Rats invade St. James Park in downtown Toronto

Rats are invading a popular park in downtown Toronto and appear to be multiplying like ... mice.

20 rodents caught at park in two days, city official says


Rodents are running amok in a popular park in downtown Toronto and appear to be multiplying like ... mice.

Rats were seen scavenging around St. James Park at the northwest corner of Jarvis Street and King Street East, right beside the well-known St. James Cathedral.

The city said the park is infested and exterminators are trying to take care of the problem. In fact, parks operations manager Ray Stukas said the city has been receiving complaints for months but the problem has escalated in recent weeks. More traps have been set and 20 rats were caught in just two days, the city official told CBC News.

"They're big and they are plentiful," said park-goer Mark Hierlihy. "If you come here at about dusk, you just see them running back and forth in all directions."

The rodents, which usually stay out of the sunlight because of their sensitive eyes, were undaunted by light, people or, it would seem, CBC cameras.

Close encounter

CBC News got up close and personal on Monday — perhaps too close for some — when Toronto reporter Matthew Bingley dropped his notepad and saw a large brown rat scurry over it.

The rodent paused for a moment to let the reporter snap a photo before running off.

Jessica Lacey said she's seen "probably a dozen at a time, with mice and rats around the garbage cans."

Stukas said two other city parks have also received complaints about rats but none nearly as many as at St. James Park.

Rats are nocturnal animals and are rarely seen during the day. By the number of rodents seen there in broad daylight, there's a good chance more of these rats are hiding out somewhere.

The city said it plans to address the problem so residents can get back to enjoying the park in peace.


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