People In Toronto Created A Memorial To A Dead Raccoon After The City Forgot To Pick It Up

RIP #DeadRaccoonTO

1. Just after 9 a.m. Thursday morning a good citizen of Toronto saw a dead raccoon on the sidewalk. He alerted the city’s contact centre to come get the animal.

2. The city responded 12 minutes later. Animal Services was notified, they said.

The poor raccoon would soon be taken away. Sad, but at least the system works.

4. But around noon the raccoon was still there. And someone put a note next to it.

“Rest dear raccoon,” the note said. “Help is on the way from the city.”

5. Six hours after being reported to the city, the raccoon was still on the sidewalk. People had started to create something of a memorial to it.

Was this spontaneous? Who has time to print a photo of a raccoon, frame it, and put it on the street?

No one knew why this was happening, or if it was some kind of stunt.

(Update: Read the story of the people who created the memorial.)

6. City Councillor Norm Kelly, who is surely one of Canada’s greatest Twitter users, saw the raccoon tweet and also asked the city to take action.

Please have staff pick up this raccoon at 819 Yonge St, @311Toronto. H/T @jasonwagar. #TOpoli

— Norm Kelly (@norm)

7. The city replied yet again.

@norm That's just disrespectful. Animal Svcs notified again. ^gt

— 311 Toronto (@311Toronto)

OK, so now someone would come get the poor thing.

8. Almost two hours later, the raccoon was still there. Someone wrote #deadraccoonto on a piece of paper. A hashtag was born.

Don't quite know what to say about this sidewalk discovery except that it really brought ppl together. #deadraccoonto

— Shauna Pollock (@misspollock)

9. Noticing the hashtag sign, one commenter on this Instagram photo asked, “I don’t get it — is the raccoon trying to go viral?”

10. People added flowers and a Sharpie so folks could sign a condolences card. It had been more than nine hours since the first tweet to the city.

sleep well my sweet prince, people loved you and remember you #deadraccoonto

— Chris Hahn (@heyhahn)

11. Close to 8 p.m. the raccoon was still there. Flowers and cards continued to pile up.

Raccoon memorial sighting @ the corner of Yonge n Church. #DeadRaccoonTO

— D C (@ladydi1116)

12. The original raccoon spotter passed by again at 8:20 p.m. He tagged the city yet again to get service. His original tweet was posted almost 12 hours earlier.

@norm @311Toronto 8:20 pm. Come on, Animal Services.

— Jason Wagar (@jasonwagar)

13. Seriously, that poor raccoon.

@jasonwagar @norm @311Toronto 12 hours and nothing? Poor little dude.

— Laura Brown (@lauralux)

14. With the city falling down on the job, the Greatest Tweeting Councillor took over. @Norm bugged the city again.

The sidewalk memorial is growing, @311Toronto. H/T @jasonwagar. #DeadRaccoonTO

— Norm Kelly (@norm)

15. He thought of a fitting tribute to an animal that is renowned for its compost-bin opening prowess.

Residents are being asked to keep their green bins open tonight in honour of #DeadRaccoonTO.

— Norm Kelly (@norm)

16. And then he dropped a Drake reference.

Drake reacting to #DeadRaccoonTO.

— Norm Kelly (@norm)

17. The raccoon and the seemingly spontaneous memorial to it elicited some strong reactions. @Norm saw an opportunity for humour in the face of municipal incompetence. Others were disgusted with how people treated the dead animal.

The whole #DeadRaccoonTO thing is disgusting. Haven't been so embarrassed to say I'm from #Toronto in a long time.

— PK © (@brotherpetekic)

18. This guy thought it was sick and funny.

We Torontonians are a sick bunch. But funny. #DeadRaccoonTO https://t.co/1QjdM3M2yt

— Mike Smith (@happyeffluvium)

19. Though some thought the poor dead raccoon actually brought a city together.

Toronto has earned the "Toronto the Good" moniker with #deadraccoonTO

— Cecily Walker (@skeskali)

I don't really understand how the magic that is #DeadRaccoonTO is happening, but it is fantastic that our city can come together for this.

— JSON Statham (@sachasayan)

21. As the night wore on, the raccoon was given a candlelight vigil.

10:46pm #DeadRacoonTO is still here.

— Kris Pangilinan (@KrisReports)

22. A donation box appeared to help give the little fella a “proper burial.”

Someone has added a donation box beside the dead raccoon. #DeadRaccoonTO

— Kris Pangilinan (@KrisReports)

23. And then, just after 11 p.m., a city van pulled up. This freelance journalist was there to capture the historic moment.

BREAKING: City of Toronto has arrived to remove the dead raccoon. #DeadRaccoonTO

— Kris Pangilinan (@KrisReports)

24. Yes, after more than 14 hours lying in the street, #DeadRaccoonTo was about to be taken away.

The city of Toronto worker is now preparing to remove the raccoon. #DeadRaccoonTO

— Kris Pangilinan (@KrisReports)

25. The worker placed the raccoon in a garbage bag as a small crowd watched, mostly in silence. “Seriously guys, it’s a dead raccoon,” the worker said. He was oblivious to the moment, to how this dead raccoon had united so many.

Here is The City of Toronto worker removing the raccoon. #DeadRaccoonTO

— Kris Pangilinan (@KrisReports)

26. People lit one last candle.

One last candle for our little buddy Conrad. #DeadRaccoonTO

— Kris Pangilinan (@KrisReports)

27. @Norm gave the eulogy.

#DeadRaccoonTO is now gone but will never be forgotten. Picture courtesy of @KrisReports. #RIP

— Norm Kelly (@norm)

Damn. Life's so short.

— Norm Kelly (@norm)

RIP #DeadRaccoonTO. We hope you found peace.

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Craig Silverman is Media Editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto.
Contact Craig Silverman at craig.silverman@buzzfeed.com.
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