The Lord Elgin Hotel in Ottawa has a mystery on its hands after a statuette stolen 50 years ago turned up in one of its bathrooms.

A guest found a shopping bag on the floor of a men's washroom last Saturday and quickly alerted hotel staff. Inside the bag was a small statue of Gen. James Wolfe, the British commander who led his troops to victory in Quebec in 1759.

A note found with the statue offers some clues as to when and where it was stolen, and why it was left at the Lord Elgin.

The note says the statuette was "stupidly stolen in the 1950s" from the Public Archives of Canada building on Sussex Drive, which later became the War Museum.

"It is returned through the charity of strangers because my conscience has bothered me for a very long time and I am now an old man," the note goes on. "I very much regret this act of foolishness and apologize to the authorities for having deprived the Archives of this artefact."

No name, address or other information that could identify who returned the statuette was included in the note.

An inscription at the base of the statuette reads: "Vernon March 1909." March was a sculptor whose work can be found throughout Canada, including in Ottawa, where he was principal designer of the National War Memorial.

Ann Meelker, director of sales and marketing at the Lord Elgin, says people find items around the hotel "all the time." But the stolen statue is unlike previous lost-and-found cases.

"He stole it, or says he stole it, in the '50s," Meelker told CTV News. "Which probably means he's 70 or 80 years old maybe, and perhaps he's moving into a home."

With a report from CTV Ottawa's Norman Fetterley