Winnipegger working to return ‘precious’ 1960s photos discovered in shop’s basement to families

Dwayne Hynes didn’t expect to unbox history while cleaning out the basement at his workplace.

Hynes, a supervisor at Empire Drugs pharmacy in Winnipeg’s North End, stumbled upon a box with about 30 packages of pictures while doing some housekeeping this week.

Each package was unsealed, and contained photos developed between 1966 and 1967. The envelopes had partial names, dates and addresses of the people who had left them to be developed, but apparently never picked them up.

“I came across this in a cabinet, and I knew that this was probably the most important thing down there,” Hynes told CBC Wednesday.

“I’m from a generation where pictures are very important, because that was all we had back then … so I knew I had a responsibility to get these pictures out to the people, or the relatives of them,” he said.

“This is really something from history that you’re opening up.”

Hynes posted some of the pictures on social media to try and find the people in them, or their relatives.

“It just blew up” from there, he said.

Some photos already claimed

He’s already had responses from people looking to claim some of the photos.

Cheryl McNabb was one of them. She stopped by the Selkirk Avenue pharmacy on Wednesday to claim some pictures of her late grandmother, Violet.

“We’re excited about whatever kind of pictures that we can have of her,” the Winnipegger told CBC.

The pictures may link her to estranged family members, said McNabb, and she thinks Hynes’s discovery is going to “make a lot of people happy.”

“My family’s going to love it,” she said.

A woman holds up a photograph, which shows a woman holding up a baby, to the camera.
Cheryl McNabb stopped by the pharmacy on Wednesday to claim some photos of her late grandmother, Violet. (Jaison Empson/CBC)

Hynes says a woman from the city of Selkirk, who had suffered a house fire, also contacted him to claim some of the photos. 

“She lost everything, and so now this one package of pictures is all she has,” he said.

The woman said her mother’s handwriting was on the package that had the photos, “so it’s going to be really precious to her,” said Hynes.

Manitoba’s provincial archive has been in touch with him to document some of the images, said Hynes, but he’s going to hold on to the mementoes until they’re claimed.

Hynes says he’s been “overwhelmed” by the response to the discovery.

“Just this little box made such a great impact, and the response I’m getting is really positive and wonderful,” he said.

“These pictures are bringing people together.”

Do you know the people in this photo?

1 hour ago

Duration 1:43

Winnipegger Dwayne Hynes is working to return ‘precious’ 1960s photos, discovered in the basement of the pharmacy where he works, to their rightful owners.