Montreal

A wallet, lost long ago in Quebec City, captivates social media

The wallet offers a glimpse into the life of a man in the 1960s, complete with an old driver's license and a handful of black and white snapshots of friends and loved ones. 

Found in wall of restaurant, it contained $22 cash and memories of the 1960s

A 50-year-old wallet was found in the walls of the restaurant Le Continental in Quebec City during a renovation project. (Facebook/Carolan Guay)

René-Georges Grégoire lost his wallet in Quebec City around 50 years ago.

It was finally found on Tuesday, tucked into the wall of a restaurant undergoing renovations, by a woman who quickly launched an online search for its rightful owner.

The wallet, mostly intact, with untouched, slightly deteriorated cash safely held in aged leather, offers a glimpse into the life of a young man in the 1960s.

It contained an old driver's licence, a handful of black and white snapshots and $22 cash — the equivalent of about $180 today.

The bills include $2 Canadian bank notes, which were discontinued more than two decades ago.

Images of the wallet made a splash on social media this week, when photographer CarolanGuay posted photos of the find to Facebook, asking the public for help finding its owner, who would now be 73 years old.

Guay found it while tidying up during a renovation project at Le Continental, a restaurant in Old Quebec. 

The eatery was was built in 1967. Restaurant co-owner Sylvain Pageau doesn't know Grégoire, but had some ideas about who he could have been.

"I think it might be a worker who could have left his wallet on the wall, which was later closed," he said.

The old wallet isn't in perfect shape. It's showing its age. (Facebook/Carolan Guay)

Guay's post quickly gathered steam and has been shared more than 16,000 times. She was surprised by the outpouring of interest in solving the mystery.

"I did not think it would impact many people," she said.

She said she shared the post with hopes could return the photographs to the owner because, she said, they are "precious memories."

Wallet owner believed to have died nearly 45 years ago

Unfortunately, Grégoire, who was born in October 1945, might not be claiming the long-lost piece of his past. It appears he died July 25, 1973, in his hometown of Quebec City, according to a newspaper death notice. He was 27.

Dan Côté, an amateur genealogist and the director of the EtcheminsGénéalogie et Histoire organization, said he believes he found the wallet's owner, using a baptism certificate with a name and birth date matching the driver's licence. 

How he died, however, remains a mystery.

There are several black and white photos of women inside the wallet. (Facebook/Carolan Guay)

Côté said it's not impossible the person he found is not the wallet's owner, but he is pretty confident they are the same person.

"There were not many [with that name] at the time. He is probably the only one."

With files from Radio-Canada's Carl Marchand and Nahila Bendali

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