Lord Elgin Hotel Downtown Ottawa

100 Elgin Street, Ottawa, ON K1P 5K8
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Lord Elgin Hotel – Articles

The mystery of the bronze statuette

rom Winnipeg Free Press, September 21, 2011. By Mia Rabson.

When you were young did you ever steal something and later regret it?

You’re likely in good company.

Apparently someone in Ottawa has been regretting a theft for six decades and finally wanted to make peace with his actions.

In June, workers at the Lord Elgin Hotel in downtown Ottawa were perplexed by the discovery of a bronze statue of British General James Wolfe in a plastic bag along with a note.

“This statuette of Wolfe was stupidly stolen in the 1950s from the old building that then housed the Public Archives of Canada on Sussex Drive. It is returned through the charity of strangers because my conscience has bothered me for a very long time and I am now an old man. I very much regret this act of foolishness and apologize to the authorities for having deprived the Archives of this artifact.”

Perhaps what the guilt-laden thief did not know is that apparently nobody really knew the statuette was missing.

Officials at Library and Archives Canada – which used to be called the Public Archives of Canada – didn’t initially even know they had ever had such a statuette.

It took three months, numerous interviews with retired workers and combing through nearly century-old records, to find out the statuette probably was one of four statues the archives took possession of in 1914.

It is now being authenticated by the archives personnel. It’s apparently missing a sword and slightly damaged.

Nobody expects to ever figure out who actually took it or what in particular made the taker return it now.