White squirrels: not as uncommon as we thought

White squirrels: not as uncommon as we thought

Squirrel lore is alive and well on Queen St. W.

Walking past Trinity Bellwoods Park in January, passersby may have noticed a giant print of a white squirrel filling a store window. It piqued the curiosity of nearby residents. Either an official white squirrel fan club was forming, and had enough coin to lease prime real estate (unlikely), or something new and interesting (and tapped into the local squirrel lore) was about to open in this long-dormant storefront. In mid-January, it was revealed to be the latter: the White Squirrel Coffee Shop opened for business. Co-owners David Ginsberg and David Eaglesham licensed the white squirrel silhouette from Toronto-based design collective Moimoi and had the adorable little rodent done up on red print as a window teaser for their store. Apparently, the teaser worked a little too well. What Ginsberg and Eaglesham didn’t know was that an Ottawa clothing company, Trustfund, is also known by a white squirrel logo. This shouldn’t have been a problem, except West Queen Westers are so keen on boutique clothing that some them thought they recognized the logo and sent e-mails to Trustfund, expressing their excitement that the company was opening a Toronto location.

The litmus test for visual identity infringement? People think your logo is someone else’s. Whoops.

A couple of quasi-litigious exchanges ensued, but luckily cooler heads at Trustfund prevailed, and Ginsberg and Eaglesham were able to hold onto the white squirrel—on the condition that their white squirrel will always appear inside a white circle. We actually prefer it that way—it gives the little fella a scavenger hunt feel. A triumphant “I found a white squirrel!” quality.

See our profile of the White Squirrel Coffee Shop in our Just Opened section.