Wendy Robinson and Chris Wallinger look on as the tapes are returned to Marion Baker. (Greg Sakaki/News Staff)

Family films mistakenly sold at Kelowna garage sale find way back home 10 years later

The films belonged to a family who had once lived on Vancouver Island

The world feels a little bit smaller for one Vancouver Island resident after 13 family films were returned to their rightful owner a decade after they were accidentally sold during a yard sale in Kelowna.

Chris Wallinger was at his parents’ house for Mother’s Day and learned of a box of old Super 8 reels. The recordings, with the name Thompson and a Victoria address written on them, were included in a projector box that Wallinger’s grandmother bought “10 or 11 years ago” at a garage sale in Kelowna. And, while the Wallinger family had always wanted to return the films, they never had the chance.

“Because of quarantine life right now and having some extra time, [my mom] started going through boxes and that jogged her memory,” Chris Wallinger says.

READ ALSO: So, do you know ‘Dave from Vancouver Island’?

Wallinger snapped a couple of photos and posted his story on Reddit, where a someone quickly suggest he post it in a Facebook group called Old Victoria.

These Super8 Tapes have been in the hands of the Wallinger family for the past decade after they were purchased with a projector at a yard sale in Kelowna. (Courtesy of Chris Wallinger)

“I put it on Facebook at 1:30 p.m. on Monday and it just kind of blew up from there,” he says. “By 7 p.m. I was talking to two of the [daughters] of the parents who owned these tapes originally.”

Taryn Jones, an archivist involved in genealogy research for almost 20 years, saw the post and thought, “I’ll just take a look and see if I can find anything.”

Within half an hour, Jones found the death registration of Mr. and Mrs. Thompson. Through Ancestry.com, Jones tracked down a relative who put Wallinger in contact with the family members on the Island.

READ ALSO: So, they found ‘Dave from Vancouver Island’

“I just think about if someone had film from my family and they were trying to track me down, how I would feel if they contacted me,” Jones says. “So it was really exciting to confirm it was the right people and they were interested and that the films could go back.”

Marion Baker was one of those family members. Her parent’s names were on the tapes and she says she was amazed to get the call from Wallinger.

“I just couldn’t believe that somebody would go to that much trouble to get them back to us and I’m so thankful,” says Baker.

On Wednesday evening, outside of Wallinger’s parents’ home in north Nanaimo, both families met to hand back the films.

Baker’s parents were living in Enderby when her mother died in 1990. In the years following, her father moved back to Victoria but sold several items at a garage sale before his move. The recordings, which have videos of family vacations, Christmases and weddings from 1967 to 1981, are even more special to Baker as a lot of her family photos were lost to a fire at her sister’s house.

“I’m excited because I know one of my sister’s wedding is on there and I missed it because we weren’t in the country at the time and one of my sister’s graduation and all these family trips that we heard about but had never seen any of the pictures,” says Baker.

READ ALSO: Dog reunited with Tofino owner, months after being taken from beach

What makes this story even more unbelievable, is the cousin who Jones found on Ancestry.com, lives in Winnipeg and was doing his own research.

“[Our] cousin — we just discovered, or he discovered us — about 10 years ago,” says Baker. “He had all this [family information] on Ancestry or we would have never have been found because none of us has the Thompson name anymore, we’re all girls.”

Baker says her son is working on tracking down a Super 8 projector so the family can view the films before meeting with her other sister who lives on the Island as well. She says she can’t wait to share the films were her three other sisters, who live in Vernon.

“We’re sort of cursing this virus that’s going around right now or I’d probably be on my way to Vernon,” she says. “It’s a very small world when it comes down to it.”



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Families

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Non-food vendors coming back to Kelowna farmers’ market this weekend

The Kelowna Farmers’ and Crafters’ Market is welcoming back several artisans on Saturday

New portables for city, high school: City of West Kelowna council highlights

Mt. Boucherie Secondary and the city hall will get more portables, and the city will continue visioning project

UPDATE: Kelowna fire crews quickly put out furnace blaze at home on Dilworth Mountain

Crews were called to the scene around 11:40 a.m., Friday

Gas prices rising across the Okanagan, Shuswap

Prices at some gas stations in the Okanagan sit around 115 cents a litre

Kelowna RCMP pull over vehicle with no licence plate, find drugs inside

Officers also responded to a white van in the West Kelowna Walmart parking lot with no insurance

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

Improper waste disposal leaves Okanagan worker with serious injury

The city’s waste collection contractor has seen two incidents of improper disposal in as many weeks

Police watchdog recommends charges against five Mounties in Prince George man’s death

Police used pepper spray on the man, who then had trouble breathing before dying at the scene

B.C. tourism seeks relief as businesses wait for COVID-19 restrictions to ease

Mid-June earliest for more in-province travel to be authorized

Coldstream boat launches closed due to high water

All boat launches at the north end of Kalamalka Lake have been closed effective immediately

LETTER: Be aware of telephone scam

Call about vehicle warranty raised suspicions

VIDEO: Humpback whales put on quite a show

The ‘playful’ pod lingered by a Campbell River tour operator’s boat for quite some time

Strong thunderstorms expected for Shuswap, Okanagan this weekend

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement with storms expected late Saturday

B.C. woman launches First Nations search, rescue and patrol program

Linda Peters envisions trained searchers ready to go at moment’s notice in each B.C. First Nation

Most Read