Twelve Things You Didn’t Know were Illegal in Canada

In the news this morning, a Toronto kite-flying enthusiast has been warned that he can face stiff fines if he continues to fly his kite on the east-end beach. Who knew that was a crime? What other laws are we unknowingly breaking?

Apparently, this isn’t the first kite crackdown in the GTA. Gary Mark, of Toronto Kite Fliers — yes, that’s a real organization — told the CBC that he knows of at least one other occasion of a kite flyer receiving an official warning. Over in Ajax, he said, club members have recently been “told to leave their waterfront park or face removal by the police.”

Well, it’s good to see we’re putting our laws and law enforcement professionals to good use. Crack down on those kite-flying bastards. Running around with colourful pieces of cloth and paper in the air on a string with impunity. Think of the children!

While we’re at it, who else can we throw the book at? Nickel-payers, fake witches, ladder-painters, and tree-climbers.

Here are 12 things you probably didn’t know were illegal in Canada

Tree-climbers? Yes. It is against the law in Oshawa, Ontario to climb a tree.

Canadian citizens may not lawfully relieve themselves or spit on the street. We’ve (mostly) come to terms with the relieving ourselves publicly bit of this law, but I would like to see a greater crack down on the whole spitting thing. (Especially those guys who do the disgusting throat-clearing build up first.)

It is also against the law to remove bandages in public. (I’m a big fan of this law.)

Here in Toronto Ontario, it is illegal to swear in a public park.

It is illegal to pretend to be a witch. Yes, the law says that “everyone who fraudulently pretends to exercise or to use any kind of witchcraft, sorcery, enchantment or conjuration is guilty of an offense punishable on summary conviction.” So actually using witchcraft, sorcery, enchantment and conjuration is just fine.

It is illegal to paint a ladder. (Law-makers were afraid that the rungs would then become slippery when wet.)

You can’t pay for anything that costs $5.00 or more with only nickels. (This one needs more enforcement. I swear I am routinely caught behind someone trying to commit just this very offense at the convenience store.)

It is illegal to show public affection on Sundays. (Lately, my wife has been enforcing this one in private too.)

Businesses must provide rails for tying up horses. Of course, do we want horses wandering up and down the street willy-nilly? Oh, and in other horse-related law: If you don’t pay your hotel bill, it is legal for the proprietor to sell your horse. (Who is conveniently tied up outside.)

It is illegal to kill a sick person by frightening them. Sure. I get that. But isn’t it illegal to kill someone by any means?

It is also illegal to scare The Queen – whether or not she dies from the fright.

Whistling and singing.
In many Ontario municipalities it is apparently illegal to hoot, whistle, or sing. Town noise bylaws state that “Yelling, shouting, hooting, whistling, or singing is prohibited at all times.” A family in Pickering recently ran afoul of this law by letting their kids enthusiastically play in the pool. Bracebridge, Ontario repealed that particular bylaw in 2016, making it legal to whistle and sing once more in that town.

Legal sources:

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