CALGARY -- A memorial plaque that has been welcoming visitors to Calgary's Reader Rock Garden for more than 75 years has disappeared.

Diane Dalkin, president of the Friends of Reader Rock Garden Society, said the plaque was snatched from its place on the rock cairn at the entrance at the base of the hill.

She said it was stolen sometime after COVID-19 physical distancing measures were put in place, which meant curtailing attendance at the southeast park.

"Vandals took advantage of the ideal quiet time on-site for their nonsensical mischief," she said.

The plaque stands in honour of William Roland Reader, the superintendent of parks cemeteries and recreation from 1913-1942, who lived on the site for almost 30 years. It has been in place since 1944.

Reader rock garden plaque

The plaque was installed at the site in 1944.

Dalkin said the head gardener alerted her to the theft. He said they noticed it was gone when they started spring clean up.

"We were hoping with the last couple of weeks of spring gardening going on maybe somebody would find it, if it was discarded somewhere from the vandals but unfortunately it didn’t happen," Dalkin said.

Dalkin is asking the public to be on the lookout for the large plaque.

"Whether it is found somewhere in the garden, whether it’s somewhere close by in a community, in a dumpster or anything like that. If the public could assist us in retrieving this original plaque so we can put it back in its rightful place that’s what we’re looking forward to."

The garden is designated both a provincial and national historic site.

"We know that Calgarians are good people at heart and if they find it they’ll help us get it back and restore it," Dalkin said.