Two circus stars take a late stroll in Newmarket



Rick Madonik/torstar news service


Trainer Billy Morris hoses down two of the three elephants that went for a stroll late Wednesday night in Newmarket.


“I opened the front door and I didn’t know what the smell was,” said Shu Mei yesterday. “But not good. And then I saw it.”

An elephant’s “calling card” on her lawn. Poop that would need a pretty big scoop.

That’s what happens when the power supply is accidentally cut to the electric fence that keeps in three circus elephants and two of them decide to see if the grass really is greener on the other side. The third was fast asleep and missed the early morning outing.

Garden Bros. Circus is appearing through this weekend at the Ray Twinney Recreation Complex in Newmarket. The three Asian elephants, Susie, Bunny and Minnie, have a compound set up in the parking lot, where they are cared for by trainer Billy Morris.

Morris said someone seemed to have tripped over the power cord to the fence after he checked on the elephants just before 2:30 a.m.

“The next thing I knew, the cops came to get me,” he said. “Susie and Bunny had gone on the lam.”

Susie wasn’t far away, sampling the grass on the edge of the complex. Bunny kept going. A York Region Police dispatcher told patrol cars to be on the lookout for “one outstanding elephant ... last seen heading north on Crossland Gate.”

An officer radioed in that he had the “outstanding elephant” in view. “It’s just eating someone’s tree.”

Ian Garden, president and ringmaster of the Mississauga-based circus, said he believed this was the first elephant escape in its 70-year history.

“I didn’t touch it (the dung),” Mei said, eyeing her chewed-up lilies. “The circus sent someone to pick it up. They gave me tickets for the show. I’ll see the elephants there.”