“Savage squirrels” take out public Christmas tree lights


Torontonians are learning that when the spirit of the season is set alight, nothing can extinguish it—except maybe a pack of squirrels.

Toronto’s Mel Lastman Square is a popular destination for skating, but skaters no longer glide beneath the glimmer of seasonal lights. Instead, the strings of lights that adorn the park’s trees have gone dark, thanks (officials believe) to squirrels chewing through the wires. Apparently, the rodents have been wreaking havoc on the decorations for a few years now, but this has been their most destructive year yet.

City councillor John Filion told the CBC, “I believe it totally has to do with one or more squirrels who perhaps don’t like Christmas.”

Mel Lastman Square with lights.
Mel Lastman Square in happier days.

The issue began a few years ago with a few lights going dark. Last year, so many lights were extinguished that the city hired a cherry picker to replace the broken lights. However, even a worker dedicated to the task could not keep up with the destructive creatures, and the lights have been dark.

“We have some savage squirrels out here,” said Justin Eccleston, a resident who walks by the square every day.

Of course, as Councillor Filion told the Toronto Star, the squirrels have not been formally found guilty of the crime. “I don’t think it’s humans chewing through the Christmas lights but anything is possible. We have no visual confirmation it’s squirrels.”

This year, the city is trying to keep the square festive with wreaths and lights that are strung on poles rather than trees, and they will continue to look for solutions. As Filion told the Star, “If we can put a man on the moon, we can find a fix for this tree.”

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