Sharon the Sea Lion:
Created by Canadian artist Alexander Schick (b. 1945), Sharon is made of soapstone and was donated to the Embassy by Canadian Ambassador Ken Taylor and his wife, Pat Taylor. Mr. Taylor was Canada's Ambassador to Iran during the Iranian Hostage Crisis. On November 4, 1979, a group of Iranian students took over the US compound in Tehran and held personnel hostage for over 14 months. Unbeknownst to the students, six Americans escaped undetected and eventually made contact with the Canadian Embassy in Iran. Ambassador Taylor hid the Americans, gave them Canadian passports, and helped get them safely out of Iran. For his heroic efforts, the US Congress awarded him the Congressional Gold Medal. His story and that of the hostages was depicted in the 2012 Hollywood movie, Argo.