Can you 'Find TorontoRaccoons' in this colourful new book?
Raccoon-themed products are always a big hit in the city, shop owners say
It's 2018 and raccoons have taken over the city of Toronto.
Some naysayers deny this, but Ken Gruber and Berta Mascarenhas are not among them.
In fact, they've placed themselves at the forefront of a raccoon renaissance in this city with a new book titled Find TorontoRaccoons.
"There is something about them that captures the imagination of the city," Gruber told CBC Toronto.
The colourful picture book challenges readers to locate the trash panda in a variety of quintessential Toronto scenes.
This is the second raccoon-themed publication for Gruber and Mascaenhas.
Last year, they printed a calendar featuring snapshots of the "city's unofficial mascot," as Gruber describes them.
"Just like everyone else, raccoons have found Toronto a welcoming place to live," Gruber reasoned.
A portion of their sales goes to the Toronto Wildlife Centre — a fact that makes their product more attractive to local buyer Rebecca O'Rourke.
O'Rourke says they've sold raccoon-themed products to people from the United States and across Canada.
"I think people want a little piece of Toronto wherever they are," she explained.
It's a theme that Matthew Blackett has also seen in his shop, The Spacing Store.
Blackett stocks raccoon-themed notebooks, salt-and-pepper shakers, t-shirts and more.
"We're just happy to provide customers with an option that represents this city," he said.
As for Gruber, he is just happy to pay homage to the city's most iconic animal.
"I think they're already our overlords. That time has come," he said.