A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘raccoons

[URBAN NOTE] Five Toronto links: Liberty Market Tower, Canada goose, raccoons, van attack, Minassian

  • Urban Toronto looks at the excavation site of Liberty Market Tower in Liberty Village.
  • blogTO notes that the Canada Goose has returned to Toronto, and that some geese have begun to defend their reclaimed territories.
  • This Heather Mallick column at the Toronto Star about her accidental (and unsuccessful) impromptu stabbing of an errant raccoon is just bizarre.
  • Many of the witnesses of the Yonge Street van attack last year are still struggling. Global News reports.
  • The Katherine Laidlaw profileat Toronto Life of Alek Minassian, perpetrator of last year’s van attack on Yonge Street, is timely. Still: How did he come to that point in his life where that atrocity made sense?

[URBAN NOTE] Five Toronto links: Superlinx, housing, rooming houses, raccoons

  • Urban Toronto takes a look at the revised Superlinx plan put forth by the Toronto Board of Trade for a GTA transit network.
  • Lauren Pelley at CBC Toronto highlights a new report examining how the shortage of affordable housing has the potential to create catastrophe.
  • Aparita Bhandari at The Discourse notes that, out of one Scarborough public discussion on the housing crisis, the idea of legalizing rooming houses kept coming up. I like this idea; I lived in one myself when I first moved here.
  • May Warren at the Toronto Star notes that one-third of young adults in Toronto live with their parents, and that this response to housing costs makes perfect sense.
  • Jamie Bradburn has announced that, happily, Thursday will be Trash Panda Thursday at his blog, featuring his explorations of the noble raccoon in the mass media past of Toronto.

[URBAN NOTE] Six Toronto links: 1918/1919, subway, homicide, raccoons, ravines, books

  • Jamie Bradburn looks at how the newspapers of Toronto in 1918 greeted the arrival of 1919.
  • CBC Toronto notes that the question of uploading the subway–indeed, the question of what that means–will take top priority in Toronto in 2019.
  • What will the homicide rate be in Toronto in 2019? The Toronto Star considers.
  • The raccoons of Toronto deserve to be celebrated. The Toronto Star looks at this.
  • Guardian Cities looks at the extent to which the unique ecologies of the Toronto ravine system are undergoing a slow-motion collapse, and considers what can be done to stop this.
  • The Toronto Public Library’s The Buzz shared the top book picks for 2018.

[URBAN NOTE] Five city links: Montréal, Pittsburgh, Saskatoon, Atlanta, Calgary

  • CityLab takes a look at how Montréal took care of the problem of an excess of raccoons in that city’s Mount Royal Park, particularly around the Camillien-Houd lookout.
  • CityLab takes a look at the city-defining design of Pittsburgh-based architect Tasso Katselas.
  • The Yellow Quill First Nation is setting up an urban reserve in the city of Saskatoon. Global News reports.
  • Guardian Cities looks at the roots of the black art renaissance in Atlanta.
  • Joe McFarland at Global News argues that, particularly with its skepticism over the 2026 Olympics, Calgary is starting to retreat into an anti-development mood.

[URBAN NOTE] Five Toronto links: The Discourse, Scarborough RT, Christie subway, TTC, raccoons

  • The Discourse introduces its new Scarborough newsletter, written by Aparita Bhandari, here.
  • Chris Penrose shares at Spacing a photo essay, walking the length of the Scarborough RT network.
  • Transit Toronto revisits an interesting episode in Toronto transit history, the three weeks in 1960 when the TTC was planning for a subway line running south from Christie.
  • blogTO shares nine decades’ worth of photos and video of different models of TTC vehicles.
  • Leyland Cecco at Guardian Cities writes about the strong position of the raccoon in the culture of Toronto.

[URBAN NOTE] Five Toronto links: Bombardier, Quayside, intersections, Scarborough, raccoons

  • In the wake of the systematic welding faults in Bombardier’s streetcars delivered to the TTC, what can be said but that Bombardier is a terrible vendor? Ben Spurr reports for the Toronto Star.
  • This extended article by Nancy Scola at Politico of the immense Google operation at Quayside, its problems and its goals, is worth reading.
  • Many Toronto intersections, I can personally testify, are frightening. (The junction of Annette and Dupont with Dundas West comes to my mind.) The Toronto Star reports.
  • This Scarborough name sign does seem like it’d be fun to visit. NMOW Toronto reports.
  • Poor Toronto raccoons: Our food, scavenged by them, is making them ill. The National Post reports.

