Canada’s weirdest laws: in some Montreal parks, it’s illegal to sit on the grass

In the Montreal borough of Ville Marie, there is a bylaw that police use to enforce this prohibition.
In the Montreal borough of Ville Marie, there is a bylaw that police use to enforce this prohibition. (Photo: REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke/File Photo)

Some Canadian cities, like Toronto, have issues with people climbing trees in local parks. In a few Montreal parks, it’s a whole other ballgame when it comes to what people are prohibited from doing.

See: Canada’s weirdest laws: It is illegal to own a pet rat in Alberta

In the borough of Ville Marie (a borough is a small community council within a municipality) people who find themselves in a local park are apparently not allowed to sit on the grass.

There is a borough bylaw that police use to enforce this prohibition, and enforce it they have.

Montreal resident Francois Gendron lounged on the grass under a tree in one of the borough parks one sunny summer day, when he was told by police that it’s forbidden for him to sit there.

“They told me we do not have the right to sit on the grass in Montreal parks. . .I accepted to move but 10 minutes later the police left so I returned because I wasn’t comfortable in the sunshine,” says Gendron.

The police were back, too, and gave a $147 fine to the flabbergasted man.

A local police commander told CTV News:

We're just advising the people not to stay on the grass and just to sit down on the cement border.” He added that the grass had been replanted recently and they didn’t want it to be damaged, and that other people who were told to stay off the grass complied.

See: Canada’s weirdest laws: it’s illegal to own aggressive bees in Oak Bay, B.C.

That didn’t seem all there was to the story as some local youths said the police frequently ticketed them for small offences, like spitting on the ground or tossing their cigarette ashes.

A formerly homeless teenager said he got 30 tickets within two weeks and owed over $2,000.

A similar law used to exist in Paris, France that said if you strolled or sat on the grass in one of the city parks you could get fined but that prohibition ended in 1997.

If you ever find yourself in the Montreal borough of Ville Marie and you go to a park remember: don’t sit on the grass.

Find a Lawyer