By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: July 21, 2014
SAM is back—and he’s back in style, with a smile, a sparkle in his eye, a new hat and a diamond in his tooth. SAM (Squamish Axe Man), the popular loggers’ statute, got a $5000 makeover this summer.
“We just cheered him up, now he doesn’t look like he’s headed to the gulag.” Nick Tattersfield.
So, look closer as you approach the highway and you will notice a SAM who is all smiles, has a new brim hat and a sparkle in his eyes.
“We want him to welcome people to Squamish,” said Bryan Couture, his caretaker.
SAM was a symbol of logging and a popular tourist magnet for over a decade, but there was one problem: He looked quite glum.
SAM’s caretaker, Bryan Couture, said he had been meaning to make SAM more cheerful, but never really found the time or the money to do so.
But this year, with $5,000 from Squamish Days, Couture called Nick Tattersfield, the artists who first created SAM. To lend him a more cheerful demeanor, Nick opened SAM’s eyes and mouth a little and reshaped his moustache.
“We just cheered him up, now he doesn’t look like he’s headed to the gulag,” said Nick Tattersfield.
To create a more Westcoast look, Tattersfield also took away the toque and put on a WorkSafe BC hat on SAM.
Nick Tattersfield had originally created SAM for the movie “Are We There Yet”, which was partly filmed in Britannia Beach during 2004.
It was the character in the movie that called for SAM to look grim and droopy. It was during the shooting of this movie at Britannia Beach that Couture first saw SAM and knew he wanted to bring SAM to Squamish.
A contest was held to name the Squamish Lumberjack, and Ernest Weiss proposed the name Squamish Axe Man (SAM).
SAM first found a home at the Squamish Adventure Centre where he quickly became a tourist attraction, even getting his own red mittens to welcome tourists for the 2010 Winter Olympics. But the district-led Squamish Sustainability Corporation (SSC) decided to remove SAM from the adventure centre because he wasn’t, in their view, the best symbolic representation for Squamish.
SAM was rejected by the district, but accepted by the new casino where he is a crowd puller. Couture said he has heard from the Squamish Adventure Centre and they want SAM back. But for now, Couture is happy that SAM has had a makeover he’s been waiting to have for over a decade.
“He looks clean and he looks really good,” Couture said.