One Winnipeg woman is trying to find homes for hundreds of goldfish after a city pond was drained, leaving thousands of the tiny swimmers to dry out and die.

Earlier this month, Erin Cornelius said she was contacted by a friend on Facebook who told her the pond at Millennium Library had been drained and hundreds fish were flopping around, dying.

Dead fish

Winnipegger Erin Cornelius rescued hundreds of goldfish from the Millennium Library pond after it had been drained with thousands of fish still inside. (Erin Cornelius)

Cornelius said she went down the pond immediately with two friends and began pulling fish out. Some of them had gathered in a few inches of water in a deep end of the pond.

By the end of the day she had collected about 175, but there were still thousands more left.

When she returned the next day, Cornelius said the remaining water had been drained and the fish “swept up and thrown away.”

“There was a covered area that had not been swept, and I pulled 271 barely alive fish from the mud. 30 died by the time I got them home,” said Cornelius.


Erin Cornelius still has hundreds of rescued fish in a tank at her home. She's hoping to adopt out the rest. (Erin Cornelius)

Cornelius has been adopting out the fish to various places, including seniors homes, but she still has hundreds left.

City of Winnipeg officials aren’t accepting responsibility for the snafu. A spokesperson said the city does not add fish to the pond, and in fact, they have signs up that ask people not to put fish in the ponds.

Each year all city ponds are drained around Thanksgiving, and typically the city tries to capture the fish and give them to adoptive homes.

Neither the city nor Cornelius seems to know why people are dumping fish in the ponds, and for now, Cornelius is just trying to find a home for her remaining rescue-fish.

She said anyone who wants to adopt some of the fish can email her at erin.d.cornelius (at) gmail (dot) com.