John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in images found in Outaouais

A west Quebec man has discovered negatives of the John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in at Montreal's Queen Elizabeth Hotel in 1969.
John Urban found a 36 roll of negatives of the famous John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in at a Montreal hotel in 1969. This is the only photo he released to CBC News. (Submitted by John Urban)

An Outaouais man has stumbled upon negatives of the John Lennon and Yoko Ono bed-in at Montreal's Queen Elizabeth Hotel in 1969.

John Urban was searching last month for an old negative of a snow sculpture when he came across images of the famous week-long Montreal bed-in that he had never seen before.

"I was pleasantly surprised," he said. "It made my day."
John Urban looks at negatives of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, taken at a hotel in Montreal in 1969. (CBC)

Urban initially thought his former roommate Frank Antonsen borrowed his camera to take the shots, and then left the roll in by mistake. But Antonsen told CBC News that though he was at the bed-in as a journalist, he only brought a tape recorder — not a camera. He said it's possible the photographer who went with him, Nathan Wolkowitz, took the photos but he has since died.

"It was a 36-exposure roll," Urban said. 

"I look at these and say, I'd better put them on the scanner and blow them up cause I've never seen them before."

Urban has lived in Brennan's Hill, Que., about 50 kilometres north of downtown Ottawa, for nearly 25 years.

"They've been lying there, waiting to be discovered in this box of old photos and negative," he said.

"They're all candid photos."

Searching for photographer

Urban is certain he didn't take the photos.

He said that if he can't track down the photographer, he will auction off the never-before seen photos.

"I have no idea if they have value or not," he said, adding that he would donate whatever funds raised evenly between the New Democratic Party and Amnesty International.

Urban works as a goldsmith, making wedding rings, but used to be a photographer.

"A long time ago I tried to make it as a photographer, and in the course of that I accumulated many, many, many negatives," he said.

"It's worthwhile to dig through your old belongings because you may discover something that you've forgotten about or weren't even aware of."


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.