Canadian hotel offers to take back 'stolen' items, no questions asked

To celebrate its upcoming 100-year anniversary, the Fairmont Chateau Laurier in Ottawa is offering an amnesty for anyone who has pilfered something from the hotel over the last century, no questions asked.

The Gothic French chateau in the Canadian capital has already received more than 60 items from people all over North America, since it announced the amnesty in February.

"We’re not asking for people to return bathrobes they make have taken. We're asking for those unique items that have never been seen before," Deneen Perrin, the hotel's director of public relations told

Some items have come in the mail with no return address, while others have been returned in person, discretely dropped off at the front desk. Perrin says there was one man who did a "dump and run" -- pulling up in front of the hotel and handing a bellhop a doorknob from the hotel's opening  in 1912, before driving off.

"There's some really neat stuff. It's amazing what people keep," says Perrin.

Other returned items are a beer stein and a letter opener (both left anonymously at reception desk), receipts, menus, teacups, a 20's era utility knife with the hotel logo on it -- and all kinds of keys.

"Technology has changed so much. When you went to a hotel, you used to get a key. On the back of the actual key, they had something that said 'please post,'" said Perrin. All you had to do back then was just drop it in the mailbox, no stamp, address or postage needed.

The hotel, which has hosted the likes of Nelson Mandela, Ozzy Osbourne and Hilary Swank, was built by railway baron Charles Melville Hayes, who did not make the opening because he was a passenger on the Titanic, which sank in April of that year.

Not everything is an antique. One woman donated two menus which she had kept as souvenirs, from a lunch she and her late husband had attended in honor of The Prince and Princess of Wales in 1983. The hotel says it plans to put all the items on display June 1 --the day of its anniversary-- until the end of the year.

This means you still have time to return that ash tray that you may have taken --innocently, of course.

"We're not calling anyone thieves," says Perrin.