How Do Strip Clubs Work in Canada?

Want to know how strip clubs work in Canada? Need a few pointers before you go?

Whether you’ve never been to a strip club before or are visiting a Canadian strip club for the first time, there is some standard etiquette to know as well as some quirky rules and laws in the Great White North. From the differences in tipping to the contact rules, there are even strange quirks to the kind of music that can be played.

To help prevent anyone from being thrown out on their ear by a burly bouncer, we’ve put together our beginner’s guide to what to expect and how to behave in a Canadian strip club.

Strips Clubs in Canada

Since the first nude strip venue opened in Ottawa in 1971 (Pandora’s Box) the row over how these kinds of clubs have been run has been heavily debated in Canada. From exactly what can be shown to what can be touched and some quirky laws in between, Canada has had a checkered relationship with the performance art of striptease.

strip clubs canada

Strip clubs in Canada have had an unsettled history with some quirky laws and periods of strong public disapproval. Image via Wikipedia.

The current legal position in Canada is that stripping is acceptable; however, each province and individual cities may choose to regulate strip clubs according to their own ‘nuisance laws’.

This situation has led to a lot of confusion, plenty of embarrassing situations and a global reputation for flip-flopping which has left many visitors in the dark about what is allowed and what is not. The resulting decline in visitor numbers has forced a number of strip clubs to close their doors. In Toronto alone, more than 30 strip clubs have closed over the last two decades with just 15 remaining venues.

The Quirks of Strip Clubs in Canada

So, if strip clubs are legal, what are the quirks that customers should be aware of when it comes to visiting a Canadian striptease venue?

  • Stripping in Saskatchewan was prohibited in venues where liquor was sold until a turnaround in 2014. The change in law allowed licensed clubs to hold strip shows twice a month as long as a strict police screening process was followed. The change in legislature was short-lived and the city reversed the decision by the end of 2015. As a result, stripping in the province is only permitted with a liquor license at charity events.
  • Local laws in Toronto state that managers of strip clubs in the city must be ‘neat and clean in his of her person and civil and well behaved’.
  • Manitoba laws require dancers to ensure that (the majority of) their buttocks be covered up whilst not on stage. The province also states that clubs must first be a hotel before they can be a strip club.
  • In London, Ontario only four strip clubs may operate in the city.
  • In Calgary there are bylaws which mean that there is strictly no touching between the dancers and customers. The rules state that dancers must remain three feet from the guests.
  • Full contact dancing in Montreal is legal but does not happen at all clubs.

Zoning regulations in many cites mean that new strip clubs are often only able to open for business in industrial areas.

strip clubs canada how do they work

Strip clubs in Canada face a difficult future with provincial laws forcing them out of the cities. Image via Wikipedia.

Top Tips for a Night Out in a Canadian Strip Club

So, you’re planning a night out at a strip club in Montreal, Vancouver or Ottawa and want to know how to make the evening go smoothly. Don’t forget these tips and you will be sure to be a popular customer that any club would want as a repeat guest.

#1: Be a Gentleman

Whether you are attending a strip club in Paris or Las Vegas, Macau or Dallas the expectation is that men will behave as gentlemen. This applies if you are visiting with a bachelor party or as the guest of your business associate. Failure to maintain the appropriate levels of respect towards the dancers and all other staff is your one-way ticket to the sidewalk.

We know that it can be all too easy to get carried away by the raunchy performers, heady music and beer but common courtesy is expected at all times.

This doesn’t mean to say that you can’t have fun, let your hair down and get a little wild but just remember the boundaries. Strippers are not just nude bodies there for your pleasure – they are women who are providing a service and deserve to be treated with respect.

kama sutra club montreal

Most strip clubs offer refined environments so take your cues from the type of place you are in but always remember to respect the dancers. Image via Kama Sutra, Montreal.

#2: Be a Generous Tipper, Don’t be a Freeloader

Tipping is an important part of strip club culture and all strip club dancers expect to be appreciated by their audience. However, in Canada things are slightly different to the US. South of the border, the good old single is useful for slipping into the thong of a dancer or throwing on stage. In Canada, you won’t have helped but notice but the currency for singles is a coin and not a banknote. Not only would throwing coins onto the stage be a hazard but where would the dancer put them?!

