Strange Canadian Laws

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June 26, 2014 by Joseph Krohn

Supreme Court of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario

Supreme Court of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario

It’s illegal to whistle in Petrolia, Ont. A Petrolia councilman 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.’

It’s illegal to attach a siren to your bike in Sudbury, Ont. 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.

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. 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, N.S. According to Halifax’s Regional Municipality Bylaws for Taxis and Limousines, No. 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.

It was illegal for non-dark soft drinks to contain caffeine. 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, however 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.

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).

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 the provincial government has 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.

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