7 Super Weird Canadian Laws That You Wouldn't Believe Still Existed 10 Years Ago

Fake maple syrup was a huge no-no. 🍁

Maple syrup. Right: A Canadian flag.
Senior Editor
Maple syrup. Right: A Canadian flag.

If you thought you knew how to stay out of trouble, you may need to think again. These totally weird Canadian laws have only been removed within the last ten years — and you may have even broken them in the past!

Laws, rules and regulations are often being updated, edited and repealed, and things are no different in Canada.

However, sometimes it can take quite a long time for changes to be implemented.

In fact, you might be surprised to learn what was actually illegal in Canada until very recently.

If you’ve ever pretended to be a witch, challenged someone to a fight or dabbled in fake fortune-telling, you could have committed a punishable offence.

Challenging someone to a duel

While “duelling” doesn’t sound like a very millennial activity, it has only recently been archived from Canada’s Criminal Code.

Several years ago, it was still a punishable offence in Canada to “provoke another person to fight a duel” and “accept a challenge to fight a duel.”

According to the government of Canada, both acts could lead to a two-year prison sentence. Yikes!

Scaring the queen

If you'd ever considered throwing the queen a surprise party — think again.

Until 2018, it was actually an indictable offence to alarm her majesty or "break the public peace."

Something of this nature could have actually landed you with a 14-year jail sentence!

Telling fortunes

Just two years ago, Canadians could have ended up in big trouble if they pretended to practice "crafty science" or tell fortunes.

Canucks were also banned from pretending to have skills that enabled them to find things that were lost or stolen.

Pretty random, eh?

Making "fake" maple syrup

Canadians have apparently always been passionate about their maple syrup.

In fact, until recently there was a whole set of laws regarding fake maple products.

The Maple Products Regulations included rules like, "no person shall market a product in import, export, or interprovincial trade in such a manner that it is likely to be mistaken for a maple product."

Pretending to be a witch

Put that wand down, right now!

Until 2018, it was actually a punishable offence to pretend to be a witch or wizard in Canada.

This included pretending to use "any kind of witchcraft, sorcery, enchantment or conjuration."

Taxi drivers wearing t-shirts

Until recently, taxi drivers in Halifax had some interesting rules to follow for their appearance while working.

The Regional Municipality Bylaws for Taxis and Limousines stated that they must wear shoes and socks at all times and must never, ever wear a t-shirt.

However, these rules have since been updated.

Dragging a dead horse down Yonge Street on a Sunday

Apparently, the GTA had some very specific rules when it came to transporting dead animals.

In a tweet back in 2014, York Regional Police explained that Torontonians were banned from dragging dead horses down Yonge Street on Sundays.

It’s not clear if you can still be charged with such a crime, but we’re hopefully unlikely to find out!

Helena Hanson
Senior Editor
Helena Hanson is a Senior Editor for Narcity Media, leading the Travel and Money teams. She previously lived in Ottawa, but is now based in the U.K.