A pickled human toe served to customers as part of a 40-year-old Yukon drinking ritual, was swallowed last Saturday by an American tourist in what bar owners have called an act of bravado.
The Canadian tradition has it, a drinker must drop the toe in a beer glass full of champagne and that it must touch their lips as they drink.
While the rules have changed over the years to allow patrons a drink of their choosing, swallowing of the toe remains taboo and is met with a $500 fine.
However, the man - identified only as "Josh" - took the rite of passage one step further, swishing the toe in his mouth and washing it down with a beer before handing over the fine.
"I said 'Where's the toe?'" bartender and toe-swallowing witness Terry Lee said.
"He says 'I swallowed it', and then immediately headed over to the bar and started bragging."
Mr Lee said he roused the Dawson City's Downtown Hotel's manager to negotiate the toe's return, but they were too late, with Josh having made his exit moments earlier.
The strange tradition was the invention of Captain Dick Stevenson, a former Yukon riverboat captain, in 1973.
Mr Stevenson had come across the first "Sourtoe", believed to have been lost to frostbite in the 1920s, while cleaning out a cabin.
It has since grown to become a lucrative tourist attraction, with successful participants receiving notoriety alongside the estimated 60,000 people already in the "Sourtoe Cocktail Club" upon completion.
To date, as many as 15 toes have been lost, stolen or ingested, with the first accidentally swallowed in 1980 by gold miner Garry Younger.
Source: National Post
Author: Chloe Ross, Approving editor: Nick Pearson