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The City of St. Catherines Favors Flowers in Coffins, Even in a Front Yard

Darren Maung
Darren is an aspiring writer who wishes to share or create stories to the world and bring humanity together as one. A massive Star Wars nerd and history buff, he finds enjoyable, heart-warming or interesting subjects in any written media.
Published: July 26, 2021
A coffin with flowers is not an unusual sight, unless it is in someone’s front lawn. While there was a slight resistance to the fanciful installment, the City of Saint Catherines found no reason it should not be allowed to remain as a large lawn ornament. (Image: Pavel Danilyuk via Pexels)

As the final resting place for the body of a departed soul, coffins are naturally associated with death and have become iconic eerie symbols found in scary films and haunted houses around the world. 

While its intended purpose is the safe keeping of a human body underground, a large well-made empty wooden box could prove useful for many purposes, as we shall soon see.

Casket, or flower basket?

Christina Calbury considers herself a badass mom on Instagram, who is a fan of vintage films and horror flicks, keeping a black cat to fit the bill. When she saw a casket being sold on Facebook Marketplace for $200, she went all in and bought it.

“I said to my boyfriend, ‘Look, this lady is selling coffins. Looks pretty crazy and she only wants $200 for it,’” she told CTV News Toronto.

Calbury bought the coffin to be used as a planter in her backyard. She and her partner Matt Majka liked it so much that she bought a second coffin for the front yard as well.

“It looked absolutely gorgeous and then he suggested we should contact the lady again… and do the exact same thing in our front lawn,” Calbury said.

At first, there was no negative feedback regarding the atypical exhibit. It was well-received to the point of becoming an attraction. Many people made their way to Calbury’s yard to take photos of the repurposed receptacle.  

At least one of the photographers apparently did not like the display that they were documenting, however.

A grave mistake?

Calbury was soon hit with a letter stating that she was violating a municipal bylaw, prompted by a neighbour who had filed a complaint with the city.

As articulated in the letter, refuse, waste, rubbish and debris on lands and untidy yards are considered by the city to be a potential safety hazard to public health. 

Bylaw 2020-106 forbids “the use of certain lands for the disposal of waste and establish standards respecting their maintenance.”

“When I got this letter from the city, with this silly little bylaw they’re claiming, we were quite shocked actually,” explained Calbury.

Repulsed by the letter, Calbury did not believe that she was violating any bylaw, since the coffin was not being used as waste and was bought specifically to be used as a flowerbed to trick out her spirited yard.

“There’s no specific reasoning under the bylaw [infraction] that I received,” argued Calbury. Along with a petition that brought in 177 supporting signatures, she then made her move against the claim by calling the city to have the case resolved.

“I called [the city] again this [July 14] morning and I called yesterday. No one’s returning phone calls anymore.”

Why did the city not call her back? The reason could be that the city actually sided with Calbury in this case. 

As she emailed to CTV News Toronto, the City of St. Catharines finally declared that, “Upon further review by Bylaw this file has been closed and no further action will be taken.”

Calbury was elated by the city’s decision to reject the claim, as it gave her recycled cist the right to rest in peace as a planter.