[NEWS] Two animal intelligence links: cetaceans, raccoons

  • Cetacean intelligence evolved under the same pressures as primate intelligence, and in the same ways. We are peers. The Globe and Mail reports.
  • Raccoons recently tested highly on a controlled test of their ingenuity and intelligence. A York study, of course. National Geographic reports.

Written by Randy McDonald

October 22, 2017 at 6:00 pm

[PHOTO] Raccoon tracks in the snow

Tracks in the snow

The light powder that had fallen on my laneway’s concrete early yesterday morning was perfect material for preserving these tracks of raccoons.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 7, 2017 at 1:45 pm

Posted in Photo, Toronto

Tagged with , , ,

[URBAN NOTE] “New Battle Lines Drawn in War on Raccoon”

Torontoist’s David Hains reports on the latest stage of Toronto’s fight with the wily, behanded raccoon.

A new type of green bin from the City of Toronto aims to finally stymie our number one menace: raccoons.

According to a staff report at council, the $31.6-million contract awarded to Rehrig Pacific Company has more than twice the capacity, and, more importantly, features a “rodent-resistant locking lid.” (Important editor’s note: Raccoons are not rodents, but the staff report refers to the misunderstood critter pretty much as though they are one.)

The bins will be distributed to residents in late 2015 and early 2016.

This green bin wasn’t just slapped together—this is serious business. There was a poll and everything. In 2012, Ipsos Reid did reached out to 501 Toronto residents over the age of 18 and asked them for their thoughts on the preexisting bins.

Among respondents, 67 per cent said “rodent resistance” was the most important feature of their bin, presumably because they know losing is not an option in the War on Raccoons.

This emphasis on raccoon resistance may be counter-productive, though. Raccoons are very smart and adaptive, and by making the green bins extra difficult, we may just be creating an environment for a breed of super-raccoons. It’s pretty much like (spoiler alert) the plot of the Edge of Tomorrow.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 31, 2015 at 10:17 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Midnight marauders”

Sarah Elton‘s cover article in last week’s issue of The Grid, “Midnight marauders”, takes an extended look at Toronto’s raccoons.

There’s no official city count, but scientists with the Ministry of Natural Resources estimate that there could be as many as 100 raccoons per square kilometre living in the city—so many that Toronto has been unofficially dubbed the raccoon capital of the world.

In 2012, Toronto Animal Services responded to 8,529 calls from the public about raccoons—mostly about dead animals that people wanted city workers to remove, the rest being sick or injured. The highest concentration of raccoons exists in the old City of Toronto, where higher densities of humans mean more garbage to scavenge.

[. . .]

So, why Toronto?

Well, technically, they were here first. “This is the raccoon ecosystem,” says Suzanne MacDonald, a psychology professor at York University who specializes in animal behaviour. MacDonald studies raccoon psychology and is currently researching their problem-solving abilities to figure out how they break into our garbage and birdfeeders. “The urban environment we constructed suits them just fine,” she says.

Unlike cities such as Montreal, Edmonton, and Ottawa, Toronto winters are milder and we typically don’t get buried by the kind of snow that makes it hard for raccoons to forage. The city’s network of ravines also connects neighbourhoods, MacDonald says, which offers raccoons a safe place to retreat, if necessary. And unlike Vancouver (where, historically, there have been more condo buildings in the downtown), Toronto has residential neighbourhoods with leafy backyards, garages, and easy access to garbage. Urban raccoons have flourished here because of their ability to adapt to our environment, forage in our waste, and find shelter in easy-to-break-into older downtown homes.

MacDonald says that, while we think we frequently come into contact with raccoons, we’re mostly unaware of their movements. She recently set up night-vision webcams in a friend’s backyard, near High Park. In one night, she documented more than 50 individual raccoons travelling through his property.

Written by Randy McDonald

June 19, 2013 at 6:53 pm