A Canadian McDonald's that became a crime hotspot — and went viral after a brawl involving a raccoon — is closing
- A McDonald's restaurant in Ottawa, known for its high levels of crime, is shutting down.
- Police were called to the restaurant more than 900 times in 2017, Ottawa's police chief said.
A McDonald's restaurant in Ottawa, Canada which became a crime hotspot is shutting down, an employee confirmed to Insider.
The owner of the building on Rideau Street told CBC that the franchisee had decided not to renew their lease when it expires this summer. The exact date when the restaurant will close is not clear.
Police and local residents alike have expressed concerns about the restaurant over the years.
"Officers attend this location on a daily basis to address issues including vagrancy, liquor license violations, illicit drug use, and incidents of violence," then Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau wrote to the CEO of McDonald's Canada in March 2019, per CTV.
A councillor at the time, Mathieu Fleury, added that there had been problems with gangs at the restaurant and that it was one of the places in Ottawa that generated the most calls to emergency services, per CBC.
Police had been called to the restaurant more than 900 times in 2017, Bordeleau said, per CBC. On two consecutive days in April 2019, officers visited the restaurant seven times each day, Bordeleau later told CTV.
In April 2019, the restaurant ditched its 24-hour status and switched to a 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. schedule over safety concerns. The then-franchisee said they would also add security. The restaurant has since pushed back its opening time by two hours to 8:00 a.m.
McDonald's corporate communications department did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment, but an employee at the restaurant confirmed to Insider that it is closing.
The restaurant, which first opened in 1985, attracted a media buzz after a 2014 video of a mass brawl appearing to show a man pulling a baby raccoon from inside his jacket went viral.
"When you come here, you're afraid," one local resident told CTV in 2019.
Local residents voiced similar concerns to CBC last week after news of the restaurant's closure was announced.
One recent visitor said he saw a needle on the floor in the restaurant. Another told the news station that over the past few years, it had turned into "complete trash."
Peter Crosthwaite, the building's property manager, suggested to CTV that the end of the restaurant's 24-hour operations could have caused sales to fall. He also suggested that COVID may have taken a toll on the business.
Despite the complaints from local police and residents, Crosthwaite told CBC that McDonald's had been a "great tenant."
"People don't appreciate how good of a community member McDonald's has been," he said.
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