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Trinity Bellwoods Park loses white squirrel

Posted by Derek Flack / August 18, 2014

Trinity Bellwoods white squirrelSad news today for Toronto's squirrel population, which is short one of its most noteworthy members, a white squirrel from Trinity Bellwoods Park. We received a tip over the weekend that the poor critter had been electrocuted in the power lines above the park, a fact which is confirmed by a grainy but convincing photo of the aftermath. It's an unceremonious end for a creature that enjoys near mythic status in Toronto.

This isn't the end of white squirrel sightings in the park, though. Despite continued references to the white squirrel of Trinity Bellwoods, park experts insist that there are at least two such creatures, who have been spotted together on numerous occasions, no less. So while that's good news for this bit of urban folklore, one wonders about the future of the line. Will we ever see little baby white squirrels running around? Perhaps there are more than two adult squirrels, and these white anomalies will propagate and continue to offer themselves up for rare sightings around the park.

Let's hope so.

Nighttime photo by Matt Murphy and Amil Niazi



Benedict / August 18, 2014 at 09:12 am
SquirrelFan / August 18, 2014 at 09:13 am
There is also a white squirrel at Queen and Bathurst, and another regular sighting at Queen and Portland. Don't know if it is the same squirrel spotted in both locations or not.
Al / August 18, 2014 at 09:13 am
I thought BlogTO knew stuff about Toronto. There are numerous white squirrels in the park and that general area.You think there's a white squirrel cafe, A street called White Squirrel Way, and all the sightings because of two squirrels which have a life span of about 6 years ? I've even been spotting one in a little park at Portland and Richmond this year.
Randy / August 18, 2014 at 09:14 am
DL / August 18, 2014 at 09:17 am
So probably more black than white now, eh?
Mike / August 18, 2014 at 09:21 am
RIP white squirrel (? - 2014)
Vinnie / August 18, 2014 at 09:23 am
there's one in Parc La Fontaine in Montreal as well.
Nick / August 18, 2014 at 09:23 am
I live on Markham Street, and I saw a white squirrel on my property twice last year - presumably not the same one that lives in the park.
John / August 18, 2014 at 09:30 am
Nobody cares when a black squirrel dies, but a white squirrel dies and everybody be like "Heavens no!"
Rocket J / August 18, 2014 at 09:32 am
Sad news! :(

Yes, John, we are racist to be mourning only white squirrels.
Marc / August 18, 2014 at 09:34 am
Soooo / August 18, 2014 at 09:37 am
That photo is not legit
Kev / August 18, 2014 at 09:43 am
What constitutes "park expert" status?
Jacob / August 18, 2014 at 09:52 am
Goodbye Lil' Sebastian.
Josh / August 18, 2014 at 10:10 am
This is what we have to get excited about in Toronto. A squirrel? Really? Might as well give it a statue in the park to, Wiarton Willie has one. Clowns
Anne / August 18, 2014 at 10:16 am
If people cared about the squirrels in Bellwoods park they'd ban dogs from being off leash. See how many dogs chase after squirrels in the park as they squirrel runs in panic for its life. Day after day. Don't say you care about the squirrels then let your dogs go after them while you flick your toxic cigarette buts on the grass.
Roger / August 18, 2014 at 10:18 am
Does anyone know if all the businesses in the Bellwoods area will be closed today due to this news? What's the impact here? Any stores closed or special deals or anything because of this?
Alyssa replying to a comment from John / August 18, 2014 at 10:25 am
Interesting fact; the "black" squirrel is just a melanistic (more melanin pigment in fur) version of the Eastern Grey Squirrel.
We typically will only have 4 types of squirrels in S.O. - red squirrels, eastern greys, fox squirrels (Peele Island only) and flying squirrels in more forested areas.

