Confused shoppers spotted the deer around noon as the lost animal swam past the Well Pharmacy offices in Castlefield and ran down the busy Oxford Road.
“People were trying to help but there wasn’t much that could be done,” Kate Erskine, from Manchester, told the Press Association.
“It got to a shallow point in the canal and managed to jump out before running towards Deansgate.”
In a tweet, the Greater Manchester Police said the deer had eventually made its way safely into Whitworth park. “No i-deer where it’s heading next,” the police joked.
The RSPCA told the BBC: “We received a report from the police that a medium-sized female deer was in the canal in Manchester city centre this afternoon but it managed to get out.
“We were then told the deer was stranded on some land near the canal but it again managed to get free and ran away before our officers could attend.”
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies