Canada’s weirdest laws: it’s illegal to put your feet up on a bench or table in Calgary

The prohibition against putting your feet up is only a small part of the bylaw.
The prohibition against putting your feet up is only a small part of the bylaw. (Photo: iStock)

If you want to chill and put your feet up on a table or bench in a public place in Calgary, Alta., you could be slapped with a fine. Why? Because it violates the Bylaw of the City of Calgary to Regulate Public Behaviour.

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This mouthful of a bylaw prohibiting people to take it easy and put their feet up doesn’t end the prohibition there. The full text reads:

No person shall stand or put his feet on the top or surface of any table, bench, planter or sculpture placed in any public place.”

Hopefully, tourists won’t get into too much trouble if they try to take a picture while draped over the Wonderland sculpture in front of the Bow building in downtown Calgary.

The prohibition against putting your feet up is only a small part of the bylaw.

Aside from forbidding people to take it easy, the city bylaw also forbids people from public spitting “on any street, sidewalk, pathway, trail, or in or on any public place or in public on a private property.”

You are further forbidden to urinate, defecate, fight or carry a “visible knife” in any public place. One would think these prohibitions would be common sense but for some reason the city felt they had to become law

The penalties for violating the bylaw can be quite serious. A person could be looking at a fine of up to $10,000 or imprisonment for up to six months. However, the specified penalties for each offence are a lot less pricey. If you do put your feet up on a table, the penalty is $50, which is the same price a person would pay if caught in public with a “visible” knife.

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The Calgary bylaw was passed in November 2006, amid a lot of controversy.

Critics point out that the bylaw targets the homeless and could face legal challenges in the future due to possible Charter violations.

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