rideau mcdonalds closing ottawa

Ontario's sketchiest McDonald's location closing for good and no it's not Queen and Spadina

If you think Toronto's notorious Queen and Spadina McDonald's is the stuff of provincial folklore, you might not know about an even more chaotic location a few hundred kilometres away in our nation's capital, one that's about to shutter for good.

Ottawa's Rideau Street McDonald's (technically 60 George Street) has built up a legendary reputation since the golden arches first dawned over the block in 1985, more so for its habit of attracting criminal activity than for whipping up a bang-on quarter-pounder with cheese (hold the pickles).

The franchise owner has reportedly opted not to renew the lease, meaning McDonald's will slang its last 20-pack of McNuggets with sweet and sour sauce at this location in April.

And if you need evidence of why this is the most notorious McD's in the province — an honour many would bestow on Toronto's infamous Queen and Spadina location — one video from 2016 lays it all out.

To my knowledge, this is the only McDonald's location in the province (or anywhere else in the world) known to have hosted an impromptu all-out brawl where a random dude with a dart hanging out of his mouth pulled out a baby raccoon, wielding it confidently as if it would protect him from the chaos with a force field of cuteness or maybe rabies.

It's a moment that will go down in the annals of both Ontario fast food and Ontario street brawl lore, perhaps even fitting of a Canadian Heritage Moment.

Basically, this place was chaos boiled down to its unstable essence, or as one commenter put it, "peak Ottawa."

Things got so bad that, in 2019, Ottawa's then-police chief, Charles Bordeleau, went so far as to send a letter to McDonald's Canada executives about — and I swear this is a thing that actually happened — "ongoing criminal activity and social disorder" at the location, resulting in the Rideau Street McD's reducing its hours of operation.

The Rideau Street Mickey Dee's is probably just about the wildest place you'll find in Ottawa, which is really saying something based on entirely bananas things that have gone down in the capital over the past few years.

As a lifelong Toronto resident, I can admit that while our Queen-Spadina McDonald's is a local laughing stock, they've never (to my knowledge) been asked to cut back their hours on request from the police.

CTV News Ottawa reports that local police were called to the location more than 150 times last year alone, which is a vast improvement over the 800 calls (I actually just spat my McCafe coffee out reading that) reported in 2018.

That means that police were called to this same McDonald's location an average of 2.19 times per day, every day, for a freaking year solid.

And McDonald's Canada didn't even launch their line of mini donuts until 2020, so these police visits were all official duty.

I don't think our Queen and Spadina franchise can compete with those numbers, or that I'd want it to.

Lead photo by

Jason Cook

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