UPDATE (10:00 AM ET):The bear has been safely released back into the wild. All the photos are here.
Ottawa Police had no choice but to shut down the city's busiest downtown district early this morning, after receiving multiple 911 calls about a black bear wandering the streets.
Ottawa's ByWard Market neighbourhood - near Parliament Hill - remains closed as police attempt to contain the animal and safely remove it from Ottawa's downtown streets. Police are warning the public to stay away from the restricted area.
LOL! A bear made it’s way downtown Ottawa last night and caused street closures! If they only knew Fernie pic.twitter.com/bo0nWrApvN
The bear is now surrounded by police, and officers are on standby until Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources arrives on scene. They are ready to act if the animal becomes aggressive, CP24 reports.
The bear's been on the loose for just a few hours and he already has a Twitter account - @BywardBear. Twitter users are even jokingly nominating the Byward Bear as a candidate for office. The bear's tweet back is priceless:
MNR just arrived with a trailer cage for the #ByWardBear. The bear is contained inside a block of houses and businesses in the ByWard Market. #ottnews@1310NEWS@OttawaMatters@BTtoronto@BTCityNewsMTLpic.twitter.com/keQsGR6SGx
The bear was first spotted in the area of St. Patrick and Dalhousie Streets sometime in the middle of the night. Multiple news outlets have reported that a bear trapped in an urban area can be dangerous for nearby pedestrians, due to the bear's stress level.
"Bears in urban areas are very dangerous. This is a wild animal that will be extremely stressed. Experts will be doing their best to relocate bear from downtown Ottawa but this is very difficult work," CTV's Graham Richardson said earlier.
We know the curiosity can be unbearable, but please avoid the area and allow the area to be clear and calm to bring the bear to safety. https://t.co/SxaQAIGv51
About an hour ago, the bear was "sitting calmly" near Dalhousie and Murray Streets. So, for the time being, the situation appears under control and the bear is not an immediate threat to safety.