It seems the unknown Gage Park turtle bandit had a change of heart amid outcry from locals, as the iconic bronze turtle statue stolen from the Gage Park fountain has been returned to its rightful home.
The heritage turtle statue – which has been stolen and returned at least once before – is an original fixture of the landmark Gage Park water fountain, which has stood in Hamilton’s east end for a whole century.
This new theft occurred roughly one week ago by an unknown culprit and, though a motive wasn’t identified, many in the community speculated that the bronze statue had been taken to sell as scrap metal. Though the City of Hamilton has a mould on hand they can use to craft a replacement turtle if needed, no replica could ever really replace the true century-old original.
Luckily, the saga has an unexpectedly happy ending.
In a tweet yesterday from Hamilton’s Ward 2 Councillor Jason Farr, he reveals that his wife, Lisa Farr, found the turtle mysteriously returned by the mystery culprit, sitting precariously on its original pedestal lining the fountain. While she stayed and guarded the statue, Councillor Farr left to fetch a wagon and bring the turtle to safety.
Culprits returned Gage Park Fountain turtle this quiet dreary eve. Found insecurely perched back in place by Lisa Farr (my hero wife) who stood guard til I hauled my little green wagon over for transport to safety as per Parks staff request. pic.twitter.com/ZG85nLdho1
— Jason Farr (@jasonfarrhamont) May 18, 2020
Now, with the bronze turtle returned safe and sound, city officials will be able to reaffix the iconic statue to its home, where it will hopefully remain for at least another century yet to come.
The first time the bronze turtle was stolen from the Gage Park fountain was in 1996, and the statue was returned under cover of night shortly after.
Lead image courtesy of @JasonFarrHamOnt