Few unanimated characters have launched as much heated discussion as the Squamish Axe Man, generally known as Sam. In the past month, since his removal from his perch outside the Squamish Adventure Centre, he has been called everything from "a reflection of Squamish's heritage" to an "absolute eyesore."
Now Sam will have a new home, at least until September, outside Chances Casino on Highway 99.
He is being reassembled again on Monday (June14) evening, much to the delight of Chances owners and members of the Squamish Days Loggers Sports Association (SDLSA).
"I'm tremendously excited," said Chances general manager D'Arcy Stuart. "We were able to get permission to put him outside the front of the casino which I think is going to be absolutely tremendous for everybody in Squamish and people driving through."
Stuart became aware of Sam's plight during the "Save Sam" petition and decided after becoming a sponsor of the loggers sports festival to get involved.
"[Chances] is a major sponsor of Squamish Days this year," said Bryan Couture, SDLSA president and owner of the statue, and during those meetings he and Stuart came up with the idea.
"We'll hopefully get lots of advertising by having him up longer and we can ideally get Loggers Sports and Sam on the electronic billboards as well," said Couture.
Couture said he's not sure when Sam will be taken down again, but said it's normal to keep him inside during the winter because of the weather.
He said Sam represents the history of Squamish and this decision to have him erected outside the casino is a win-win situation.
"They're kind of helping us and we're kind of helping them," said Couture.
For the past four years, the statue has appeared on the Adventure Centre grounds in the months leading up to Squamish Days Loggers Sports as a promotional tool. Once the event is over, Sam has always been returned to storage.
This year, however, Sam stayed up through the winter as a way to greet Olympic visitors, leading to resentment when he was finally taken down.
Stuart agrees with Couture that this arrangement will make people happy all-round.
"It'll be good for Loggers Sports, it will be excellent for the casino and it will be good for Squamish," said Stuart. "The heritage of the community is very strongly tied to the forestry industry and I'm just proud to be able to house a mascot that is connected to that past."