Brandon’s bizarre bylaws

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A review of city bylaws new and old reveals some interesting decisions by past city councils. Most of these bylaws appear to still be on the books and many have almost no relevance today.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/06/2014 (3075 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A review of city bylaws new and old reveals some interesting decisions by past city councils. Most of these bylaws appear to still be on the books and many have almost no relevance today.

Wheel strict

To all you penny-farthing riders: leave your siren at home.

“It shall be unlawful for any person riding a bicycle, tricycle, velocipede, motor-bicycle or any other riding machine” from using a siren to produce “unusually, distressing or annoying sounds.”

Your toddler learning to ride a tricycle isn’t above the law.

XXX-tra high

A 1996 bylaw says all porn has to be placed at least 1.5 metres from the floor on magazine racks — the perfect height for a 14-year-old.

All adult magazines must be placed behind an opaque barrier to make sure the cover is blocked, except for the publication’s name.

Fire in the hole

Grenades are such a bother.

The nuisance bylaw lists the small bombs as a nuisance under its noise bylaws.

Included in the list of things deemed likely to “annoy, disturb, injure, endanger or detract from the peace, health or safety of any other person” are guns, firearms, grenades, fireworks and firecrackers.

Yay or neigh

In 1923, city fathers laid out a long list of dos and don’ts when riding and driving horses on city streets.

Horsemen couldn’t cross a bridge any faster than “one mile in 10 minutes” — nine kilometres per hour.

While every horse had to wear a bell to warn others of their approach, the bylaw specifically excludes dogs from the rule. So if you were riding a dog, a bell wasn’t necessary.

And don’t even think about tying your horse to a telegraph, telephone or electrical pole.

This bylaw may have been deleted through a later bylaw that couldn’t be found by city staff.

Mare meat

Horse meat has long been a contentious food and the 1951 city council passed a bylaw with very specific rules on how to sell it.

If you sell horse meat, that’s the only meat you sell. The document says no other meat products may be sold in any store where other meat is sold, except canned meat products.

Any store where the steed meat is sold, a sign must be placed in the window stating “HORSE MEAT SOLD HERE” in lettering at least four inches high.’’’

Pig in the city

Sorry Babe, the 1953 city council dashed any dreams of owning a pet pig.

“No person shall keep any live swine nor shall anyone operate a piggery within the limits of the City of Brandon,” bylaw No. 3117 states.

Of course, exceptions are provided to slaughterhouses, the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair and others.

Squib squawk

Think cellphones are just a passing fad and still believe carrier pigeons will make their long-overdue resurgence? Perhaps you’re a little peckish for pigeon meat?

Probably not, but the city has a bylaw to regulate how you keep them if you do — but it’s not exactly strict.

As a 1968 bylaw stipulates, there’s only one rule to abide by when keeping pigeons in the city: Keep the coop clean.

See an annoying gaggle of wild pigeons in the city and feel you can take matters into your own hands? Not so fast — that’s up to the cops to “remedy the situation,” the bylaw says.

Never nude

If you want to take a dip in the Assiniboine River but don’t have a bathing suit when the mood strikes, your birthday suit isn’t an option.

The city’s lengthy nuisance bylaw says you must hide your shame while swimming in the river in sight of any street or house inside Brandon limits.

Nor is “the plea of answering the call of nature to be considered a palliation of the offence.”

Don’t pee in the river, got it?

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