Monday, December 18, 2017
With Caddy's closing, another Toronto strip club bites the dust
For decades, Caddy’s Adult Entertainment provided blue collar men with an escape from the drudgery of their lives, wives and troubles.
But now, Caddy’s is shutting down the neon lights, thumping music and bevy of beauties. The sounds of Bob Seger’s Strut and Styx’s Lady have long since faded.
The strip joint is a casualty of changing times and an emerging new morality. It joins Jilly’s, House of Lancaster, Cheaters and probably dozens of others on the peeler palace slag heap.
“The business used to be a lot of fun,” said Mary Taylor, a former stripper who’s founder of the Exotic Dancer’s Association.
“And it was a way for girls to put themselves through school or put some money together for a fresh start. That’s all gone.”
In 1998, there were 47 strip joints in Toronto. That number has plummeted to around 12, according to the City of Toronto’s Municipal Licensing and Standards office.
It’s not the end, but you can see it from here.
“It’s called the Internet,” added Valerie Scott, a former stripper and sex worker activist. She also sees something more insidious in the naked truth facing strip clubs.
“The religious right and radical feminists have formed an unholy alliance in the U.S., and it’s coming here,” said Scott, who noted many municipalities have grandfathered their cabaret licenses, meaning they won’t be issuing new permits.
Former hotbeds of peeling have seen the disappearance of dozens of the clubs. Hamilton is down to one strip joint while Oshawa has none.
Strip joints are barred altogether from St. Catharines.
Some smaller communities have not been as aggressive as Toronto in eradicating strip clubs but their days could be numbered, too.
“For politicians, closing strip clubs is win-win. They get cheered from the right and the left,” Scott said, adding that local political hacks “are only too happy to oblige.
“There is no outcry and they are dying a slow death.”
With a burgeoning new morality in the U.S., the impending demise of net neutrality, and a retreat from “anything vaguely sexual,” Scott believes the end is nigh.
“But with a crackdown on Internet porn looming, you never know, strip clubs could become popular again,” she said.
One regular patron said the action has moved to backpage.com, massage parlours and the web.
“You go to a lot of strip joints these days and it’s just a dozen or so sad sacks, they’re not much fun anymore,” the enthusiast said. “Even Niagara Falls is down to just two … when the dollar was low, there were half a dozen filled with free-spending Americans. Not now.”
And there is also a dancer deficit.
Osgoode Hall professor Alan Young said the stripper shortage is killing the business.
When Canadian women — particularly from Quebec — began turning their noses up at doffing their duds in dimly-lit rooms full of lonely men, strip club owners had to turn elsewhere.
“The origins of the demise of strip clubs began in the Harper era when certain VISA restrictions were placed on women coming from Eastern European countries for work in strip clubs,” Young told the Sun.
“The majority of strippers came from Eastern Europe and with the shortage of strippers many clubs started to close.”
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