Bare breasts vs. neighbour's ATV

Marika De Florio, of Seeley's Bay, shows a little skin in her yard yesterday evening. (Ian...

Marika De Florio, of Seeley's Bay, shows a little skin in her yard yesterday evening. (Ian MacAlpine, QMI Agency)

KEVIN CONNOR, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:39 AM ET

TORONTO - Marika De Florio is using bare breasts to win a feud with her neighbours.

The 56-year-old says she is sick and tired of her neighbours' five-year-old grandson driving a loud all-terrain vehicle for hours on her quiet street in Seeley's Bay, near Kingston. So she found a solution under her shirt.

De Florio has discovered that if she goes out topless, the boy's horrified grandparents rush the child into the house.

And she said she will continue to go topless every time the child rides the ATV.

"It is maddening," she said of the noise.

"I'm going mental. I can't breathe and I'm not moving, but I need some peace. I can't believe I did this, but they pulled the kid inside and then called police because of their small-town mentality."

De Florio says the problems with her neighbours, Mike and Nancy Berry, started two years ago when she moved to the area.

Leeds OPP, which covers Seeley's Bay, have received complaint calls from both De Florio and the Berrys.

She is not breaking the law, because in Canada women are allowed to be topless.

"There is not a criminal charge for that ... not since 1996," said Toronto Police Const. Isabelle Cotton.

De Florio says she decided to go topless to solve the problem because police wouldn't do anything about the ATV noise. She said it's the bravest thing she has ever done.

"I'll do what I have to to eradicate this problem," she said.

Mike Berry says he is also at the end of his rope.

"I'm not happy with what has been going on," he said. "We need a little give and take. It isn't right to go around topless in front of kids."

Bare-breasted protesting has gained notoriety and popularity over the past decade.

Former University of Guelph student Gwen Jacobs caused an uproar when she strolled topless down the street on a hot summer day in July 1991.

She fought all the way to the Ontario Court of Appeal and won the right for women in the province to go shirtless in public, so long as they are not seeking commercial gain or displaying overt sexuality.

Protest groups, such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, have grabbed media attention around the world by protesting activities ranging from bullfighting to wearing fur with staged PR stunts using topless women.

And women across North America have engaged in a number of topless protests over the right to breastfeed in public.

kevin.connor@sunmedia.ca


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