As for the little white guy, one of the Bellwoods crew, may he or she nibble on nuts in the great tree in the sky.
Grant replying to a comment from Anne / August 18, 2014 at 10:29 am
FYI off-leash dogs are restricted to the bowl, troll.
David / August 18, 2014 at 10:31 am
I believe there are more than a few families. I own 626 queen west and I have 3 different white squirrels that nest in the trees here.
Anne replying to a comment from Grant / August 18, 2014 at 10:37 am
I often see off leash dogs out of the bowl as people walk or bicycle they're dogs through the park with the dog running beside them. "Ohh my little fluffy doesn't need the rules of the dog bowl she's so harmless"

AND what you think squirrels aren't in the "bowl" as well? It's their natural habitat not yours not your dogs, show some respect.
sad news replying to a comment from Anne / August 18, 2014 at 10:47 am
cool story.
M replying to a comment from Anne / August 18, 2014 at 10:58 am
I'm sorry to hear that you feel this way about off leash dogs. I will honestly say I have my dog off leash but he has no interest in squirrels whatsoever. Infact most of the owners who have dogs off leash walk by their side and have no interest in squirrels. Plus good dog owners will know if their pooch is likely to take off and cause any sort of disturbances off leash.
End of the day I think most people in the park are very respectful of others.
I don't believe a dog has "Killed" the White Squirrel so there is no need to alienate them.
jitte / August 18, 2014 at 11:07 am
I've seen one in High Park as well.
Christine / August 18, 2014 at 11:15 am
Ok Anne. Why all the hating and blaming of the dogs. They have a right to play. If you read the blog you would note that the poor squirrel died from a power line not a dog. Why aren't you proposing that Toronto get rid of power? It seems a more likely solution for saving the cute little rodent. Or do you perhaps somehow find living like its 1876 inconvienent? I say leave your dumb remarks to yourself. If you don't like dogs stay out of bellwoods. RIP little guy!!
Trish / August 18, 2014 at 11:17 am
Is there going to be a memorial ceremony in the park? A plaque? Headstone? Would be sooooo cute!
Todd Toronto / August 18, 2014 at 11:21 am
Can someone explain why most of the squirrels in Toronto are black, whereas everywhere else (well, the States) the squirrels are brown and grey? Finding a black squirrel in NYC is rare.
Touil / August 18, 2014 at 11:26 am
The dog had his tail in mouth one day and let him go for another chase. good riddance fuzzy tailed daytime rat.
mc6 / August 18, 2014 at 11:27 am
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I only had the privilege of seeing him once, but I'll never forget it. It was an exciting day! RIP little guy. You were loved.
evolution / August 18, 2014 at 11:36 am
If dogs don't chase 'em you'll end up with fat, lazy squirrels. That doesn't bode well for their ongoing survival. With unleashed dogs around you ensure that the healthiest, fastest , smartest squirrels live on to continue the bloodline.
McRib replying to a comment from Anne / August 18, 2014 at 11:37 am
Toronto has more than enough squirrels that we really needn't shed a tear to the few who get snapped up by dogs. The species will survive just fine.
dy / August 18, 2014 at 11:41 am
I actually just saw a white squirrel in the park yesterday afternoon at around 3-4pm... any idea when that was photo taken?
perhaps this confirms that there is more than one white squirrel?
animalliberation / August 18, 2014 at 11:45 am
R.I.P. little white were loved.
Reading thru some of these posts...people can be so cruel...

Aaron / August 18, 2014 at 11:49 am
All this for a rodent?
Get a life people!
Anne replying to a comment from animalliberation / August 18, 2014 at 12:03 pm
Dogs can be cruel to squirrels as well. As long as dog owners continue to think its cute to have a dog 2-10% the size of a squirrel chase it right up a tree funny, we'll continue to be cruel. :(
the lemur replying to a comment from Todd Toronto / August 18, 2014 at 12:10 pm
What we have here are actually eastern grey squirrels that go through phases of melanism. It's just a recessive gene that emerges in some populations but not others.

jen replying to a comment from Anne / August 18, 2014 at 12:18 pm
Circle of life, Anne. Circle of life.
Ching Chong Wong / August 18, 2014 at 12:32 pm
Nobody cares about the yellow squirrels, not even a mention about them here!
Graeme / August 18, 2014 at 12:37 pm
There's still a white squirrel in our backyard at #Hashtag Gallery. We're only a couple blocks east of the park. It hides food there for the winter. There must have been a more than one...
Danny / August 18, 2014 at 12:40 pm
Only Bellwoods would try to claim/own a white squirrel. Umm they travel all over the place outside the park as well.
Sam / August 18, 2014 at 12:42 pm
Remember back in the day you used to be able to buy Rabbits feet keychains? I wonder if there's an opportunity to sell squirrels feet from a kiosk in the park. Visitors would love to have that kind of souvenir.
The greatest story ever told / August 18, 2014 at 12:46 pm
Here's a record of events from my side,

White Squirrel Drinks beer from can's thrown and left in the park trash

White Squirrel then stumbles around and eats a cigarette butt

White Squirrel then stumbles around the park experiencing hallucinations

White Squirrel then climbs up pole and attempts to walk across the line like it always does....

