How Ottawans are reacting to the pending closure of the Rideau Street McDonald’s

News of the pending closure of the notorious McDonald’s at 99 Rideau St. in Ottawa spread rapidly on social media, as residents past and present shared memories.

The restaurant has been in business for nearly 40 years, but the space’s landlord says the tenant is not renewing their lease this April.

It marks, for many, the end of an era in Ottawa, as the downtown restaurant developed a reputation as one of the most infamous locations in the city. It was, for many years, open 24 hours a day, and was a popular destination for a quick bite after bars in the ByWard Market closed.

When the news broke Wednesday that the restaurant would one day be gone, people on social media were quick to share memories.

One of the main memories was a viral moment, filmed in 2013, of a brawl in the McDonald’s during which a man can be seen removing a small raccoon from his sweater. Raccoons and raccoon emojis were common in the reaction.

Many called the McDonald’s on Rideau Street an Ottawa landmark, deserving of heritage status.

But city councillor Ariel Troster said, no, unfortunately, it’s not eligible.

The restaurant’s reputation was well known across Ottawa. In 2018, an individual who claimed to have once been a manager at the restaurant posted a popular “ask me anything” (AMA) thread on the Ottawa subreddit that received more than a hundred questions.

The news Wednesday prompted a new thread of memories, including a lengthy post about memories dating back to childhood and adolescence of shady business and frightening encounters.

The restaurant cut its hours in 2019 after pressure from the police, who complained about the high number of service calls to the address. For many, that was the beginning of the end. The dining room was later closed and the restaurant is only open for takeout orders to this day.

While it’s too early to say what will replace it, residents say the stories of 99 Rideau St. will not be forgotten.

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