Stripping down to nada but nature’s own swimsuit to fundraise for a cause is what the Ladies of the Lake Calendar was all about. Inspired by the women of Yorkshire who raised over 2 million pounds, initially for a couch in the visitor’s area of a hospital and then for Leukaemia Research & Lymphoma Research; the Ladies of the Lake made a statement for Lake Simcoe.
The first Calendar Girls from the UK were motivated to take action after John Richard Baker, husband of Angela Baker, passed away from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma at only 54. It could not have been predicted that their success would be so vast that the story was not only picked up by Buena Vista International and Touchstone Pictures and awarded several prizes including a Golden Globe, but it also visited Toronto as a play at the Royal Alexandria Theater earlier on this year.
The Ladies of the Lake started their fundraiser in 2006 with the “Naked Truth” Calendar to raise awareness for Lake Simcoe, 4th largest lake in the province. Their success was so massive that they later made another calendar in 2009, “Drink it. Swim it. Fish it. Love it”, with the help of the Federal and Ontario governments, and photographer Jim Panou. Sold at only $15.00 a piece, they were able to raise over 400,000 for the lake.
Annabel Slaight and the Ladies of the Lake are tirelessly raising awareness of the many obstacles that are keeping Lake Simcoe from health. Whether it is by explaining the science behind it in simple ways, or by teaching us what we can do to help, the over 100 women in yellow t-shirts were ready to raise up to the occasion. And they have.