Rats feasting in our green bins and backyard tomato patches. Rats scurrying through our living rooms. Rats popping out of our toilets. An investigation into how Toronto became a vermin breeding ground
I’ve lived in Toronto for 25 years, off and on, and I have seen maybe half a dozen rats, both living and dead. Like most people, I don’t seek them out. This chilly Monday morning in early fall, however, I’m at a midtown food-production facility that I must leave nameless—the owners would prefer to stay on good terms with their neighbours. I’m in the company of Daniel Mackie and Ron Forbes, two pest control professionals, both attired in the crisp, pinstriped uniforms of GreenLeaf Pest Control. GreenLeaf bills itself as the “number one eco-conscious pest control service in Toronto.” They’re here to inspect the 30-odd traps they’ve laid for the rats that have plagued this establishment for months. They do this once a week, unlocking the hard black plastic boxes and extracting the two Jawz snap traps that they’ve baited with soy butter or pepperoni or a daub of Provoke gel, a so-called rat attractant. If they find a rat, its lifeless body is dropped into a black garbage bag, double-bagged and then taken back to their main office and thrown in a dumpster.