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The Mystery Of The Stolen Amputated Toe That Was Used To Make Cocktails At A Canadian Bar Has Been Resolved

"Toes are very hard to come by."

Last updated on June 23, 2017, at 1:20 p.m. ET

Posted on June 21, 2017, at 2:08 a.m. ET

This story starts with an amputated toe that was stolen from a bar in northern Canada.

The bar, called the Sourdough Saloon, is located in a hotel in Dawson City, a Yukon town of less than 2,000 people best known for being a base during the 19th-century Klondike Gold Rush.
Downtown Hotel/Facebook

The bar, called the Sourdough Saloon, is located in a hotel in Dawson City, a Yukon town of less than 2,000 people best known for being a base during the 19th-century Klondike Gold Rush.

The mummified toe is important because it's the key ingredient in the bar's signature drink, the "Sourtoe Cocktail." The drink involves taking a shot of whiskey with the toe submerged in it until the toe touches the lips of the drinker.

The roots of the tradition date back to the 1920s, when a rumrunner lost a toe to frostbite on his way to the Alaskan border and preserved it in a jar of alcohol. Capt. Dick Stevenson found the preserved toe in the 1970s and, naturally, took it to the Downtown Hotel to dare people into drinking shots with it. Those who partake in the drink become members of the Sourtoe Cocktail Club.
Downtown Hotel/Facebook / Via Facebook: DowntownHotelDawsonCity

The roots of the tradition date back to the 1920s, when a rumrunner lost a toe to frostbite on his way to the Alaskan border and preserved it in a jar of alcohol. Capt. Dick Stevenson found the preserved toe in the 1970s and, naturally, took it to the Downtown Hotel to dare people into drinking shots with it. Those who partake in the drink become members of the Sourtoe Cocktail Club.

The bar's slogan is actually this: "You can drink it fast, you drink it slow, but your lips must touch the toe!"

Downtown Hotel/Facebook

Well, early Sunday morning, the toe was stolen, according to the bar's "Toe Captain," Terry Lee.

"We are furious," he said in a statement sent to Global News. "Toes are very hard to come by."

“This guy asked to do the Toe after the 9 to 11 p.m. toe time hours and one of the new staff served it to him to be nice — and this is how he pays her back. What a lowlife," Lee added.

According to Lee, the man who took the toe was from Quebec, had a French accent, and had earlier bragged about his plans to steal the mummified appendage. The thief also reportedly left behind a certificate earned for drinking the cocktail, which features his name.

A reward was even offered for anyone who had information regarding the missing toe.

"Stunts like this adversely affect the whole community, not just the Downtown Hotel. We fortunately have a couple of back-up toes, but we really need this one back," Lee said in the statement.
Downtown Hotel Flier / Via Facebook: DowntownHotelDawsonCity

"Stunts like this adversely affect the whole community, not just the Downtown Hotel. We fortunately have a couple of back-up toes, but we really need this one back," Lee said in the statement.

Then, four days later on Thursday, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said the stolen toe had been mailed back to the bar by the alleged thief.

"The Dawson City 'sour toe' has been returned to its rightful owner," the RCMP said in a statement.

The RCMP said that the alleged toe thief contacted them on Tuesday and said he was mailing it back to the Downtown Hotel. The same call was also made to the bar, along with a verbal apology from the suspect.

On Thursday, "the expected package was received." Special measures were taken to make sure that it was safe to open the package. Inside was a written apology along with the toe.

"At the time that the package was opened, the toe was believed to be in good condition," the RCMP said. "Charges are not expected to be laid in this matter."

The RCMP also shared this picture of the returned toe.

Here is the famous toe, as seen by Cpl. Jeff Myke from Dawson City RCMP, when he opened the parcel yesterday.… https://t.co/H9yhIbCfsx

It's not the first time the bar has lost a toe. At least eight toes have reportedly gone missing over the years, due to theft and also because some people apparently end up swallowing them.

The hotel lost the OG toe in 1980 after a miner, trying to go for the Sourtoe record, fell backwards in his chair and accidentally swallowed it.

Since then, some people have apparently deliberately tried to swallow the toes. If they do, the bar now charges a $2,500 fine.

The bar does keep a backup supply of toes, which people have donated after amputations, frostbite, and at least one lawnmower accident, according to a report in the Toronto Star.

The toe stolen on Sunday morning was new and had been donated by a man who had to have it surgically removed, Downtown Hotel's manager, Geri Coulbourne, told CBC News."This was our new toe, and it was a really good one. We just started using it this weekend," she said.
Downtown Hotel / Via downtownhotel.ca

The toe stolen on Sunday morning was new and had been donated by a man who had to have it surgically removed, Downtown Hotel's manager, Geri Coulbourne, told CBC News.

"This was our new toe, and it was a really good one. We just started using it this weekend," she said.

The whole incident left some people very confused.

The type of story that leaves me with more questions than answers with every passing graf https://t.co/M2HMJPRmDh

Some have wondered how a petrified toe cocktail could even be legal.

A drink with a severed toe in it? So foul. How can sharing human remains as a beverage ingredient even be legal? https://t.co/qaZMm8MEL3

How the fuck is this drink even legal? https://t.co/pWRpBbR2zd Aren't there... I dunno, like licensing laws for handling corpse chunks?

Apparently, Yukon health officials are OK with the Sourtoe Cocktail.

"There is no issue with the toe," Patricia Living, communications director for Yukon Health and Social Services, told the Wall Street Journal in 2012. "The risk of freezing on the way to the bar or being attacked by a pack of wolves would be higher."

Still, most people have just been like WTF. NO.

WTF of the Day - Severed human cocktail toe stolen from Yukon hotel pub https://t.co/RULwypYnsf

This literally makes no sense.

Man steals mummified toe from Dawson City hotel's infamous Sourtoe Cocktail. Customers now furious they have to drink toe-free cocktails.

While others demanded justice.

Canada must not rest until we free this praticular amputated toe from the hands of a no good thief. https://t.co/dOAA0vyQkz

"Honestly. Who steals a toe."

Attention tourists to Dawson City: QUIT F*CKING WITH THE GODDAMN TOES. Honestly. Who steals a toe. https://t.co/i7rLk1cxsl

In the meantime, the tradition lives on.

Downtown Hotel/Facebook / Via Facebook: DowntownHotelDawsonCity

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