July 21, 2015 – Just after 9 a.m. on a Thursday morning in Toronto, a good citizen saw a dead raccoon on the sidewalk and alerted the city’s contact center via Twitter to have the animal picked up. Six hours later, the raccoon was still on the sidewalk. What happened next is more Canadian than washing down your poutine with a cup of Tim Horton’s coffee at a curling tournament. People had started to create something of a memorial to the dead Toronto raccoon.
Someone wrote #deadraccoonTO on a piece of paper, and a hashtag was born. People added flowers and a Sharpie so folks could sign a condolence card. As the night wore on, the raccoon was given a candlelight vigil and a donation box appeared to help give the little fella a “proper burial.” With the city falling down on the job, City Councillor Norm Kelly 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.
Nearly 14hrs. after Jason Wagar’s original Tweet, a city van pulled up. 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.