Burlington's Craziest City Bylaws

Bylaws are those rules set out in city or town by your local government as to what is allowed, not allowed and how you can do certain activities. They oversee everything from what residents do and how businesses conduct themselves in the municipality.

Society needs rules and regulations, but sometimes bylaws can sound rather peculiar. What inhalton.com has defined as ‘crazy’ is not so much that the law exists, but sometimes that such a law needed to be on the books at all.

Here are some of the more interesting bylaws in the City of Burlington.


Cemetery Bylaw

According to the city, there are certain things not allowed in the place where your loved ones lie in their final resting place. One of which seems, to me, quite odd:

  • No person shall solicit in any manner within the cemeteries.

Soliciting is mainly defined as the act of offering, or attempting to purchase, goods and services. You would normally see this kind of thing door-to-door, although in this day and age it’s more common to see solicitations being made online or by phone, but how often at a cemetery where more somber moments are common?

Isn’t it just flat out impolite and rather inappropriate to be soliciting while at a cemetery anyway?


Nuisance Bylaw

Nuisance as defined under city bylaws means anything that is injurious to health, indecent or offensive to the senses, or an obstruction to the free use of property, so as to interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property.

This is a small sampling of general things you’re not allowed to do in the City of Burlington as outlined under Bylaw No. 19-2003:

  • The operation of a motor vehicle in such a way that the tires squeal.

  • The operation of a vehicle, or a vehicle with a trailer, resulting in banging, clanking, grinding, rattling, squealing or other like sounds due to improperly secured load or equipment, or inadequate maintenance.

  • The operation of a motor vehicle horn or other warning device except where required or authorized by law in accordance with good safety practices.

  • Persistent barking, calling, whining or other similar persistent noise making by any domestic pet or any other animal kept or used for any purpose other than agriculture.

  • Persistent yelling, shouting, screaming, hooting, whistling, or singing.

  • All selling or advertising by shouting out-cry or amplified sound.

  • The detonation of fireworks or explosive devices except as permitted in the Business Licence bylaw.

  • The discharge of firearms contrary to Firearms Bylaw 83-1991.

Other prohibitions, such as operating a commercial car wash, construction equipment, or loading/unpacking containers is not allowed usually between the hours of 9pm to 7am, when people are asleep or getting ready to sleep.


Private Drain Bylaw

Drains anywhere in a city provide a vital function of taking in stormwater when, say, a massive rainstorm occurs. This was very prevalent when a big storm happened in Burlington a few years ago. That said, there are some strigent, dare I say rather harsh, rules governing private storm drains.

No owners or lessess of private property are to alter, fill, obstruct, block or in any way interfere with a private drain, and that includes allowing it to fall into disrepair so much so that the flow of water into that drain negatively affects a neighbour’s property. These rules don’t apply if the property is under construction.

The penalties can be severe for not following this bylaw: the fine is $25,000 for each offense.

Apologies that direct links to bylaws cannot be provided; for some odd reason the City of Burlington’s bylaws section requires you to download the PDF copies directly onto your computer drive…which I find a little crazy in itself.

Can you think of any other ‘crazy’ or strange bylaws the City of Burlington has on their books?

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