From here you know the rest of the story.
David / August 18, 2014 at 01:23 pm
White squirrels are a genetic mutation of the Grey Squirrel which plagues Toronto ..... its not the last time we'll ever see one. And they have also been seen in the park at Queen & Shaw Street.
RER / August 18, 2014 at 01:31 pm
Awe poor little guy! :(
Maggie / August 18, 2014 at 01:33 pm
It always feels like a really special day to see the white squirrel, I don't care if there is more than one. Like watching a white swan, they are somehow sympathetic and mythical - like a unicorn. Fans, if you have pictures, please post them in the FB group "White Squirrel Express Yourself"

gregor / August 18, 2014 at 02:09 pm
I wonder if it was squirrel suicide? One squirrel the embassador for an entire city park and area is alot of pressure. Squirrels usually commit this act by either drinking toxic liquids under a parked car, getting hit by a car, jumping out of a tree or playing on and chewing on hydro lines. Shame.
Andy / August 18, 2014 at 02:15 pm
You cant blame the mayor for making us look like idiots to the rest of the world, I think Torontinians are doing a fine job of it themselves with thus kind of nonsense. Geez people.
Wendy / August 18, 2014 at 02:22 pm
If only we showed the same respect abd cherished humans that are born slighty different from ourselves.
Matt / August 18, 2014 at 03:46 pm
Sad news! He or she made an appearance in this video I made years ago. :)
Luka / August 18, 2014 at 03:51 pm
What a coincidence. I just sent my wife a picture of a white squirrel I took just off of Ossington north of Queen last week. Wonder if it's the same one.
trainVapours replying to a comment from DL / August 18, 2014 at 04:12 pm

I wonder if the white squirrel went POOF! like this guy?
Doug / August 18, 2014 at 04:39 pm
Latest Hipster fashion trend = Live Squirrel on shoulder. SWEET!
Ian / August 18, 2014 at 04:41 pm
I think this is the squirrel trend your in need of,
jackie smyth / August 18, 2014 at 05:10 pm
I love the little squirrels, but not a couple months ago they were falling out of our big tree. One landed on the bbq, another on top of my daughter's car and yet another right in front of my dog! Don't know who was more surprised, the dog or the squirrel!! :-) But they are quite bold around here and will actually creep by her when we are out here early morning :-)
Gill / August 18, 2014 at 05:50 pm
Old wifey just sent me a picture of a squirrel last week - Co-inky Dink or what?
SL360 / August 18, 2014 at 06:19 pm
I'm shocked!
robin replying to a comment from Anne / August 18, 2014 at 08:25 pm
Ann are you one of those people who yell at us to pick up after our dogs before they have even finished their business? Or do you just hate dogs or just want something to bitch about?
Rob R. / August 18, 2014 at 08:25 pm
But when a black squirrel or a brown squirrel dies -where's the media coverage then? Racism is nuts!
Tbat / August 18, 2014 at 09:11 pm
I did see a baby white squirrel this summer on Euclid Av. Just north of Queen. It was darting across the street at about 730 am. Yay !
rk / August 18, 2014 at 09:38 pm
i live on euclid, and there were baby squirrels in my neighbors eaves-trough (which has since been closed because i think they were annoying their house) but there was a white, a black and a brown baby.. its been a couple months so the little guys are bigger.. my niece dubbed the white one snowball, and we have seen him quite a bit.. i snapped a few pics when he was pretty small and first exploring our house and tree.. so at least theres definitely some more white squirrels in the hood.
Whitesquirrel advocate / August 18, 2014 at 11:23 pm
I work very close to Queen and Portland and almost daily I am visited at work by Edgar (a white squirrel) she is a female (which I recently learned seeing her gain weight rapidly, lost it and have nipples grow). I probably shouldn't, but because it's so damn cool, I feed her whenever she pops by. She usually comes for dinner during the week and Saturdays for sure. I've also seen multiple white squirrels (at the same time) in high park so I can guarantee you there is more than two white squirrels in Trinity Bellwoods and around the area. I feel very lucky to be one of the few to have seen a white squirrel and probably even more lucky that I've actually been able to pet one and feed it daily from my hands. Long live the white squirrel.
C / August 18, 2014 at 11:27 pm
All of these comments are actually the worst.
katrina / August 18, 2014 at 11:37 pm
RIP white squirrel, i hope your legacy lives on forever. can anyone comment on sightings of the no-tail-squirrel on ryerson campus (usually along kerr hall, at church and gould)? i miss him.
katrina replying to a comment from Jacob / August 18, 2014 at 11:47 pm
you’re 5000 candles in the wind
Pedro / August 19, 2014 at 08:18 am
You don't need white squirrels to give birth to white squirrels. Albino squirrels can be born to two black parents. It's in the gene pool and while seldom, it occurs occasionally. Squirrels only live to about 6 and we've had white squirrels in Toronto for generations.

