In an unprecedented act of protest, squirrels from every background across the Montreal Island gathered together in front of a new condo building about to be inaugurated near Highway 40. Fed up with the damage the projects were having on their lives, they wanted an end to it and were there to stage a nut-in. Grey, black, brown and red squirrels, some with big nuts others with smaller nuts, put aside their animosity for each other and were prepared to do whatever was necessary to stop any further devastation of their homes and food supply.
They came from every part of the island – from the East, West, North and South and were determined to make their chirps and rapid, clicking sounds of alarm heard in a chorus of unity. They flicked their puffed up tails in anger – and even those who had lost part of their tails managed to thump along. The female squirrels formed a large circle around their youngsters and stood vigilantly on hind legs to contain and protect them.
At first the developers were not too concerned, thinking they were just a bunch of rodents who had lost their way or were attracted to some type of food source nearby. But when several hundred grew into thousands, they became alarmed and called in city officials. By the time they arrived the whole building was surrounded by squirrels. They tried shouting at them and honking truck horns, but to no avail – as the squirrels remained unwavering. Then to their shock, the sound of chirping from the females slowly rose into a chant of ‘Hell No We Won’t Go!’ and the nuts began to fly. Peanuts, acorns and even some hazelnuts were expertly flung by their tails, with the males quickly taking their cue and joining in – each hitting their targets with precision. “My nuts! My nuts!” came the cry from the developers as they ran into the upscale, communal, condo lobby with fireplace to protect themselves from the onslaught.
The squirrels only grew bolder, moving in closer, some climbing up to the terraces and and scratching at patio doors. The developers and officials became scared, unable to design a floor plan quick enough they could use to counter and confuse them. It was getting out of hand and they needed to take drastic action. First protecting themselves with quartz countertop slabs, they formed a tight circle and made their way to a fire hydrant where they attached a hose. The squirrels were uncertain of their move and became quiet. And then the onslaught began. A high pressure torrent of water unexpectedly hit the squirrels, sending them flying backwards and on top of those behind them. It seemed as if all was lost, until a cry of despair came from the circle of female squirrels. It was loud and horrifying enough to stop the attack. There was a sudden silence as the hydrant was closed. A path opened up in the crowd of squirrels and a female, carrying something in her arms came forth to the front. She was holding a youngling – and it was dead, drowned by the water that had hit them.
Realizing what had happened, the squirrels became distraught and full of despair. They began to retreat, but then to their surprise raccoons, rabbits and skunks appeared. Hundreds and hundreds of them came to join them. The mother and her youngling were solemnly escorted away – and then the real battle began. With the other animals reinforcing them, the squirrels were able to drive the developers and officials away and take over the building. In time, they chewed up the walls and wires, made nests inside the condo units and bathed freely in the infinity pool. Birds from all over the province flew in to help, attacking and poking at the developers, keeping any attempts by them to regain control at bay. After several weeks they finally conceded to their demands – all new condo developments in progress were to be torn down and in their place greenspaces were to be renewed with trees, grass and native plants. Word of what happened spread across the globe and animals were taking action. There was a new world order – perhaps a dream, but nevertheless a hopeful one.