Most clubs run a system by which you tip the bouncer on arrival at a rate of around $5 to $10 per person.

However, some strip clubs do accept the ‘Looney’ (silver Canadian dollar) with dancers using it as an enticement for tips. Seen in Calgary, girls perform the ‘Looney toss’ in which they affix a single silver dollar to their naked body and invite customers to dislodge it by throwing more money at them. Collecting the coins can be an interesting (and entertaining) show in itself with many not using their hands.

Some clubs operate a container tipping policy where coins (and notes) can be deposited at the front of the stage for each performer.

#3: Spread the Love and Don’t Forget the Rest of the Staff

It’s not only the dancers who work hard all evening to make your night out go with a bang. Remember to take extra cash to pay gratuities to the bar and waiting staff as well as the bathroom attendant. Showing your gratitude helps to make your evening go well and, if you ever plan on coming back, can make you far more popular than the guy who didn’t put his hand in his pocket.

#4: Save the Selfies – No Photography Allowed

If you are spotted by the management taking photos (or videos) with your phone then you (and your pictures) are history. As well as ejecting you from the club, it is common practice to erase the contents of your phone. Leave your phone in your jacket and enjoy the moment, the memory of an evening in a Canadian strip club will certainly outlive your hangover.

beginners guide to strip clubs in canada

Camera’s are strictly forbidden in strip clubs so leave the souvenir shots for outside the club. Image via Flickr.

#5: Do a Little Research

All strip clubs vary even in the same city or town and just as no two clubs are alike in style and décor, the pricing can be very different too.

Check in advance just how much things cost including beer, VIP seating and lap dances. If you can’t find out via the website or with a little research then make sure you ask before you buy. Having a clear head is critical to avoid winding up with a bill you can’t afford to pay.

#6: Dress to Impress and Don’t Forget to Groom

Dancers go to quite some effort to make sure they look and smell great when they are performing for guests. It’s only right that the guys do the same and, believe us when we say, it will be appreciated. You will notice the difference between stripper who is dancing for a customer who looks good and smells good vs one that could have just crawled out of bed.

Do it well and you may find that you are in demand rather than being ignored.

#7: Respect the Line

If a girl makes you hot under the collar during her performance or in a private lap dance then she has done her job and done it well. Some clubs do offer more intimate services but these are made clear and you will never have to ask…the opportunity to ‘upsell’ you an intimate service will not be missed.

So, don’t ever ask for sexual acts. Not only could it land you in hot water with the door staff but is very disrespectful to the performers.

strippers canadian strip clubs

Remember that strippers in any club are just doing a job. Show them the proper respect by giving them a right to privacy. Image via Saint Pete’s Men’s Club, Edmonton.

#8: Remember the Dancers Have a Right to Privacy

It can easy to get carried away when a woman has spent ten minutes with her intimate parts in your face but remember that the ‘bond’ you feel is simply a job done well.

Don’t ask for a stripper’s real name or information about her private life. The majority of strippers like to keep their personal life separate from their work.

Another essential tip is, if you see your stripper outside of the club then never approach her and certainly don’t embarrass her by revealing what she does for a living. A lot of girls keep their evening work hidden from friends and family and you could be making a mountain of problems for her. Remember the first rule and ‘Be a Gentleman’.

9#: Go Easy on the Booze

Sure, you are hitting a strip club for a reason, right? You want to have fun and drink but just remember that too much alcohol will not only stop you from remembering most of the tips we’ve given you and possibly get you in trouble with the bouncers or help you rack up a huge bill but it is likely you won’t remember what could be a memorable night out.

Lastly, and something you should bear in mind no two clubs are the same. Just because something is allowed in one club you’ve visited in Canada, doesn’t mean to say that you can get away with it elsewhere. It’s always worth checking the websites or, if in doubt, asking the staff. There’s little that’s as embarrassing as being ejected from a strip club.

Featured image via Wikipedia.

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