Weird Canadian laws

Unusual Canadian laws (that you might be breaking!)

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Be careful—the next time you duel someone with slingshots while camping in a national park, you’re at risk of prosecution for not one, but two laws under the Criminal Code of Canada. Yup—duelling is illegal, as are slingshots in national parks.

Canada’s got a whole lot of wacky laws on the books, and here are some of the weirdest.

It’s illegal to depict criminal acts in a comic strip

By all means, draw pictures of superheroes, talking ducks, or anything else—just don’t show them duelling with slingshots in a national park. Or committing any other criminal act, for that matter.

You can’t fraudulently pretend to practice witchcraft, sorcery, enchantment, or conjuration

If you’re actually casting spells, that’s cool. Just figure out how to do that for real before you dress up as a witch for Halloween.

Don’t stink in public

Even when you’re at the cottage, whether you bathe or not is your business—until you take your stinky self into a public place. “Offending a place with a bad smell” is illegal under the criminal code. It might also be a good idea to keep your limburger cheese, durian fruit, and gas-prone pooch under wraps as well.

Flattening pennies is illegal

It’s illegal to deface or damage “a current coin”—so, even though pennies are disappearing, flattening them on train tracks (or poking a hole in them) is still prohibited. This law applies to bills, too—so don’t sniff those maple-scented polymer notes too vigorously.

And speaking of coins…

Don’t think you can clear out your stash of change by using it to pay for your next cottage toy. While it’s not illegal to pay for something in small change, vendors are allowed to refuse payment in nickels for anything over $5, according to the Currency Act. (For loonies, the amount increases to $25.)

Treat your oysters with care

The Criminal Code includes an entire section on the humane treatment of oysters—so before you slurp those slimy suckers down, make sure they’re happy.

Don’t be dirty on stage

“Immoral theatrical productions” are strictly prohibited. No word on performances that are simply bad—unless they fall under the section against stinky things in public.

Be yourself

Always good advice—especially if you’re signing a telegram. It’s illegal to use a false name on a telegram. Interestingly, there’s nothing in the Criminal Code about keeping outdated laws on the books.