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A toad all dressed up with nowhere to go

Changing seasons means changing outfits for the toad statue on Arthur Street

If you’ve ever walked along Arthur Street between Eramosa Road and Macdonell Street, you may have noticed a well-dressed toad. Whether it be in a dress, cowboy hat or a safety vest, the concrete toad looking over the sidewalk usually has clothes on.

Think of it as Arthur Street's Begging Bear.

Anna Shaftoe has lived at 86 Arthur St. for 25 years. Her home was build in 1880 and no, it did not come with the toad statue.

Originally she had a small green toad statue but it was stolen. So this toad is glued to the pedestal it sits on.

She started dressing up her toad statue some odd years ago when someone gave her Halloween decorations. So the toad got dressed up for Halloween.

Shaftoe continued dressing the toad up “because people enjoyed it so much,” she said. 

Whenever she is out front of the house people walking by will shout “I love your toad!” Once and awhile she’ll receive a thank you note about how fun the toad is. 

Sometimes the toad doesn't have any clothes on. “If somebody takes what's on it I usually leave it naked for a few days,” said Shaftoe.

The toad doesn’t have a name and often switches genders.

The toad gets dressed up for occasions like Christmas, Easter, Remembrance Day and can be political by dressing up in green with Green Party signs on the fence behind it.

"With changing seasons I may change the outfit but I don’t have a fixed schedule," Shaftoe said.

Most of the toad’s clothes are thrifted and some are donated by passersby.

“There is a little bit of a history with the toads in the neighbourhood,” Shaftoe said. “We’ve noticed a decline in the toads."

The toads breed in the Speed River that runs behind her house and there was a time where they bred in her front pond. 

“So we used to come out at night at dusk and collect them, help them across the street because the street would be squished toads in the morning,” she said.

“We don't see that kind of mass migration anymore,” said Shaftoe.

Her toad statue is an ode to the toads.

“It's just a fun thing to do. I might not be as fast on the uptake recently as I used to be,” she said.

She said people are welcome to change the toads' clothes.


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Santana Bellantoni

About the Author: Santana Bellantoni

Santana Bellantoni was born and raised in Canada’s capital, Ottawa. As a general assignment reporter for Guelph Today she is looking to discover the communities, citizens and quirks that make Guelph a vibrant city.
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