Register Tuesday | June 18 | 2019

Membership Has Its Privileges

Swingers and the courts

There are twenty official swingers' clubs in Canada, five of which are in Montreal. The Quebec Swingers Association estimates that the province's clubs accommodate about 3,000 patrons a week. The largest and most notorious of these clubs is Montreal's L'Orage ("the storm"), pictured here. Located on St. Laurent Boulevard, this is an exclusive swingers' landmark; entrance is gained via a $40 annual membership fee and a $25-$40 per-visit cover charge. Partner-swappers and voyeurs flirt on the dance floor before moving to a downstairs lounge to turn up the heat.

Judges seem undecided on how swinging fits into public decency and obscenity laws. In 2003, a municipal court in Montreal ruled that swingers' clubs are legal as long as they cater only to selected members. Then, last summer, judges in the Quebec Court of Appeal ruled that L'Orage was in fact a "common bawdy house," placing it in the same legal-or rather, illegal-category as brothels. The former owner of L'Orage is still appealing the case to the Supreme Court of Canada, where a final verdict will be made in the coming months as to whether partner-swappers can continue to swing freely.

-Alana Coates