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1961::Cougar Soup - a Cougar Chase in Downtown Victoria, British Columbia

Updated: Jul 7, 2023

A rare incident that put a city on edge.

1961::Cougar Soup

"1961::Cougar Soup"

Clip: The Province (1961)

Vancouver, British Columbia

At 4 am, in the heart of downtown Victoria, a cab heading south on Douglas Street came to a screeching halt when an animal the size of a large dog suddenly bolted across its path from Humbolt Street and smashed into a nearby storefront window. As the animal regained its composure, the cab driver saw that it was not a dog he had almost hit but a large cougar. Realizing the danger the cougar imposed, the driver called the police and rallied his fellow cab drivers to the scene. The men made several attempts to corner and eliminate the cat but the cougar, wise and uncomfortable with the situation, leapt over the men and their cars and got away. For 90 minutes, the cougar led the cab drivers and the police on a wild, winding path throughout the city's streets. After smashing four more windows and dodging four bullets, the crazed cat finally came to rest on Government Street. Police estimated that the 6-foot-long 125-pound male cougar was running at top speed when struck by the lethal bullet. To the men's sadness, shooting the cat was their only option, but they were glad to have kept the city safe.

The cab driver who first spotted the street-roaming cougar claimed its carcass as his trophy and arranged to have it processed by a local taxidermist. At the same time, a claim was made by a local chef who wanted to soak its flesh in boiling water with herbs, pork and whiskey to make Cougar Soup. In the following days, individuals and local interest groups fought over the cougar's remains. The British Columbia Provincial Museum ultimately won the battle and acquired the famous cougar for scientific study.

1961::The Cartoon That Relaxed a City On-Edge

"1961::The Cartoon That Relaxed a City On-Edge" Artist: Sidney Arnold Barron, Canadian Cartoonist (1918-2006)

Cartoon Clip: Victoria Daily Times (1962)

Victoria, British Columbia

Days after the chase, the citizens awakened by the sound of the early morning cougar chase were still on edge. To make light of the situation, a local cartoonist captured the general feel of the city and released his sketch in the local paper.

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