Montreal

Quebec military museum welcomes famous lost-and-found backpack to its collection

On Wednesday, the Citadelle Museum in Quebec City added an unassuming new item to its permanent collection: a Canadian soldier's WW II backpack that was lost during the Italian campaign. What makes the backpack so special is the story behind its resurfacing.

Paul-Étienne Saint-Laurent's backpack is now on display at the Citadelle Museum

Francine Saint-Laurent placed her father's backpack into the exhibit at an event on Wednesday. (Claudia Genel/Radio-Canada)

On Wednesday, the Royal 22nd Regiment Museum in Quebec City added an unassuming new item to its permanent collection: a Canadian soldier's WW II backpack that was lost during the Italian campaign.

What makes the backpack so special is the story behind its resurfacing.

It was found by a collector in Italy who reached out to CBC Montreal for help finding its true owner.

CBC got to work, contacting half a dozen government agencies and military historians. Library and Archives Canada identified the backpack as belonging to Paul-Étienne Saint-Laurent, who was a member of the Royal 22nd Regiment.

This backpack was found by collector Lorenzo Campus who wanted to return it to its original owner. (Claudia Genel/Radio-Canada)

His daughter Francine Saint-Laurent, who lives in Montreal, was thrilled by the discovery and decided to donate it to the museum.

"My only regret is that my father isn't here," said Saint-Laurent at the event to mark the occasion in Quebec City, Wednesday.

"I knew it was something very precious to my father."

Saint-Laurent said she wanted to donate the backpack to the museum so that it would be preserved as a part of history.

Museum curator Dany Hamel said the bag will be a meaningful addition to the permanent collection. (Radio-Canada)

Dany Hamel, director and curator at the museum, said they were equally excited to follow the story of the backpack's journey home.

"It was a really meaningful object that we're adding to the Italy section," he said.

The permanent exhibit at the museum is on the 100-year history of the Royal 22nd Regiment.


The Royal 22nd Regiment Museum at the Citadelle of Quebec is open to the public daily all year round from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission for adults is $16, for those 11-17 is $6, and children under 10 enter free.

With files from Radio-Canada's Claudia Genel