Canada

A grave mistake? This woman uses a coffin as her front-yard flower bed

A neighbour’s complaint to the bylaw office was rejected and the coffin lives on, in jarring contrast to its pretty flowers

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St. Catharines homeowner Christina Calbury was excited about being able to buy a coffin from Facebook Marketplace and adapt it for use as a planter in her backyard. In fact, her partner was so happy with it she bought a second one, this time for her urban-sized front yard.

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Why coffins? In her books, it’s more a case of why not. Calbury lists herself on Instagram as a badass mom, hairstylist/barber and rockabilly queen who enjoys vintage and horror (they even have a black cat). She says that when she saw the casket listed for $200, she decided to scare up the funds and go for it.

Calbury said reaction to the planter had been quite positive. She told CTV News Toronto on Wednesday that they hadn’t received any negative comments about it, and that some people even stopped to take photos (but as we know in this age of social media, taking a photo does not equal approval). As it came to pass, it was evident not everyone was pleased with the garden decor.

Matt Majka and Christina Calbury have a seat on their backyard coffin planter.
Matt Majka and Christina Calbury have a seat on their backyard coffin planter. Photo by Christine Calbury / Instagram

A neighbour filed an anonymous complaint with the city, and soon after, Calbury received a letter claiming she was violating a municipal bylaw.

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

Calbury said the letter reads, in part: “The City of St. Catharines deems refuse, waste, loose rubbish and debris on lands and unkempt yards a nuisance that could create a health and safety hazard for the public.”

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

“There’s no specific reasoning under the bylaw (infraction) that I have received,” Calbury says. She doesn’t think she’s contravened any bylaw, especially considering the coffin is not waste and was purchased specifically for the purpose of being a flowerbed.

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“I called (the city) again (Wednesday) morning and I called yesterday. No one’s returning phone calls anymore,” Calbury said.

That could be because the city agreed with her. In an email to CTV Wednesday, the City of St. Catharines said, “Upon further review by Bylaw this file has been closed and no further action will be taken.”

So the couple’s change.org petition with 177 supporting signatures wasn’t needed after all.

Anyway, this badass mom — whose hashtags on Instagram include #nosyneighbors and #mindyourownbusiness — commented on a post that she was going to keep the coffin regardless of the complaint’s outcome.

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