They destroy our garbage, cause countless delays on the TTC and become the inspiration for music videos — all while gaining international media attention, none the less.
It’s the animal we all love to hate, the one and only trash panada, aka Toronto’s unofficial mascot, the raccoon.
And while Torontonians love to talk about how much raccoons drive them crazy, the truth is, we have a soft spot for the furry little creatures.
Seriously, Torontonians have gone as far as building a makeshift memorial for a raccoon that was found deceased on the side of Yonge Street.
And with 2018 drawing to a close, we felt there was no better time to share our favourite Toronto raccoon stories of the year.
Here are the Toronto raccoon stories (in no particular order) that touched our cold hearts, made us laugh, and even helped us fall even more deeply in love with these curious creatures.
This fall, a Toronto woman was woken up around 1 am to the sound of some noises in her kitchen. When she went to investigate, she discovered two raccoons snuck in through the window and were hanging out in the kitchen eating bread.
In July, when Toronto was under a heat warning, it wasn’t just residents who were feeling the effects of the warmth. A raccoon was pictured under a UP Express sign and it’s safe to say the little guy was feeling pretty tired from the heat.
Last January, somehow a curious trash panda found its way onto the exterior fencing along the bridge near CityPlace, which runs 125 metres over the busy rail corridor between Front Street and Iceboat Terrace. Luckily a Toronto resident happened to be in the right place at the right time and snap a picture of the extremely Toronto scene.
On a recent 99% Invisible podcast episode titled, “Raccoon Resistance,” producer Katie Mingle spoke with Toronto journalist and honorary raccoon expert Amy Dempsey about the city’s ongoing “war on raccoons.” The 30-minute episode tackled the issues surrounding Toronto raccoons, including how the curious critters continue to break into the city’s very expensive organic waste bins, that cost $31 million for half a million bins in 2016.
In November, there was a slight delay on the TTC one afternoon, but the reason was too cute to get upset over. Line 1 northbound from Eglinton to Finch experienced a delay due to a curious trash panda making its way onto the subway tracks. Commuters ended up having to wait for 30-minutes for the raccoon to safely clear the tracks.
Toronto’s curious trash pandas have garnered so much attention that National Public Radio has officially dubbed Toronto as the ‘Raccoon Capital of the World’ in a recent article. The distinction came after headlines continued to be made after raccoons still manage to break into the city’s supposedly raccoon-proof green bins.
A 2018 study from Sudbury’s Laurentian University found there’s a connection between the size and health of a raccoon based on where they find their meals. Basically urban raccoons that live in Toronto are getting increasingly fatter, and in turn, developing the hallmark signs of diabetes.
Dance artist Judge Bitch released a raccoon-inspired song this year, fittingly titled “Trash Panda,” which brings Toronto’s raccoons to life. But these trash pandas are far from cute. The raccoons in this music video are human-size and wreak havoc around the city, beat up citizens, and dig into trash bins.
A few years ago, the City of Toronto rolled out the new “animal-resistant” green bins, which was specifically targeted to raccoons. However, Toronto’s famous animals have already adapted to the new bin and one curious critter was caught pulling the latch and opening the bin.
It’s a tale we’ve all heard before, a curious little raccoon has gotten itself into a very questionable situation. Only this time it happened south of the border and not in Toronto, but the story is so wild it definitely deserves a shout out. In June, a furry little
raccoon Spiderman became the most talked about creature on social media after scaling a 25-floor building in St. Paul, Minnesota.
And in case you still can’t get enough of these little guys, we highly recommend picking up a Toronto raccoon calendar for yourself (or everyone left on your Christmas list). A portion of the sale of each calendar will be donated to the Toronto Wildlife Centre.