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Spotted: Trot-Thru

Some mounted police officers take a break.


SPOTTED BY: Reddit user billybobmac.

WHERE: The McDonald’s near King and Dufferin Streets.

WHEN: Earlier today.

WHAT: You’d think eating an Egg McMuffin while riding a horse would be difficult, but these are highly skilled officers and we’re sure they know what they’re doing. Don’t drive-thru windows have sensors to alert the restaurant to cars, though? Would a horse be able to trip one of those?

Spotted features interesting things our readers discover in their journeys across Toronto. If you spot something interesting, send a photo and pertinent details to


  • Hamish Grant

    in before the trolls and horse-haters… the city and the TPS know about the mounted police patrols – they’re based at the Exhibition grounds, so patrols through this area are common – Public Works comes and cleans the horse piles up usually within 24 hours. And no it doesn’t smell horrible, it’s just barely-digested hay.

    • Testu

      As a resident of one of the apartment buildings in the background of the photo, I respectfully disagree.

      It really does smell terrible in the summer months. It also gets spread around all over in front of the streetcar and bus stops as that is where the horses are often stopped waiting for lights. What’s left is a smeared mess of horse shit between you and the TTC vehicle, that you have to walk through to board.

      And as for cleanup within 24 hours? That would be amazing, if this were the 19th century. Why on earth do we pay for an already overstretched public works department to clean up after the Toronto Police Service’s pets?

      • Hamish Grant

        fair’s fair, we pay the city to clean up after our shit too.

        • Testu

          That’s true, although you and I are expected to clean up after our animals. Does TPS pay any sort of maintenance fee to Public Works specifically for this horse cleanup service?

          • Hamish Grant

            why? they’re municipal employees themselves… moving money from one part of the public purse to another…

          • Torontopoly

            That’s not how operating budgets work…PW isn’t going to take operating losses because TPS slings shit everywhere.

          • Hamish Grant

            not if it’s part of their normal duties… i.e. this is something that they have budgeted time to.

          • Testu

            It matters because TPS was crying poor over the last city budget. If they don’t have money for proper staffing how the hell can they afford to care for and house horses for an entire mounted division.

            And because it matters who’s budget cleaning up after the horses comes from. Public Works has plenty to do without (literally) paying to clean up TPS’s mess.

          • Hamish Grant

            the Mounted Unit has been a part of the Toronto Police Service since Toronto’s incorporation as a city – they have always been a part of this city.. The relationship between them and Public Works, in terms of budgeting time and resources to pick up after the horses, therefore, isn’t exceptional. There’s no need to transfer funds from one city department to another to take account of something that is a completely normal and usual part of the job. It has ALWAYS been part of the role of Public Works to deal with on-street horse shit, whether from normal patrols or from parades. This is part of what the city asks Public Works to do, i.e. their mandate.

          • Testu


            I understand the historical significance of the unit and their relation to the city. I’m just suggesting that under our current “cut every budget by 10%” administration (or really any administration), the mounted division is overly wasteful of resources. Including those of departments other than TPS. This has a direct affect on the quality of city services we all receive and to what end? What actual good are the mounted police doing?

          • Hamish Grant

            if you don’t know I would suggest you look it up because you’re making your arguments without understanding the role Mounted Units play in municipal policing. Until you educate yourself there’s not much point having this discussion.

          • Testu

            It was rhetorical, but I’m sure you know that.

            I’m suggesting that for the five million per year that it costs (directly) to operate this particular unit we would be better served by additional police officers actually walking a beat, and interacting with the people in the neighbourhood. This would also have the benefit of removing the minor additional load the mounted services place on other city departments.

            Plenty of cities manage crowd control without mounted police officers. And while it may be easier to deal with an uncooperative suspect by intimidating them with a horse it is not the only way to do it.

            The mounted division has a very limited application in the policing of Toronto and I think it’s cost outweighs it’s benefits nowadays.

            Also, I’m really sick of horse shit on the goddamn street.

          • Hamish Grant

            if it were possible for one citizen to assume another citizen’s tax proportion for a particular service, I would gladly assume your $2 burden in this particular case. i see the benefit, I live in the area too and I really don’t care about the horse shit issue.

          • Testu

            Fair enough, different strokes for different folks.

      • OgtheDIm

        Hardly pets. More like large bikes, with brains and crappy digestive leftovers.

        Very useful in crowd situations, as cops in Britain would tell you.

        • Testu

          Amazingly useful. Here’s a great example of the kind of good they did us fairly recently:

          • OgtheDim

            Yes yes yes, the G20 is the only ever thing the horses have ever done.

            I despise what the cops did at the G20. I was at one of the protests. Not happy with Blair or the RCMP or the OPP. And used improperly, the mounted unit is something to be feared.

            But are you really going to suggest that the other policing options, valid and relatively peaceful, that the mounted unit provides are thus invalid?

            That’s like saying I can’t wear black cause the Black Bloc did………..oh wait…I remember that idea from somewhere.

          • Testu

            No, this was just a chance to show a particularly galling use of the mounted force.

            I’ve stated elsewhere in the comments, the valid and relatively peaceful policing options the mounted unit provides are really very limited and could be handled by regular officers and existing equipment without the additional cost of maintaining a mounted division. More to the point, given the budget “reductions” the TPS faces, I believe the money would be better spent on officers that actually walk a beat and interact with the people in the community they patrol.

            Horses are pretty and all, but there’s something to be said for an officer that’s actually approachable on the street.

    • estta

      “Public Works comes and cleans the horse piles up usually within 24 hours.” Really? Because the horse waste around Peter and Richmond stays there for days unless it is washed away by the weather.

  • nk

    hmmm. My understanding is that no drive thru is supposed to accept orders from anyone who is not in a car. I don’t know if motorcycles are allowed but if you’ve ever tried to drive thru with a bike you’ll know that it is against drive thru policies. I doubt horses fall into the acceptable category.

    • fred

      its the cops, people will let the cops do whatever they want without arguing.

      • Hamish Grant

        either that or the McDonald’s staff know them (very likely as this is the closest McD’s to their home base) and don’t mind.

    • Testu

      Well you see, the horses are “police officers”. So of course they’re an exception.

      I’m curious if a police officer riding another (two legged) police officer would also be served at the drive through.

  • torontothegreat

    I hope they’re not drinking that swill coffee

    • Testu

      The horses or the officers?

      I’m pretty sure the officers are sitting way too high to use the call box, so you know who must be ordering.

      • torontothegreat

        That must be so confusing for the McDonald’s employee.

        “Sir, would you like coffee with that?”

  • Get real

    Yeah, and you call in the army to clean up your snow. People, these are three mounted police officers taking a break at MacDonald’s. What a great PR photo for Toronto… and for you horse poo haters… I live downwind from the Central Experimental Farm and when they spread manure there, c’est pew!!!! It’s better than the’ crap’that wafts over from Parliament Hill which I can see from the upper story of my house…My Dad had a store on Yonge St in Toronto and seeing a mounted officer going down the street was a thrill as was seeing a pair of officers dressed in those long winter Cossack coats they used to wear clopping by in the mist of a foggy winter’s day in High Park. Ok, there are Mounties are Parliament Hill but I don’t think they go through MacD’s while on break. Count your blessings Toronto, the closest some of your kids will ever get to a live horse may be one of these. It was this city kid’s first contact with a horse and lead to a life long love of all things equine. Even the comes in handy in the garden.