Anita Brenner is hoping to find the rightful owner of decades-old photo albums

Vintage documents, photos found in South Surrey storage room

It's hoped that decades-old albums and house plans, along with a 1931 marriage certificate, can be returned to their rightful owner.

It’s a real-life mystery that staff at Bay Realty’s Windsor Square office hope has a happy ending.

A marriage certificate from 1931, three albums of family photos apparently dating from the 1970s, some architectural plans for a home on 13A Avenue from the early 1970s and some black-and-white photos of a house model from the same era were discovered when a storage room at the office was being cleared out.

But nobody working out of the office knows anything about the small collection, or recognizes anyone in the photos, manager Anita Brenner said.

“Everybody assumed they belonged to somebody else here,” she said. “We hope to restore them to their rightful owner or owners,” she said. “I don’t want to throw anything like this out.”

Brenner said she believes the albums, marriage certificate and plans may have been left in the office by former occupants of the office suite, at 246-1959 Windsor Square, before Bay Realty moved in some three years ago.

The recent cleaning out of the storeroom brought the items to light, she said.

“They were among a lot of stuff that was just garbage, old phones and things like that,” she added.

The albums include baby pictures and snapshots of a young family and relatives, and also pictures of an older couple, all of which seem to date from the early to mid 1970s.

The marriage certificate was issued in Ontario on June 6, 1931, to a Rowland Beverley Stett and Winifred Mary Stett (nee Crosland). Bound in decorative paper booklet form, it also includes signatures of guests who attended the ceremony.

A search on a Canadian genealogical website reveals that Stett, born in Ontario in 1909, was also known as Roland Steet, and died in White Rock in 1974.

The large-format house plans were prepared in 1972 for Joanne Brown by Lawrence Redpath Architects, for a house on 13A Avenue.

Former occupants of the offices, health insurers Westpro Benefit Systems underwent a corporate rebranding to Group Health Global Benefit Systems a few years ago. Its corporate headquarters are still in White Rock.

A representative of the company said staff would check to see if any current employees who worked at the former office could shed any light on the items.

Complicating the puzzle is the fact that while the items were found together, it’s not clear that they belong to the same owner.

If there is a connection between them, it would seem to go back to the early 1970s, Brenner said. But what they’re doing in a realty office 40 years later is a matter of conjecture, she agreed.

Her theory is that a significant event led to the abandonment of some key family mementos.

“I’m thinking divorce, and I’m thinking they were left behind by a male,” she said.

“A woman wouldn’t have left these.”

Anyone who believes they have a claim to the items, or has information that could help reunite them with the rightful owner is asked to contact Brenner at 604-531-4000.


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