Meat Market By-Law in Market Square 1908

In 1854, one year before Stratford officially became a city, the Town of Stratford passed its first set of by-laws. This article is the ninth in the Flashback Friday series created by Mike Beitz, Corporate Communications Lead of The City of Stratford highlighting some of Stratford’s more interesting or unusual by-laws over the past 150 years.

On May 18, 1908, Stratford City Council passed By-law #1513, which established that a section of Market Square be “hereby set apart as a meat market.”

It was quite specific about the layout of stalls, which had to be at least seven feet wide and extend 14 feet from the rear line of the City Hall building. A three-foot passageway was allowed at intervals of every sixth space.

The by-law stipulated:

“That no person shall offer for sale fish or dead meat, other than foul or poultry upon the market square or any public street or vacant lot adjacent thereto, except within the limits of the spaces hereinbefore set apart as a meat market.”

There were other restrictions for vendors:

“That no person shall sell or expose for sale on the Market Grounds any unwholesome, stale, emaciated, blown, tainted, putrid or measly meat or poultry or any portion of the carcass of any animal strangled or drowned, and any such meat or poultry so exposed shall, without delay upon view of the Sanitary Inspector or Chief of Police or any other officer authorized by the Council be seized by such or any of them and destroyed.”

The fine for violating any provision of the by-law was “not less than one dollar nor more than fifty dollars.” If the offender was unable to pay, and had no "goods and chattels" to offer instead, that person could go to jail “with or without hard labour for any period not exceeding 21 days unless the said fine and costs be sooner paid.” Source: City of Stratford FB.

The Market Place c. 1908. Stratford-Perth Archives