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

FILE - In this April 19, 2021, file photo, Keidy Ventura, 17, receives her first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in West New York, N.J. States across the country are dramatically scaling back their COVID-19 vaccine orders as interest in the shots wanes, putting the goal of herd immunity further out of reach. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
5 more deaths, 131 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health over the weekend

Those 18-years and older in high-transmission neighbourhoods can register for the vaccine

Danny Fulton receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Coast Capri Hotel on April 27. The pop-up clinic was hosted by the First Nations Health Authority. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
All adults in Rutland, Summerland now eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccine

Province expands age range to 18+ for vaccinations in ‘high transmission’ areas

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Penticton RCMP search for 2 suspicious men

Police searching the area of Arawana Forest Service Road

Penticton Lions are hoping to send kids and adults with disabilities to Camp Winfield through a 50/50 raffle draw on now. (Submitted)
Penticton’s Lion’s Club helps to send kids to Camp Winfield

Online 50/50 raffle tickets will send kids and adults with disabilities to Camp Winfield

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Winnipeg Jets’ Andrew Copp (9) and Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mike Smith (41) watch an incoming shot during second period NHL action in Winnipeg, Monday, April 26, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
‘Very jealous’: Canadian teams can’t take advantage of NHL’s relaxed COVID-19 rules

League eased some tight COVID-19 health and safety protocols over the weekend for fully vaccinated clubs

A map of Huu-ay-aht-owned forestry cutblock. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
B.C. First Nations restrict access to territory in wake of forestry standoffs

Huu-ay-aht set up checkpoints after heated and dangerous incidents on southwest Vancouver Island

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a ‘person of interest’ in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
RCMP identify ‘person of interest’ in Kootenay National Park suspicious death

Police are looking for Philip Toner, who was known to a woman found dead near Radium last week

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko (35) makes a save on Winnipeg Jets’ Nate Thompson (11) during second period NHL action in Winnipeg, Monday, May 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
Vancouver Canucks see NHL playoff hopes dashed despite 3-1 win over Winnipeg

Montreal Canadiens earn final North Division post-season spot

The southern mountain caribou, an iconic species for the Splatsin First Nation, is threatened with extinction, much to the dismay of the First Nation. (Province of B.C. photo)
Okanagan First Nation band concerned over dwindling caribou herd

Southern mountain caribou at risk of extinction, much to dismay of Splatsin First Nation near Enderby

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
UPDATE: Winfield road open following police, coroner investigation

Pelmewash Parkway closure near Highway 97 connection

Kelowna resident Sally Wallick helped rescue a kayaker in distress a week and a half ago. (Sally Wallick/Contributed)
VIDEO: Kelowna woman rescues capsized kayaker in Okanagan Lake

Sally Wallick is asking people to be prepared for the cold water and unpredictable winds

The B.C. legislature went from 85 seats to 87 before the 2017 election, causing a reorganization with curved rows and new desks squeezed in at the back. The next electoral boundary review could see another six seats added. (Black Press files)
B.C. election law could add 6 seats, remove rural protection

North, Kootenays could lose seats as cities gain more

Most Read