Sign up for our free weekday bulletin.

OPINION: On body massage oil, crude oil and the gulf between

Published on

George Mathewson

Sarnia is attempting to restrict the shadowy world of body-rub parlours, and is doing so in an interesting way.

The city currently has just a single massage parlour, on Christina Street, and Sarnia Police hope to keep it that way. So the vice squad is working with city staff to thoroughly overhaul a 41-year-old bylaw that regulates the industry.

Essentially, the new bylaw aims to add so much red tape and detail to the licensing and operating of a body-rub parlour that any potential operators would really need to think twice about setting up shop here.

The rules for a parlour’s operation and maintenance set out in the draft cover everything from what type of flooring is used (non-slip) to the clothing of body-rub attendants (opaque) to the number of times sauna floors must be disinfected each week (once).

A clear distinction is made between provincially licensed and registered massage therapists, who are exempt, and any place where a person can get a “body rub,” which the good people at City Hall define as:

“A service where the primary activity is the kneading, manipulating, rubbing, massaging, touching or stimulating by any means by at least one person of at least one other person’s body or part thereof …”


When the public school board sought names last year for it newly amalgamated high school in Sarnia it received 145 community responses, including this one: George Olah Secondary School.

Who, you might ask?

When the Soviet Union crushed the Hungarian Uprising of 1956 George Olah and his family fled to Canada, and the following year the Dow Chemical research laboratory in Sarnia hired the young scientist.

“As a chemist, it was easy for me to fit into the new environment because science is international and has its own language,” he said.

Between 1957 and 1964, Olah published 100 scientific papers and obtained 30 patents for his work at the lab on Vidal Street, a remarkable output.

Thirty years later, George A. Olah was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his research on unstable carbon molecules.

When he died in California a few weeks ago at the age of 89, he was lauded internationally as a true legend in the field of chemistry.

In his later life and in his Nobel Lecture, Olah credited Sarnia as the place where he made many of the important breakthroughs that led to the prize.

As a direct result of his work, the world’s oil industry developed more effective refining techniques and less polluting forms of gasoline.

More like this