Canadian City Bans Singing on Public Buses



The wheels on the bus may go round and round but don't you dare sing about it in Winnipeg. The capital city of the Canadian province of Manitoba—home to more than half of the province's population—has just made singing or "offering a live musical performance" on public buses a crime

Lawbreaking crooners will face a $100 fine plus court costs for their transgressions. Winnipeg's city council approved the rule Wednesday as part of a new transit bylaw which also makes it a crime to loiter at a bus stop for more than 90 minutes and prohibits playing a musical instrument, carrying a firearm, urinating, unicycling, or spray-painting on a city bus.

Impromptu jam sessions do happen on Canadian buses. The city "saw numerous musical performances on buses as part of (music festival) JunoFest," according to CBC News, and in 2007 the White Stripes made an unscheduled appearance on a city bus,. Apparently, everyone survived. 

Winnipeg was named a "Cultural Capital of Canada" in 2010. It's a designation the Canadian government gave to 42 communities in less than 10 years before cancelling the program to "improve the efficiency and effectiveness of its programs and operations." 

H/T Mat Vaillancourt

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  1. Public Performance Artists Attacked: Mimes Hardest Hit

    1. …”Mimes Hardest Hit”

      Good news, there.

  2. So, humming? Is that allowed?

    1. No word on whistling, either.

      1. Foot-tapping is probably over the line, though.

        1. We all know where foot tapping gets you…

          1. Dammit! It was just a wide stance, people!

          2. Well, let’s be honest. Air drumming and air guitar ought to be illegal on taste alone!

            1. Wait can i still do it at home? I like to play air guitar while showering.

  3. I heard there was a Tom Sawyer exemption written into the law. Any truth to that?

    1. He knows changes aren’t permanent.

      But change is…

    2. His mind is not for rent / to any god or government.

    3. The Spirit of Radio was a far superior song, IMO.

      Come to think of it, Permanent Waves was probably the superior album of the two.

  4. So the Weakerthans need to add a verse to “One Great City,” eh?


  5. I remember this Asian dude who would ride Metro in downtown DC and burst into songs about Jesus. He had a beautiful voice, but a really, really thick accent. So it ended up being something like “What a flend we have in Jeeeezus”.

    1. I’ve seen my craziest bus sights on D.C. buses.

      1. There used to be an MBTA commuter rail condutor on the Lowell – Boston line that would make regular commuters who forgot their passes sing for their rides

        1. Years ago the wast a Minneapolis bus driver who would tell Ole and Lena Jokes on the ride into downtown.

          1. In the O-club on Okinawa, we were often treated to tender renditions of Moon Liver.

  6. when I used to visit Canada over a decade ago I was a little surprised by the young able-bodied homeless compared to the older more worn out homeless I saw in the states. most seemed to have a musical instrument too.

    1. Go to present-day Asheville, NC and you’ll see plenty of those. I believe they’re called “hippies”

    2. It’s the Canadian winters; they weed out the old and the weak.

  7. Canadians just want to ride out the day’s events on the bus without catching the spit of some performer.

    1. Canadians want all kinds of diverse and divergent things. Some Canadians undoubtedly would like the opportunity to break up a monotonous and unpleasant ride on public transit with live entertainment.

  8. If you’re in Winnipeg you have nothing to sing about anyway. All your focus should be on ‘how do I leave this dump?’ This probably applies to the entire province.

  9. This is a public space. Everyone has an equal right to quiet enjoyment of it. I really don’t see why Libertarians would have a bug up their ass about it. Why do you have a right to sing and annoy me when we both have equal rights to the public space? Isn’t your singing an externality imposed on me? How is this any different than someone playing really loud music in their home such that their neighbors enjoyment of their homes is effected?

    1. Going with John here, especially considering the need for the bus driver to concentrate. The prohibition on gun-carrying is the real evil here.

      1. Yeah, but it’s Canada, they prohibit gun carrying everywhere.

        1. Canada. Not only can’t you carry a gun, you can no longer carry a tune.

      2. Bus drivers generally have reasonably wide latitude to control behaviour on their buses that could be distracting and dangerous, not that many of them do mind you. There’s no need for a specific violation to be created.

    2. But wouldn’t public nuisance laws apply? Why not leave it to that, and not create extra crimes for things which may in some cases be desirable?

      1. A few years ago, maybe even many, I was taking a bus back from a work function and some kids in the back were freestyling. They were absolutely amazing.

    3. Why do you have a right to sing and annoy me when we both have equal rights to the public space?

      Why do you have the right to prohibit me from singing, when we both have equal rights to the public space.

      I know, there’s a point to be made here, but I’m pretty happy with my kneejerk dismissal of any argument that depends on the premise that people have a right not to be annoyed.

      1. Slightly different point: The best solution would be for public spaces to be privatized. The second best solution is for the people who control public places to run them the same way a business would. Now, there’s room for debate on what should be allowed, but if I were in a restaurant annoying the other patrons I would be asked to leave. If I didn’t leave I would be trespassing. Before anyone makes the “public is everyone” argument let me ask you this. Can I go down to the local high school and camp out in the girls locker room? It’s a public school and I am the public, right.

    4. I see a difference with the loud music house issue. Loud music from your house invades my private home. A public place is open to the public. I mean if everyone has a right to quiet in public, couldn’t they ban talking in public places?

    5. The libertarian response to this, after the bus system was privatized, would be to acknowledge the right of a private property owner to make and enforce rules for the use of their property. Which generally can’t, BTW, involve the use of fines or other coercive measures. So any unwanted singers would be asked to leave the property. No fines need to be involved.


  10. no one can play a musical instrument, sing or offer a live musical performance on a city bus

    But boom boxes are still cool, right?

    1. Banning boom boxes is racist.

      1. Like there are Blacks in Winnipeg!

        1. The Blacks are in New Zedland.

          1. The best Blacks are in the Rockies.

  11. The bus? Isn’t that something that the poor use?

    *ducks head*

    1. Yes. I refuse to use buses because they are communal. I like my drivin’ my truck. I don’t care for Auburn.

      1. Remove one my please

  12. Singing must have some link to terrorism.

    1. “Addendum to ordinance: Ululation on city buses is likewise prohibited.”

    2. Singing must have some link to terrorism.


  13. Canadian City Bans Singing on Public Buses

    “I’m singing in the bus!
    Oh, singing in the bus!”
    “Oh, no, you’re not! Here! You’ve been summoned, 15 days from now!”

  14. Canada always knows whats going on man.


  15. I like this idea. Most people who sing in public places couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket and most sound like fingernails on a chalkboard. Lets face it – if they were any good they could rent a hall and charge people to come to listen. Lets hope that more places pass laws banning singing in more public places.

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