SIDNEY, B.C. -- Monkey puzzle trees have been intriguing Cindy since she first travelled to Vancouver Island to visit her relatives.

“They’re so unique,” she smiles. “We never had them in Cranbrook!”

When she moved to Sidney, Cindy couldn’t have been more pleased to find a place with one in the front yard. 

“Yeah!” she recalls saying. “I have a monkey tree!”

It’s a tree that was once no taller than her grandkids, but now towers over her single-storey home. 

A tree that was growing normally for 20 years, until one day, “I looked out at the tree and I was like, ‘What is that?!”

Somebody had placed a plush monkey on one of the branches. 

“That’s a good idea,” Cindy recalls with a laugh. “I wish I had thought of that!”

But who did it? Cindy had no clue. All she knew was that her monkey puzzle tree was growing into a monkey mystery. 

“There started to be monkeys quite often in my tree,” Cindy says. “When I’d come home from shopping or wake up in the morning there’d be another one.”

The monkeys started appearing two years ago. Now her tree is filled from top to bottom with more than 25 of them. 

Cindy did discover that a pair of friends had added a couple to the collection, but the origin of those first ones and the monkeys that have amassed since then seem to anybody’s guess. 

“Somebody’s gone to a lot of trouble,” says Betty-Ann, who has lived in the neighbourhood for 16 years. 

She and her husband Don have been watching the primates proliferate since they first appeared. They don’t know who is responsible, but they are appreciative.

“It makes me smile,” Don says.

Susan, another regular, included a picture of the monkey tree in her Christmas letter this year.

“It’s really cool,” she beams. “I love it!”

The tree is receiving more than just praise from people passing by. Cindy says somebody’s leaving presents too.

“Strangers have been climbing under my monkey tree and leaving beautiful rocks,” she says, showing me a trio of stones featuring hand-painted pictures of monkeys. “Isn’t that cool?!”

While nobody seems to know whodunit, the reason why they did it seems to be less of a mystery

“I think it really gives everybody a giggle in the neighbourhood,” Cindy smiles.

Really reminds them that — despite being apart — they can still monkey around together.