Once upon a time, there was a great animal who roamed the streets of Vancouver. We’d like to call him Great Prince of the Forest, but residents in the city preferred “downtown deer.”
Legend has it that the deer made Stanley Park its home after being separated from its family (for the sake of convenience, we’ll assume his mother was killed by a hunter). Lonely and hungry, the young animal was now forced to fend for itself.
But rather than bonding with the local animals…
…This one bonded with people.
It didn’t take long for downtown deer to be loved and admired by all.
He would join people on their morning jogs:
Went out for a 5k, ended up doing 11k. Glad I kept going or else I wouldn’t have crossed paths with this guy! #downtowndeer #stanleyparkdeer #run #running #instarunners #instafit #vancouver #vancity #britishcolumbia #westcoast #summer2015 #stanleypark #thirdbeach #beautifulbc #wildlife #vancitybuzz #seawall A photo posted by Wissam Kamel (@wissam.kamel) on
And frolic in the park with visitors:
It was even there to help flip a car during the Stanley Cup riots:
The animal became the subject of all kinds of tourist videos and social media conversation. He was even able to learn how to adapt to Canada’s frigid winters all on his own.
Soon, the deer had so many friends it had to start up its own Twitter account!
If you’re wondering. I’m still at Stanley Park. Forget the totem poles and take a photo with me!
— Downtown (@DowntownDeer) August 11, 2015
Before long, he became just a regular guy:
It all seemed so perfect. Until last weekend, when tragedy struck.
It is believed downtown deer was fatally struck by a car, a blow felt by the entire city of Vancouver.
RIP little guy:
The outpouring of grief from the community was immediate and intense.
— Kevin Eastwood (@Kevin_Eastwood) September 14, 2015
Some compared the animal to Biblical figures:
The Downtown Deer died for all our sins. — Kent (@GordsRants) September 14, 2015
Others were more interested in the wherabouts of its succulent corpse:
— Miranda Nelson (@charenton_) September 14, 2015
Just days after the story broke, a grey whale was seen near Stanley Park, apparently attempting to pay its respects.
We can only imagine what other tributes we didn’t see.
May you all live on as heroes in the afterlife.