If you are a homeowner in Canada, you may or may not be aware of a number of laws related to what you can do on your property. Some of these might make little sense because they were passed more than a century ago. Some make a bit more sense. A few are simply laughable. Let’s have a look at a few of Canada’s weirdest homeowner laws.
Canada’s weirdest homeowner laws
In Ontario, Ottawa and its suburb of Kanata are biased against the colour purple since it is legal to paint your house or garage door in any other colour. But if you paint them purple, it is against the law and punishable by a fine.
Meanwhile, in Beaconsfield, Quebec, you can be sued for painting your house more than two colours. The best option is to paint your house only one colour, but two is acceptable. Any more than that is considered illegal.
Throughout the province of Alberta, it is illegal to paint a wooden ladder. The Alberta Health and Safety Code states the reason is to avoid disguising an old ladder by making it look new with a coat of paint. It’s easier to judge the safety of a wooden ladder when it is unpainted.
Alberta has been known for having zero rats in the province since the 1950s, thanks to its Rat Control Program, which extends to owning them as pets. In the Vancouver suburb of Port Coquitlam, rat-owners must not own more than four in one home.
In Newfoundland, it is perfectly legal to own a cow, as many farmers do, but it is against the law to keep any cow in one’s home like a house pet. Cows are gentle, lowly creatures, but they should stay outside where they belong.
There are numerous laws prohibiting exotic pets, but if you live in the Victoria neighbourhood of Oak Bay and own a parrot, ensure it is not too noisy since that could result in a $100 fine. As for snakes and lizards in Fredericton, NB, keep them at home – it is against the law to “wear” them out in public, though carrying them in a closed container is allowed.
Laws of the Yard
Many cities and towns in Canada have unofficial rules about mowing the lawn and shovelling snow right away, lest you get a knock on the door from a neighbour or city worker with a warning. But in London, Ontario, a city worker will come and mow your lawn for you if it grows higher than eight inches. That’s a good deal, right? Not so much – they’ll also send you the bill for it.
Are you thinking about planning a garage sale? If you live in Toronto, consider that there are limits on how long your garage sale can last and the number of garage sales you can have within one year. The Toronto Municipal Code states the law of two and two – a home may not hold more than two garage sales within a year, and each one may not last more than two days.
If you have a water trough in your front yard and neglect to fill it until after 5 am, you are in violation of a local bylaw. This is one of those laws that made more sense when horses were the primary form of transportation but simply has not been updated.
There are even laws against the Canadian pastime of building snowmen. In Souris, PEI, it is illegal to build a snowman above 30 inches (two-and-a-half feet) tall, while in Esquimalt, BC, it was once forbidden to throw a snowball, though that law has since been repealed.
Bonus law: In Etobicoke, Ontario, there is a local bylaw that states that a bathtub should not be filled with more than three-and-a-half inches of water. It is unclear how local lawmakers expect anyone to take an effective bath.
Most homeowner laws do not extend beyond municipal limits, with a few applying to the entire province (here’s looking at you, Alberta). If you take a few moments to brush up on what may be illegal where you live, you’ll save yourself a potential fine and have a good laugh along the way.