According to a persistent rumour, it’s against the law to play a drum in the District of Tofino. As a hand-drum enthusiast i decided to check this out. Turns out it was easy, because all the bylaws that govern us are on the district’s website, tofino.ca. (under “Bylaws”).
As it happens, percussion is specifically mentioned, but any musical instruments that disturb someone’s “peace, quiet, rest, enjoyment, comfort and/or convenience” will bring out the bylaw officers if a complaint is lodged. They are empowered to shut you down, and if you don’t comply they can take away your djembe (or your Stradivarius) until you pay the impound fee.
So as it turns out, there isn’t a rabid anti-drum agenda going on in Tuff City. (Reading between the lines, though, it’s pretty clear where the origins of this particular bylaw lay: hippies!)
Here’s the pertinent section, right from the horse’s mouth — Public Property Use Regulation Bylaw No. 1098, 2009 (read the whole thing here):
7.5 — Musical/Percussion Instruments and Amplified Sound
(a) No person shall use any percussion or musical instrument, radio, speaker, amplifier, cd player, mp3 player, or anything similar in nature in such a way as to disturb the peace, quiet, rest, enjoyment, comfort and/or convenience of the neighborhood or persons in which such continuous noise is received.
(b) Where any person is in contravention of Section 7.5 (a) of this Bylaw, such percussion or musical instrument, radio, speaker, amplifier, cd player, mp3 player, or anything similar in nature may be removed, detained, or impounded by the Bylaw Enforcement Officer.
(c) After such a removal, detention, or impounded the person entitled to the possession of the impounded item will be entitled to its release upon payment to the District of an impound fee and all lawfully imposed fines and penalties.
(d) Any percussion or musical instrument, radio, speaker, amplifier, CD player, MP3 player, or anything similar in nature not claimed by its owner within 30 days of its impoundment shall be advertised and sold by public auction to the highest bidder. All proceeds of such auction shall be applied against any and all outstanding fees, penalties, and fines, with the balance of the proceeds, if any, held by the District for a period of one year from the date of sale for the owner. If unclaimed at the end of the year, such sum shall be paid into the General Revenue Account of the District.
The section right after that one is 8.1 — Possession of Liquor in a Public Place. You may want to give it a read too.
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TEXT: greg blee is a Tofino writer, observer and cultural enthusiast.
PIC: by Paul Townsend, used under Creative Commons CC BY-NC 2.0 licence
This post is updated from an older post on the pacificrimarts.ca site.