Spare change – the sequel

It is now Week 2 of the great activity tracker challenge and The Case of the Coins Glued to the Sidewalk Mystery rolled into one. Because I foolishly set my daily goal of 10,000 steps per day, I found myself walking around and around and around the block in a stakeout to solve this puzzle. Spoiler alert: this made for movie experience is on Corydon Avenue.

Yes, my honeymoon with technology is still going strong and although the bakeries enroute to the crime scene are cancelling out the calories burned section of the app, citizen reporters aren’t quitters.

Gracie named our Activity Tracker, Michael. After Michael Kors. He tells it like it is. (That’s Michael on her arm.)

Telling it like it is the job of a CNC journalist. And there is nothing more telling than human curiosity for both the prankster and the public.

The mystery has been solved and much to my relief there are no cameras, no sinister psychology students wanting that A+ for a research project. There is only pure fun inspired by a man with a sense of humour who met his match.

Being an investigative journalist often means getting down and dirty.

Ironically, someone once said to me eons before fake news became news, “not everyone is as interested in the truth as you are.” Well, I for one am rather fond of the truth and if that means sidewalk sleuthing, then so be it.

What would Indiana Jones do?

The mystery of coins embedded in the sidewalk.

The first thing I did was get down on all fours (when I hoped no one was looking) to ascertain the years on the coins. If it was a new coin, then I would know this was a recent phenomenon. Success!

Next, I sat at the bus stop pretending to wait for the #18 so I could unobtrusively observe folks who stumbled upon the moola. (That’s gumshoe mystery talk and if you don’t know what a gumshoe is, Mr. Google can help you.)

Two young men on skateboards stopped to look. I heard a senior with a walker tell her friend to “Quick, come look at this.” Fascinating as these folks were, I wasn’t getting any closer to solving the mystery of whodunnit.

Paydirt! Since winter is coming, I decided to enter a shoppe on the avenue and just ask if they knew the story behind the loot lodged in cement. And I am glad I did! Because I met a businessman who graciously agreed to my interrogation and confessed all.

Act 1: It’s a lovely July day and a couple who walk every day ask Sal Aysan of Selim’s Antiques, 801 Corydon Ave. if they can just browse. Mr. Aysan says, “Sure, its 10 cents a look.”

Act 2: The man, with a wicked sense of humour, returns to put ten pennies on the counter and has a look around.

Act 3: Sal Aysan, who celebrates 40 years of antiquing in his shop this year, decides it’s time to have some fun. You can see where this is going.

Act 4: That night, he glues those same coins to the sidewalk. Except he doesn’t use just any glue. He uses epoxy. Because he means business.

Act 5: The man and his wife walk the walk as they do every morning but this time he stops in his tracks. Sal in his window rocking chair has the laugh of a lifetime as he watches “the browser” try in vain to remove the coins. The man’s wife, also laughing, enters Selim’s to say, “You got him!”

One of the perks of citizen journalism is just that – the citizens one is privileged to meet. Not only did I find a terrific place that can help complete my china pattern, I got to know Sal Aysan who served on the Board of the Corydon Biz for six years and as owner of one of the most respected antique stores in Canada, this father of three and grandfather of five received the Mayor’s Biz Award. Now in partnership with his son, Dan, the great customer service will live on.

Sal and Dan Aysan of Selim’s Antiques (204) 284-9886 or

Not only did Sal Aysan get this jokester, (they’re still speaking) he got many people over the summer who would stop, turn around and try to remove the coins. A few have been chiseled out and Sal has replaced them with dimes and quarters just to up the ante.

“This has brought smiles and laughter to Corydon Avenue, and the world needs more of that,” says Sal. It is all good-natured fun and that’s the truth.

Heather Emberley / Gracie Sweetstory


Heather Emberley is a repurposed school counsellor specializing in the psycho-social infrastructure of experience, an EAL teacher, freelance writer and sidekick of Gracie Sweetstory. They are stewards of a Little Free Library and their favourite word is postantineoconceptualizationalisticism.

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