“I’m very unimpressed with the way people view the industry, and the way they see us,” said Tokyn Thompson, a current dancer and the former owner of the Tiger Lily Cabaret in Saskatoon.“We’re still educated, intelligent, and still human, and it was really hard reading what people say about you, and what people assume about you.” Thompson was among an industry group that fought the ban’s reinstatement.He says that even in the large area he works from, business has dropped off precipitously within the last decade.Circumstances are just as tough in smaller Ontario markets too.While Saskatoon stands as an extreme example, a checkerboard of laws and regulations, at the municipal, provincial and federal levels, govern the operation of these clubs around the country. Manitoba laws state that dancers must have the majority of their buttocks covered when not dancing on the main stage. It was a good business, but not as much now,’ said Spiro Koumoudouros, owner of both the House of Lancaster and House of Lancaster II, in Toronto.Toronto requires all strip club managers to be “ But the laws are serious business, and they have barred the industry from recruiting new talent, operating close to residential neighbourhoods, and in some cases, turning a profit. Koumoudouros is among the last businessmen who own multiple clubs in the city.
Consequently, Thompson’s performances in bars had to stop, and she was also barred from performing at private parties, previously the lifeblood of her business.While Toronto’s clubs have not fared well, other smaller markets have faced unique challenges relating to the patchwork of laws each province operates under.Irving estimates that there are over 100 hotels in Manitoba that were booking his dancers.Canada has had a checkered history with strip clubs, and some of the most vigorous constitutional debates have stemmed from their operation.Starting with Canada’s first completely nude strip club, the aptly-named Pandora’s Box in Ottawa, litigation over the right of these clubs to operate ran throughout the.of increasing organized crime and exploitation of young women.