The story unfolds with a tip off from a Sudbury.com reader.
“Last night my wife, daughter and I went for a walk around Bell Park. On the way back we passed in front of the old hospital. Well my oh my....there's a golden beaver on the roof! I had no friggin idea,” Craig Thompson wrote in an email to Sudbury.com.
Thompson sent a picture along with the email and there, sure enough, was what appeared to be a beaver sculpture painted shiny gold.
The golden beaver statue might not be a story for many – in fact, it might be dramatic for me to make it as big of a deal as I did on Sudbury.com’s TikTok account – but it was a point of curiosity for many of us in the newsroom.
Where did the beaver come from? Was it always there? Who put it there? And why a beaver?
So of course I had to dig deeper.
I made the trek to the former St. Joseph’s Health Centre (otherwise known as Canada’s largest mural) and confirmed that there indeed was a golden statue of what appeared to be Canada’s national animal perched on the roof of the building.
The next step was to find out more information on the mysterious golden beaver that seemed to have appeared out of thin air.
“I wanted to call because I was wondering if you knew that there is a golden beaver on the St. Joseph’s mural,” I asked Angelo Butera in a phone call a couple days later.
Butera is the president of Panoramic Properties, which owns the old general hospital.
“Like, as in an animal?” Butera asked. Butera had no idea what I was talking about.
The beaver wasn’t placed there intentionally as a part of the mural. That meant someone broke into the property, climbed to the roof and put the golden beaver statue there.
After doing some sleuthing of his own, Butera called a few hours later with an update on the mysterious golden beaver.
“So the statue on top of the hospital is actually a prop from some movie that got filmed inside the hospital a little while ago,” Butera said. “And we're assuming it popped up on the roof sometime after Thursday (April 28). However, I guess the interesting part of this is that there were actually two of these statues inside the hospital. And after we've taken down this one, one's missing. So I guess we'll find out where it pops up around Sudbury next.”
Butera said he had the statue removed from the roof out of concern that it might be blown off in windy conditions and injure someone.
He said he was unable to tell me which movie the props were for, but it is possible it was a prop from “Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City,” a zombie movie based on the popular Resident Evil video game series. The movie was partially filmed in Sudbury in late 2020 and the old general hospital was one of the filming locations.
Check out the second part of our TikTok video on the mysterious golden animal statue.
Some commenters on Sudbury.com’s TikTok suggest the golden beaver might actually be a golden rat instead, which would make more sense if the statue is a prop from a zombie flick.
Whether it’s a beaver or a rat, one of them is still out there waiting to make its grand appearance in Sudbury.
Sudbury.com encourages readers to reach out with more information on the missing statue via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meanwhile keep your eyes peeled for that second golden beaver … ahem, I mean rat. You never know where it will pop up.
Eden Suh is a new media reporter at Sudbury.com.