As if Rob Ford admitting to smoking crack wasn’t bad enough for morale at Toronto’s City Hall, it now also has to worry about raccoons possibly chewing on the chamber seats.
Perhaps it’s payback for the decades Torontonians have invaded cottage country.
Raccoons, rats, mice and birds have made a home out of the soffits underneath the roof of City Hall’s second floor. While politicians debated the veracity of the crack tape and gossiped about whether Ford should resign, the animals were busy chewing up insulation and leaving their feces all over the aluminum channels that were designed to keep them out.
Giancaro Cervini, a worker hired to deal with the escalating problem, puts it even more bluntly: “There is raccoon s— all over the place.”
But the creatures have been living in City Hall since far before the latest Ford scandal—contract workers say the animals have occupied the soffits for over a year. A group of raccoons even chewed up plywood behind the insulation, which provides the final barrier between them and City Hall. Maybe they just wanted a better view from the peanut gallery? Although known as skilled climbers, (despite the verging on obese size of many Toronto raccoons, but what do you expect with a diet of garbage?), it remains a mystery how they managed to infiltrate the building. Mary Lou Leiher, a program manager with Animal Services, told the National Post: “They are expert climbers. It is what they do best. They can usually successfully climb up almost anything.” The workers are currently rigorously raccoon proofing, which includes putting up wire mesh throughout the building.
Dubbed the “Raccoon Capital of the World,” Toronto has a raccoon population that’s estimated to be at over 100,000. Although some nasty Torontonians have called for city-run cull to control the undeniably adorable animals, the growing population of raccoons should be the least of City Hall’s worries at the moment.