The Caddy Shack. (Colleen Flanagan – THE NEWS)

The Caddy Shack. (Colleen Flanagan – THE NEWS)

One of B.C’s last surviving strip clubs baring all again for Christmas charity

25th annual event is Sunday and raises money for the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society.

The annual Strip-a-thon at the Caddy Shack in downtown Maple Ridge may be nearing its last dance.

But the music will play and the dancers will disrobe again this Sunday to help bring happiness during the holidays to those in need, just as they have for 25 years.

Since 1994, the charity event, for which exotic dancers and club staff donate wages or tips for the day, has raised around $300,000 for the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society.

However, the Haney Hotel, which includes the Caddy Shack, has been for sale since last year, and the holder of the liquor licences for the property doesn’t intend to keep a strip club running once a deal is complete.

READ ALSO: Maple Ridge landmark properties up for sale.

The Caddy Shack would then join a long list of other such clubs that have closed in the Lower Mainland in recent years – the Cecil Hotel and Fraser Arms in Vancouver, Mugs and Jugs in New Westminster, the Barnett Motor Inn in Port Moody, the Wild Duck Inn in Port Coquitlam, the Alder Inn in Langley and Club Climax in Maple Ridge, to name a few.

And when the Caddy Shack follows, the Christmas hamper – a charity that provides gifts and food for registered families – will have to replace what has become its largest annual source of donations.

Yvan Charette has been general manager of the Haney Hotel, located at the corner of Lougheed Highway and the Haney Bypass, since 2005 and co-owner since 2010.

Charette, who has the liquor licences for the Haney Hotel site, said the Caddy Shack moved to its current location at the back of the building in the 1980s.

RELATED: Strip-a-thon in Maple Ridge hits a new high.

He said many factors have contributed to the closure of strip clubs in the region, the main one being the internet. Another is that some were in older buildings that have since been redeveloped.

Changes to smoking laws in 2002 and 2008 also affecting such clubs, Charette added.

“They made everybody put these smoke rooms in that were extravagant amounts of money with glass and ventilation and stuff, and when those were taken out, some places were hit hard by it,” said Charette.

The Caddy Shack was able to rebound, he added.

Stricter impaired driving laws in more recent years affected business, as well, he said.

“I remember when this happened, we lost 90 per cent of our sales Monday through Thursday the first week because nobody understood, nobody knew, even me as an operator, did not understand the whole thing,” said Charette.

But, again, the Caddy Shack bounced back.

One constant through all of the changes, though, has been the success of the Strip-a-thon.

Romana Van Lissum was a shooter girl at the Caddy Shack when it first held the Strip-a-thon. She has since written a handful of books about waitressing at the Caddy Shack, including one detailing the lives of exotic dancers.

She said they used to wear lavish costumes and could make good money, back when bikers frequented the club and drugs were more present.

But times have changed.

Lissum is now semi-retired, working only once a week at the Caddy Shack, mainly to maintain friendships.

Mary Able, whose last name is now Adu-Poku, was manager of the Caddy Shack and organized the first Strip-a-thon. Back then, each department of the hotel was asked to do some kind of charity work.

Adu-Poku went to see the director of the Christmas hamper society because, she said, a lot of people did not want to accept donations from the strip club or its dancers.

The first Strip-a-thon sold out and raised $7,000.

“We charged, I believe it was $5 to get in the place and $7 at the door,” said Adu-Poku, who now works in the cash office for the Haney Hotel.

There was a lot of backlash from the community at the time, she added.

People would write to the paper that they didn’t think it was right that the Christmas hamper society was taking money from dancers, she said.

Adu-Poku ignored such comments because “kids don’t care where their toys come from or where their food comes from.”

She said there are fewer such complaints today.

This year’s event will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. and feature 15 performers throughout the day.

It will again have a silent auction and a raffle featuring golf packages, golf bags, hockey tickets, took kits, a karaoke machine, table and chairs, beer recliner, large screen TVs, NHL jerseys and children’s toys, including bicycles.

And there will again be a bra auction, with some fetching as much as $2,000.

Last year’s event raised $24,666 and attracted 200 patrons.

The Strip-a-thon set a record in 2016, raising $37,700 in what was a send-off for Tom Cameron, a long-time volunteer with the Christmas Hamper Society who passed away from leukemia just weeks after the event.

Lorraine Bates, with the hamper society, said the annual Caddy Shack donation alone pays for the entire food bill for all the registered families to have a Christmas meal.

“If it went, that would be a big hole,” Bates said of the Strip-a-thon.

The Caddy Shack is the single largest donor to the hamper society, which operated on a budget of $73,000 last year.

Charette said the Caddy Shack – one of at least five remaining strip clubs in the Lower Mainland – could be around for another five or 10 years.

But once the land is sold, he added, a developer will knock down the buildings. He would still have the liquor licenses for the property and any new commercial buildings, although he wouldn’t continue operation of the Caddy Shack.

He and his wife have discussed how to help the Christmas hamper society afterwards. But, for now, he is focused on this year’s event.

He said the goal, before the last dance, is to set a new Strip-a-thon record: $40,000.


 

cflanagan@mapleridgenews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

One of B.C’s last surviving strip clubs baring all again for Christmas charity

One of B.C’s last surviving strip clubs baring all again for Christmas charity

Just Posted

The Cowichan Valley Arts Council is offering courses in drawing May through August 2021. (Submitted)
A&E column: Art is everywhere in the Cowichan Valley

What’s going in the Cowichan Valley arts and entertainment community

The CVRD introduces new app to contact residents during emergencies, a tool that chairman Aaron Stone says will improve communications. (File photo)
CVRD launches new app to spread information during emergencies

Cowichan Alert is a free app that can be downloaded onto smartphones, computers

A B.C. Centre for Disease Control map showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 25-May 1. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 case counts continue to trend down

Fewer than 200 active cases on the Island, down from highs of 500-plus earlier this spring

The Malahat SkyWalk will open to visitors in July 2021. (Malahat SkyWalk photo)
Malahat SkyWalk will open to visitors this July

Highly anticipated attraction will take guests 250m above sea level

FILE PHOTO
Editorial: Time to roll up our sleeves and pitch in

They’re just not quite sure they want to get a vaccine — yet

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C.’s first electric school bus making the rounds in Victoria suburbs

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

Victoria police say the photo they circulated of an alleged cat thief was actually a woman taking her own cat to the vet. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Photo of suspected cat thief released by Victoria police actually just woman with her pet

Police learned the she didn’t steal Penelope the cat, and was actually taking her cat to the vet

The Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent sails past a iceberg in Lancaster Sound, Friday, July 11, 2008. The federal government is expected to end nearly two years of mystery today and reveal its plan to build a new, long overdue heavy icebreaker for the Canadian Coast Guard. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver, Quebec shipyards to each get new heavy icebreaker, cost remains a mystery

Vancouver’s Seaspan Shipyards and Quebec-based Chantier Davie will each build an icebreaker for the coast guard

Findings indicate a culture of racism, misogyny and bullying has gripped the game with 64 per cent of people involved saying players bully others outside of the rink. (Pixabay)
Misogyny, racism and bullying prevalent across Canadian youth hockey, survey finds

56% of youth hockey players and coaches say disrespect to women is a problem in Canada’s sport

Most Read