase, which was accepted. It was their intention to keep the
campground a clothing-optional community.
Crocus Grove Sun Club has survived two fires, the death of its founder,
a failed attempt at becoming a co-op and the sale of the property. It has
shown the power of a dream and what people can accomplish when they work
Our history is about crocuses and buildings, but that's only part of
the story. Our history is also about the community that we've built over
forty years. Over those years, Crocus Grove Sun Club has shown the strength
and beauty of community through a group of people who have lived the nudist
philosophy of acceptance, tolerance and care for each other. What Crocus
Grove expresses so well in its members is also part of our history and
what we celebrate today.
More than forty years ago, in 1969, one man had a vision to create a place
where families could enjoy social nudism. It would lead to what became
the most successful and longest running owner-operated nudist club in Canada
— Crocus Grove.
Sadly, this man's dream came to an abrupt end in April of 2010 when
the couple who had purchased the original property from his widow in 2006
unexpectedly closed it to nudist use.
With its members now suddenly left without a home, Crocus Grove Sun
Club's executive board immediately held an emergency brainstorming session
from which emerged the concept that would become Naturist Legacy Inc. Modeled
after a land trust (also known as a land conservancy), this new private
corporation would own and manage land in such a way that both the land's
natural heritage and our right to enjoy it as nudists would be preserved
Crocus Grove Sun Club officially evolved into Naturist Legacy Inc. on
September 11, 2010. New property was
purchased shortly thereafter. With a new board of directors, new governing
documents and an entirely new attitude towards business management, Naturist
Legacy has become the steward of landed social nudism in Manitoba. Created
and operated by and for nudists, this new corporation will own, develop
and care for its land while permanently protecting it for family-friendly
Naturist Legacy exists today because of the sheer tenacity of a small
and determined group of dedicated nudists unwilling to relinquish their
cherished way of life, or to let the dream of Crocus Grove's founder fade
away. In the face of undeserved adversity, they devised a business model
that has earned them a new home of their own and achieved a level of permanency
for their nudism that was heretofore unknown.
We invite you to learn more about Naturist Legacy by visiting our new