EDMONTON -- What started out as a few painted rocks in a north Edmonton park has turned into a community pick-me-up project providing hope and encouragement during the ongoing pandemic.

Thing is, nobody knows who started the rock snake.

"I've never seen anybody put any rocks out,” said local resident Susan Lo. “I've seen teenaged girls around and I'm thinking maybe it was a school group or something.”

Rock snake

The 700-plus rock snake is a mystery to Lo – but a welcomed exhibit nonetheless. She says she started noticing the painted rocks during her daily walks last summer and has watched it grow over the course of the pandemic.

“I just think it's really, really heartfelt because some of the images and the messages really hit home."

Lo lost her husband to cancer last year and says the rock snake has helped keep her spirits up during the grieving process. Some of the rocks are decorated with uplifting messages such as: “You’re a Star” and “We Are All In This Together.”

Rock snake

"To not be able to have hugs from people… it's just some of the messages and some of the negative stuff in the news it's nice to see that there is other people that are just trying to lift everybody up,” said Lo while fighting back tears, “it really means something."

Lo says she hopes to figure out who started the rock snake so that they can get the recognition they deserve.

The rock snake can be found along Cumberland Lake in north Edmonton.