Hundreds gathered in Canada’s capital this past weekend to celebrate and mourn the closure of one of the most infamous McDonald’s in the world.
The Rideau McDonald’s Farewell March brought together people from all over Ottawa to commemorate the end of an era.
It is notorious for hosting a litany of late-night fights between drunks who frequent the nearby bars, and police have complained that thousands of incidents have been reported at the venue.
In 2013, it gained worldwide recognition after a viral video captured the moment a mass brawl broke out in which a man pulled a raccoon from under his shirt.
Continued fighting and unruly guests caused more than 800 calls to police in 2018 alone, causing the outlet to drop its 24-hour schedule, but the Ottawa Police Department reported they still received more than 150 calls last year.
Hundreds gathered in Canada’s capital to celebrate and mourn the closure of arguably the world’s most infamous McDonald’s
Ottawa’s Rideau McDonald’s is notorious for hosting a litany of nighttime fights between drunks frequenting nearby bars
“Aside from Parliament Hill, I would say it’s our biggest monument,” said Keith de Silvia-Legault, a University of Ottawa student who organized the march. CCTV. “Every good story deserves a good ending.”
Ottawans attending the march wore a variety of costumes – some dressed as Ronald McDonald – and waved signs reading ‘Goodbye, adieu’.
One was Ian Reid, who said: ‘We are not meeting here today to protest the closure, but to remember all the good memories and raise money for a good cause.’
The parade raised money for local charities, Operation Come Home and Voice Found, which help homeless and vulnerable youth, as well as survivors of human trafficking and child sexual abuse.
Reid was dressed as a raccoon and holding a framed portrait of a raccoon. “He was involved in a brawl here many years ago,” he told CTV.
But not everyone was sad to see McDonald’s disappear.
“The past three, four years of COVID, it’s just turned it into complete crap,” Ottawa resident Hayley Gleiser told CBC.
“I was here a week and a half ago,” Jack Graham said. “And I just felt like I was slipping, so I watched [at my shoe] and there is a needle.’
The viral video showed a man taking a raccoon out of his coat during a brawl at the restaurant
Keith de Silvia-Legault, a University of Ottawa student who organized the march, told CTV: ‘Besides Parliament Hill, I would say it’s our biggest landmark’
The restaurant has also become a safe place for people to take refuge from the cold Ottawa weather.
Mike Evraire has often relied on McDonald’s for cheap meals between meals he receives from the city’s emergency shelters. “It’s terrible for some people,” he said.
Peter Crosthwaite, owner of the building on Rideau Street, told me CCTV that the franchise owner decided not to renew the lease.
“They’ve been a great tenant. People don’t appreciate how good McDonald’s has been as a member of the community,” Crosthwaite said.
“They will be missed by the market, especially for people looking for an affordable bite to eat,” he added.
The video that put Rideau Street McDonald’s on the map begins with a group of men arguing inside the restaurant, surrounded by other customers.
They exchange vicious blows with each other, and as more join in the fight, a man is seen pulling out a raccoon and appearing to brandish the animal as a weapon.
He can be seen holding the raccoon as he pushes two others fighting alongside him.
The group raised money for local charities that help homeless and vulnerable youth, as well as survivors of human trafficking and child sexual abuse
The owner of the Rideau Street building said the franchise owner had decided not to renew the lease
That was not an isolated event. Video from 2018 shows a group of three men beating each other with ‘Wet Floor’ signs during a fight at 1am.
Dubbed ‘Legendary Rideau McDonalds’, the video shows the men violently hurling the plates at each other as customers yell at them to stop with some cheering them on.
The men also trade punches and kicks, before one of them picks up a plate again and hits another on the head, then walks off.
That fight was one of more than 800 that year that eventually prompted then-Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau to send a letter to Canada’s McDonald’s leadership about the “ongoing criminal activity and social disorder.”
Another incident, from 2016, involved a man cursing at staff yelling at him to get out. He took off his shirt and warned the employees not to touch him.
A recorded incident from 2016 showed a woman screaming for her bag when a group of staffers tried to usher her out of the restaurant
During a fight in 2018, a group of men hit each other with wet floor signs
Another video from that year shows a woman who appears disoriented yelling at employees for her bag as they try to keep her away.
Despite the squabbles and unruly customers, Crosthwaite suggested earlier this year that the decision to close was a result of declining revenues and not regular chaos.
“The city tore up Rideau Street and put the subway in it. Then they ripped it up again to improve it, put curbs in it,” Crosthwaite told CTW.
“Freedom is coming up and we had COVID. All these things are upheavals that can’t make it easy for a steady, reliable operation.”
McDonald’s Canada did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment.