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 two suspects arrested south of 150 Mile House Tuesday, March 2, following a high-speed chase with the RCMP have been charged. (Will Roberts photo)
High-speed chase suspects charged, remain in custody after arrest south of Williams Lake

John Craig and Maggie M. Higgott appeared in Williams Lake Provincial Court March 4

Interior Health reported 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5. (Black Press Files)
Interior Health reports 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5

Over 300,000 vaccine doses have been administered provincewide.

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to Stoney and Minnie lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
36 new cases of COVID-19, one death in Interior Health

The number of active cases in the region is at 366

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
43 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

368 cases in the region remain active

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Kevin Haughton is the founder/technologist of Courtenay-based Clearflo Solutions. Scott Stanfield photo
Islander aims Clearflo clean drinking water system at Canada’s remote communities

Entrepreneur $300,000 mobile system can produce 50,000 litres of water in a day, via solar energy

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Chief Don Tom of the Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA reveals COVID-19 outbreak

Tsartlip First Nation chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA apologizes

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Most Read