Sad to see that poor guy meet his fate in the power lines but we'll be seeing white squirrels in Toronto for many more years to come.
Laura replying to a comment from Anne / August 19, 2014 at 08:54 am
Hey Anne, maybe concentrate on expressing yourself more clearly in Blogto comments and spend less time hating on dog owners.

(Edited for clarity. Asterisks(*) indicate words that were cleaned up/added to facilitate better comprehension.)

"If people cared about the squirrels in *Trinity Bellwoods *Park they'd ban dogs from being *off-leash. See how many dogs chase after squirrels in the park as they *(squirrels) runs in panic for *their *lives. Day after day. Don't say you care about the squirrels then let your dogs go after them while you flick your toxic cigarette *butts on the grass."

Skye / August 19, 2014 at 09:30 am
Anne has a point, and I'm saying this as a dog owner. It's irresponsible to let your dog run off-leash, and I don't care how sweet and good you think Rover is.

I'm getting sick of people who let their off-leash lap dogs run and snap at my on-leash german shepherd. These people then shriek that my dog is "dangerous" when she barks at their little pint-size mutts.

I've also seen off-leash dogs snatch snacks from children's hands, only to have their owners say "Fluffy is well-behaved! That child shouldn't have been waving food where he could see it".

Leash your dogs. The park is for everyone.
Anne replying to a comment from Laura / August 19, 2014 at 10:55 am
Hey Laura, maybe concentrate on expressing yourself and contributing your own thoughts to the discussion and spend less time editing others thoughts and feelings. You haven't helped or contributed anything to this discussion, is that because you lack opinion or confidence to speak for yourself?
Laura replying to a comment from Anne / August 19, 2014 at 12:27 pm

Okay, in this instance I take issue with you conflating owners of off-leash dogs and cigarette smokers into the same category. Both a certainly an issue in Trinity Bellwoods, but there's no merit in pigeon-holing either group.
Ed replying to a comment from katrina / August 20, 2014 at 02:34 am
I saw the no-tail black squirrel on Gerrard by Church about a month ago. I felt sorry for it. :/
Karen Pottruff replying to a comment from Al / August 20, 2014 at 09:12 am
Long live the white squirrels of Toronto. I have yet to see one, but would like to.
En Sabah Nur / August 20, 2014 at 02:16 pm
and yet no one weeps when a brown squirrel dies...
deejay Gramera / August 22, 2014 at 09:39 am
I found him/her… or possibly a relative - this morning in the alley behind Euclid:
Dennis Morris / August 22, 2014 at 10:11 am
Hi everyone

I saw a white squirrel in a back yard on Euclid Avenue testerday afternoon

Muli / October 6, 2014 at 05:24 pm
my dog chased one of the white squirrels a couple of days ago. she almost got it..

I featured two pictures of that cute thing on my photo-blog:
Chris / September 21, 2015 at 10:08 am
hoping someone can help....came across a baby squirrel in Trinity Bellwoods last night (Sept 20th approx 10pm), it ran up to me, sat on my shoe, followed me etc....wasn't sure what to do and after speaking to someone at Toronto wildlife this morning, they confirmed its likely orphaned, needs to be raised around other baby squirrels but are at capacity, with the next closest place being in Georgina.....I don't own a car, have a small condo with 2 cats and hoping someone might have some ideas or be able to help out. Only other alternative is to call Animal Services and they don't exactly do rescues. = (
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