Search for owner of ‘Ossington Bear’ goes viral after couple take him out on the town
'Ossington Bear' was found riding the subway alone at a train at Ossington Station Monday July 2, 2018. (Rhonda Riche)
Joshua Freeman, CP24.com
Published Tuesday, July 3, 2018 4:20PM EDT
A stuffed polar bear found riding the TTC alone has become a social media sensation after a couple eager to reunite the toy with its owner took the bear out on the town.
Rhonda Riche said she and her husband spotted the stuffed white polar bear alone, on an eastbound subway train at Ossington Station Monday evening at around 5 p.m.
“We were going out for dinner and it was strangely an uncrowded train and just maybe two or three other people and the bear sitting by himself with his snacks,” Riche told CP24.com. “At first I thought’ somebody’s sad because they lost their buddy.’ I think we’ve all lost a stuffed animal or know someone that did.”
With their stop coming up and realizing that the TTC’s lost and found would be closed that day, Riche decided she might have a better shot at getting him home herself.
“I was afraid that if I didn’t take it, he might just get thrown in the garbage or someone else might take him, and also that it would be much faster if we just went to social media,” Riche said.
So the couple took “Ossington Bear,” as they dubbed him, along on their outing to the Ossington Avenue and Queen Street West area.
“We started taking pictures because we thought when we did reunite the bear with his fam, we would have a nice story to share,” riche said. “We went for some Vietnamese food and kind of hung out on the hipster strip. We saw a Ferrari and took a picture. It was good for us because we had been stuck inside and it was so hot, so we had an adventure too.”
When they got home, Riche took to the Bunz community to share Ossington Bear’s story and appeal for help finding his owners.
“I’ve seen on Bunz, because I’ve been a longtime member of that community, many a miracle with wallets and keys. So I thought Bunz is the place to go,” Riche said.
In terms of getting the word out, it turns out that she was spot on.
“It blew up!” Riche said. “I think people reacted to the story, but also to the fact that they could pitch in and help. They just joined in – people like to solve a mystery.”
Hundreds of people have liked the post so far. The TTC has tweeted it out as well.
Riche said that with all the negative news from Toronto’s streets over the weekend, she’s glad that the story has given people in the city something positive to rally around and she said she’s not surprised that the post has spread so far.
“I wasn’t surprised because I’ve always believed that the people of Toronto are good and connected and a real community,” she said. “Sometimes we seem like a city of strangers, but at the end of the day we’re not. So I’m not surprised.
“What’s surprising is when you wake up in the morning and everyone’s calling and emailing you and saying ‘I saw this on my parenting group’ and seeing how far it’s spread.”
There haven’t been any leads so far, but Riche said that she’s keeping Ossington Bear comfy in the meantime.
“He’s hanging out at my house in the air conditioning. He’s not alone. He’s trying to beat the heat right now,” she said. “Hopefully someone claims him and his next trip will be us going to meet them for their reunification. But if not, we’ll probably just go down to High Park, get some cool breezes in the park, maybe hang out in The Junction.”
While she’s having fun hanging out with the bear, she’s hopeful all the attention will eventually lead her to his rightful owner.
“If you can make someone happy by finding their friend, that’s an awesome feeling.”