tourists trample field

Selfie-crazed tourists trample farmer's field near Toronto and destroy canola crops

One Ontario farmer's canola plant haul will be smaller than expected this year thanks to the selfish actions of tourists who pulled over beside a field this weekend, ignoring no-trespassing signs and hopping over fences to take some stupid photos of themselves with a crop.

"Trampling crops on Hwy 10 south of Dundalk for selfies… canola is the new sunflower field," wrote a Grey County farmer who does not wish to be named in a Facebook post on Saturday.

A photo included with the post shows at least three vehicles pulled over on the shoulder of Highway 410, roughly 1.5 hours northwest of Toronto. People can be seen near the cars, in the ditch between the road and the field, and scattered throughout the actual canola plants.

Unlike the various sunflower farms surrounding Toronto where you can pay to enter a field and take pictures with big yellow flowers, the farm in question exists to grow food. Like most farms.

Canola is one of their prettier crops, with plants growing up to five feet tall bearing delicate, bright yellow flowers. Seeds from these flowers are harvested and crushed to make the canola oil found in so many of the products we eat.

"People are essentially trampling on food… what would a grocery store do if people trampled on that?" said the farmer to blogTO of the incident. "The disconnect of understanding where your food comes from is sad."

"Its unfortunate that people don't see this as someone's livelihood on private property," they continued. "There are trespassing laws in place for this kind of violation — unfortunately they are not often enforced."

In addition to regular trespassing laws, which can come with a penalty of up to $10,000 upon conviction, Ontario passed a farm-specific trespassing law in 2020.

The Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act was created specifically to protect farm animals from trespassers (and protect farmers against damage caused by animal rights activists.) Under this law, someone can be fined to $15,000 for trespassing on farms where animals are present.

The farm near Dundalk isn't the first to experience problems with frantic tourists and it likely won't be the last, but local residents want everyone to know that their "innocent" selfies are causing real harm.

"I saw this too! It made the road dangerous and it was blatant disregard for the property they trampled," wrote one commenter on a shared version of the farmer's original photo. "When I made the return trip I could see where they had all been, stomped down."

"This is completely asinine… I'm in complete shock. Can't believe what I'm seeing," wrote another. "You can see the downed crop areas… Are those trespassing people gonna pay for the $$$ the owner loses on crop loss? This is someone's income. Feel so sorry for the owner of this field."

Another suggested that people send the post to media outlets in Toronto to "reach all the tourists who travel through our beautiful area."

Hello and thank you to the person who did that — let's hope it helps more people realize that they shouldn't trample crops for photos (or any other purposes).

Lead photo by

submitted to blogTO

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