Every year, members of the St. Catharines Fire Combat Team strip down and flex their muscles for a good cause with proceeds going to charity. (St. Catharines Fire Department photo)

Every year, members of the St. Catharines Fire Combat Team strip down and flex their muscles for a good cause with proceeds going to charity. (St. Catharines Fire Department photo)

No shirts, no city services: Firefighter calendar too steamy for Ontario officials

The city has never funded the calendars, but has OK’d photoshoots at city-owned properties

An Ontario city is telling its firefighters to turn down the heat on their steamy annual calendar or risk losing municipal backing for the fundraiser.

Every year, members of the St. Catharines Fire Combat Team strip down and flex their muscles for a good cause with proceeds going to charity.

But now local officials say firefighters either have to cover up or not wear their uniforms for the shoot, because municipal resources can’t be used for the publication of bare-chested photos of employees.

Deputy chief administrative officer David Oakes insisted the no shirts, no city services mandate isn’t meant to discourage do-gooding, but to uphold standards of “respect and dignity” in the workplace.

“We support the notion of charity,” Oakes said Thursday.

“But when they’re using city resources, we want to make sure that it’s respectful of our workforce and some of the conditions that we have throughout all departments.”

Oakes said the change was prompted by a city employee who complained about a calendar depicting partially undressed women that was displayed in a municipal facility.

While investigating the issue, Oakes said the mostly male firefighters’ calendar was put forward as evidence of a gender-based ”double standard,” so the city decided to crack down on skin-baring images of both men and women.

READ MORE: Mermen calendar targets ‘toxic masculinity,’ raises big money for charities

While the city has never funded the calendars, it has allowed firefighters to incorporate city-owned property into the photos.

The decision means firefighters are now barred from staging shoots in city firehouses, and cannot include equipment, logos and uniforms into the scene, if they bare skin.

They can still use city settings and gear if they dress more modestly, Oakes added.

Ryan Madill, the president of the St. Catharines Professional Firefighters Association, said the department has been putting out calendars on-and-off for about a quarter century.

In recent years, the calendar has featured topless members of the crew’s combat team, who compete in firefighting-themed athletic contests, and has included a female firefighter, who appeared in a sports bra.

The 2020 calendar consists of 12 months of musclemen posing with all manner of flame-quenching equipment.

Mr. September wields an axe before a rack of jackets and bags packed for the next emergency call.

Mr. June casually clasps a handful of hoses hanging from above, while Mr. April flashes a smile while hanging from the back of a fire truck.

And of course, the models show off their six-packs for every season.

But with the city’s new restrictions, Madill said it remains to be seen whether they’ll release a 2021 edition.

“I don’t want to comment on whether (the city was) right or wrong, other than to say that all of the participants in the calendar were willing, and we had no complaints from anyone from the public,” said Madill.

“It’s unfortunate that we lose that ability to generate funds to go to charity.”

Last year, the combat team raised $18,000 for mental health services in St. Catharines between calendar sales and a fashion show, said Madill. These initiatives not only serve as a form of community outreach, he said, but also a “morale booster.”

He said firefighters spend many off-duty hours setting up shoots, toning their bodies into photo-ready shape, promoting the calendar at local events and signing autographs for fans.

For the most part, people only get to meet their local firefighters in an emergency, said Rob Hyndman, president of the Ontario Professional Firefighters Association and a multi-time calendar model in Sudbury.

That’s why firefighters across the province use calendars as a platform to show a more personal side, and a whole lot of skin, to their communities, Hyndman said.

“In today’s world, when everything’s so serious and ridiculous, it’s nice to have something that’s just fun and cheeky,” said Hyndman. “Keep the calendars hot.”

Adina Bresge, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

firefighters

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

Just Posted

(Photo: Now-Leader).
Surrey Schools seeking community input for 2021-22 budget

Majority of it is pre-allocated, but room to address priorities in the community

An example of a Surrey Police cruiser, showcased at Mayor Doug McCallum’s State of the City Address at Civic Hotel in May of 2019. (File photo: Amy Reid)
Surrey Police Service hires first three inspectors as ‘next layer of leadership’

Three men have more than 80 years of combined experience

Whalley Chiefs general manager Paul Hargreaves in the stands at the club's diamond at Whalley Athletic Park. (Photo: Tom Zillich)
Surrey baseball clubs prep for spring games as COVID threatens another season

‘I’m really excited about this year, because we have the troops in place,’ Whalley Chiefs GM says

Scales of Justice
Court awards woman $167K after vehicle was struck by White Rock taxi in 2016

Plaintiff’s knee injuries and resulting chronic pain disability are genuine, judge rules

TEASER - SAGAís Gift Shop Manager Barbie Warwick wearing The Summons while sketching in Facing Time exhibit. Photo by Pardeep Singh.jpg
‘The Summons’ face masks created as fundraiser for Surrey Art Gallery Association

Image of magnolia flower and poetry printed on specially designed mask

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals, NDP sing in harmony on local election reforms

Bill regulates paid canvassers, allows people in condo buildings

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

Burnaby Mounties responded to 56 complaints and issued 10 tickets to people flouting COVID-19 restrictions in February. (Patrick Davies/100 Mile Free Press)
COVID denier fined $2,300 for hosting gathering in her home: Burnaby RCMP

The woman told Mounties she does not believe the pandemic is real

Grand Forks’ Gary Smith stands in front of his Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster float. Photo: Submitted
Grand Forks’ Flying Spaghetti Monster leader still boiling over driver’s licence photo

Gary Smith, head of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster of B.C., said he has since spoken to lawyers

RCMP members responded to calls of a man-down at Landsdowne mall in Richmond Wednesday afternoon. The 40-year-old was suffering from stab wounds. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Man in critical condition following afternoon attack outside Richmond mall: RCMP

The Vancouver resident was found lying injured outside Richmond’s Lansdowne Centre

A Cowichan Valley mom is wondering why masks haven’t been mandated for elementary schools. (Metro Creative photo)
B.C. mom frustrated by lack of mask mandate for elementary students

“Do we want to wait until we end up like Fraser Health?”

Most Read