People are Pretending to Be Nudists to Buy a Cheap House Near Toronto

Thousands are inquiring about a $350,000 three-bedroom home in a nudist resort about an hour’s drive from Toronto.
November 2, 2021, 3:24pm
You have to be a nudist to live in this 1,300-square-foot house just outside of Hamilton, Ontario. Photo
You have to be a nudist to live in this 1,300-square-foot house just outside of Hamilton, Ontario. Photos by Getty Images (left)/CC Alexander (right)

If you can’t afford a house in the Toronto area by tightening your belt and rolling up your sleeves, maybe you should do away with the belt and shirt altogether. Pants, too. 

A 1,300-square-foot house listed for $350,000 about an hour’s commute away from Toronto is getting thousands of inquiries from young adults hunting for their first house. The neatly manicured residence at 23 Rodeo Drive just outside of Hamilton, Ontario, features three bedrooms, a gazebo, garden space, and a spa bathroom. 

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Oh, and it’s in a nudist resort. 

“Yes, our resort is very affordable to live. But you have to be a nudist here,” said Ponderosa Nature Resort general manager Alyson Walsh. “We’re getting a lot of people that possibly are trying to pretend to be a nudist just to get a reasonable place to live, so we’re being very careful.”

Realtor CC Alexander said her team has received 24,000 inquiries for the property since it was listed Sept. 1, with most coming from people 35 and under. While some are nudists, the vast majority are regular pants-wearing folks desperate for quasi-affordable housing. 

“It’s really inc​​redible the response that we’ve had,” she said. 

Walsh said prospective buyers need to be escorted by a realtor when they come to view the house, and they have to visit at least three times and use the facilities in the buff before they can be approved to buy. 

Some disrobe for their viewings to score extra points.

Only 1 per cent of the 24,000 have made it past the initial screening process. Alexander has received offers, but the seller hasn’t accepted one yet. 

“I get asked crazy questions. I get asked, ‘Can I be a 50 per cent nudist? Can you put it in the offer that I can wear my bottoms, or 50 per cent of clothes?’ It doesn’t work that way,” she said.

“This is a niche. This is definitely not for everyone.”

The buyer will also have to pay $1,000 a month on top of the house price to lease the lot, which includes access to amenities like indoor and outdoor swimming pools and hot tubs, tennis courts, a restaurant and bar, high-speed internet and 98 acres of forest trails.

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Nudity is mandatory at Ponderosa Nature Resort's Olympic-sized swimming pool

Nudity is mandatory at Ponderosa Nature Resort's Olympic-sized swimming pool. Photo by Ponderosa Nature Resort

With the median single-detached house price in the Greater Toronto Area hitting $1.35 million in the third quarter of 2021—and Hamilton exceeding $806,000—millennials and Gen-Zers who don’t want to spend the rest of their lives eating Mr. Noodles and simping for greedy landlords are deciding what they will sacrifice for a place to call their own. Sometimes that means moving away from friends and family, or pooling resources with a group of friends to afford a mortgage. 

Considering the alternatives, compulsory nudity seems reasonable. 

Established in 1964, Ponderosa has about 100 year-round residents and twice that many in the summer. The gated resort is protective of its members, most of whom are in their late 40s or 50s. The current owner of 23 Rodeo Drive, who refused to comment and did not want to be identified, lived in the house for six years.

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The nudity policy on Ponderosa’s website states, “Clothed visitors make our patrons uncomfortable.” Nudity is required in the pools, sauna, and jacuzzis, and preferred everywhere else. 

“It’s not a really easy sell for us, because we are really particular about who’s coming in here,” Walsh said. But as the population ages and some longtime residents are moving out into assisted living facilities, she insisted Ponderosa is ready to welcome more young adults who will respectfully commit to letting it all hang out.

“We love to bring in new nudists. It seems like the nudists are getting a little older, and we just want to keep on growing.”

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