They say an elephant never forgets. And it’s likely York Regional Police and some startled early risers won’t be able to forget what they saw in a Newmarket neighbourhood early Thursday morning – three elephants wandering loose around the area. Cops responded to Yonge and Eagle Sts. around 2:30am, when some night owl residents spotted what appeared to be several pachyderms taking a stroll outside their doors.
“I couldn’t believe my eyes,” said Ryan Quartarone. “I thought it was fake at first but it was walking straight down the sidewalk.”
Ryan quickly called his friend, Jimmy Bonnell, who promptly dismissed his story.
“He said Jimmy run outside right now, there’s elephants. And I didn’t believe him and I said don’t call me at 2:30 again.”
But there they were after all, strolling about in the middle of the suburbs. One appeared to be enjoying a late night snack, munching a few leaves off a tree. Another was found idling lazily at a nearby corner. And the third wasn’t far from home – the grounds where the Garden Brothers Circus was being set up. The troupe is in town to play nine shows in Newmarket and the creatures, each weighing some 8,000 pounds, got loose from their pens and began a minor jaunt through the nighttime streets of the city.
Trainers were called and packed their trunks, taking the animals back where they belonged. Apparently, the super smart performers actually understand a few words of English, so when they were told to return home, they dutifully turned around and trudged back to circus H.Q. There were no injuries and no real property was damaged during the unscheduled elephant walk, but one of the visitors left an unschediled present of the lawn of resident Shu Mei. She found what she calls the “animal droppings” on her lawn in the morning.
So how did Suzy, Bunny and Minny (who fell asleep before actually leaving the property) all get out of their enclosure? “The trainer came out about 2am and fed them and checked on them and between that time when he went to lay down, somebody had unplugged the electric (sic) that runs to the low voltage fence around their pen area,” explains the circus’s Ian Garden. “So I guess two of the girls discovered that the electric was off and they’d thought they’d go eat some grass over here.”
And that’s the reason the circus came to town early – very, very early – in Newmarket. As for Mei, her property has been given a free clean-up by circus staff – and she’s been awarded some free tickets to the show. Guess which attraction she’ll be watching most closely.
Farah Nasser will have much more on this elephant egress on CityNews at Six.