13 Strange Canadian Laws You’ve Never Heard Of
Think you’re a law-abiding citizen? It’s possible you’ve broken one of these strange Canadian laws without even realizing it.
Think you’re a law-abiding Canadian?
You’d be surprised to learn what’s against the law in Canada. For example, recently a Toronto businessman found that to sell edible underwear in his “adult entertainment” store, he’d need a food license. Who knew? Here are 13 more strange Canadian laws you never knew existed.
It’s illegal to whistle in Petrolia, Ontario
A Petrolia city rep says this unusual law simply aims to limit excessive noise between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., but according to Article 3, 772.3.6 on the town’s website, “Yelling, shouting, hooting, whistling or singing is prohibited at all times.” Keep your enthusiasm to yourself, folks.
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Keep your booze at home
According to the Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act (which dates back to the time of prohibition and bootleggers), you can only legally move a bottle of booze from one province to another with the permission of the provincial liquor control board. The situation changed on May 28th, 2012, allowing you to legally move wine, but little else. Guess your moonshining days are over, eh boys?
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It’s illegal to attach a siren to your bike in Sudbury, Ontario
Since 1973, the only noise-makers Sudbury cyclists can attach to their bikes are bells and horns. Breaking noise bylaws in Sudbury can lead to fines up to $5,000. Umm, who attaches a siren to their bike, anyways?
It’s illegal to skinny dip in Bancroft, Ontario
Travel writer Melanie Chambers highlighted this unusual bylaw ban, and it may well still be on the books. Either way, be sure to get your skivvies on before you get your skinny on.
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Don’t pay with too much change!
While it won’t make you a law-breaker, according to Canada’s Currency Act of 1985, there are limits to the number of coins you can use in a transaction. Now that we’ve put the kibosh on the old penny, are you accumulating nickels? If it’s nickels, vendors can say no to any purchase over $5, while the loonie limit is $25.
Taxi drivers can’t wear a T-Shirt in Halifax, Nova Scotia
According to Halifax’s Regional Municipality Bylaws for Taxis and Limousines, number 42 a) stipulates drivers must wear shoes and socks, keep their attire in neat and tidy condition at all times, and absolutely cannot wear a t-shirt. Looks like summer is a whole lot hotter for cabbies in Halifax.
It was illegal for non-dark soft drinks to contain caffeine
It used to be the case that Sprite, Mountain Dew and other non-dark soft drinks couldn’t contain caffeine, but that all changed in March 2010 with the advent of “energy drinks” like Redbull. Now you can have caffeine in soft drinks like orange and grape soda—but there is a limit, and it’s still lower than colas.
It’s illegal to build big snowmen in Souris, P.E.I.
Souris, P.E.I., is well-known to summer visitors for its curious Singing Sands Beach, but few know of a local law that warns residents against building monstrous snowmen. If you live on a corner lot it’s against the law to built a snowman taller than 30-inches. Fear of Frosty’s revenge, much?
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Get your margarine out of here!
Few may remember this, but thanks to lobbying by dairy farmers it was illegal to sell butter-coloured margarine in Ontario until 1995. In fact, margarine was altogether banned in Canada from 1886 to 1948. (There was a brief reprieve during the First World War).
You can’t just jump in the lake in Toronto
According to the Toronto Port Authority, you can’t swim anywhere in the harbour that has not been designated as a swimming area by the City of Toronto. So, if you’re out on a boat and want to cool off, keep this in mind. Historically, there was also a law that you couldn’t swim in Toronto Harbour in “less than-seemly” attire. Travel writer Mark Stevens pointed out this bylaw allowed police to ticket skinny dippers when the beach at Hanlon’s Point on the Toronto Islands gained popularity as a nude beach. That bylaw has been updated in recent years, and you can now officially swim in the buff if you are at the nude section of the beach.
Keep your comics clean
Our Spidey Sense just started tingling! The way Canadian law currently stands, “Everyone commits an offence who… (b) makes, prints, publishes, distributes, sells or has in his possession for the purpose of publication, distribution or circulation a crime comic.” For the full story read: Under Arrest – Canadian Laws You Won’t Believe by Bob Tarantino.
Clotheslines were banned
Talk about being hung out to dry! Many Canadian communities long restricted the use of clotheslines because they just didn’t like the look of them. Now because of increased energy consciousness, most provincial governments have stepped in with a ruling that overrides neighbourhood regulations.
Keep your kids at home in St. Paul, Alberta
St. Paul residents don’t have to worry about their kids sneaking out late at night. It’s against the law for anyone 15 or younger to loiter in a public place without supervision of a parent or guardian between 12:01 a.m. and 6 a.m. Take that, whippersnappers!