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Long-lost war medals found in Regina in the 1960s, reunited with family in Toronto

Long-lost war medals found in Regina in the 1960s, reunited with family in Toronto
WATCH: It was a mystery involving a former City of Regina garbage collector and a box of discarded war medals. Katelyn Wilson has more on how one man helped rewrite a chapter of one family's history.

It was a mystery involving a Regina man and a box of discarded war medals, and now, one family is rewriting a chapter of their history, they didn’t even know was missing.

It began in the 1960s when Joe Mignon worked for the city as a garbage collector. One day he stumbled upon an antique silver box that someone had thrown out with their garbage.

“[The] metal box was shaking, [it was] kind of heavy and I thought there might be something in there- so I picked it up,” Mignon said.
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READ MORE: Family finds first world war memorabilia

Inside, there was a collection of medals from the First and Second World Wars and engraved on the top of the box, was the name W.A. Harvie. Thinking someone might want them someday, he took the medals home.

Forgetting about his treasure over the years, he recently came across the medals once again while cleaning his house this past year. Wanting to find the rightful owner, he enlisted the help of his daughter.

“He just dropped in and he said ‘here, take a picture and put it on Facebook,'” his daughter, Kim Mignon-Stark said.

Within hours, Mignon and his daughter received hundreds of responses. Leading them to the relatives of W.A. Harvie, Jan MacIntyre and her two brothers Jim and Rob Stuart, who live in Ontario.

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After exchanging photos, MacIntyre sent a picture of a silver tray with the inscription, “Capt. & Mrs. W.A. Harvie by the Officers of the Saskatchewan Hospital Unit, October 1916.”

Mignon-Stark says once she saw the tray, she knew they had found the right person and eventually sent the medals through the mail.

“I was blown away because it was so long ago and then to try and find us is really amazing,” MacIntyre said.

As it turns out, the medals belonged to MacIntyre’s grandfather William Arthur Harvie, a prominent Regina surgeon. But that’s not all, a portion of the medals also belonged to her uncle William Alexander Harvie.

READ MORE: Family rediscovers First World War medals at Peterborough museum

The elder Harvie was born in Orillia, Ont., and later moved to Regina to join a medical practice.

“He did about four years in France, I think- working doing surgery after the battles,” MacIntyre said, referring to the First World War.

“Dr. Harvie had two children, one our mother and his son Alec. Alec joined the army in 1939 and went through the Second World War,” Rob said.

He later became a prospector in La Ronge and died in 1997, MacIntyre said.

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While the trio never knew their grandfather, who died in 1940,  he’s buried in the Regina Cemetery’s Soldiers Plot on Broad Street.

READ MORE: After 100-year search, Toronto genealogists help soldier’s family find his burial site

“We were young when our grandmother died, so there was never much from our grandfather except we knew he grew up in Orillia,” Jim said. “It’s really nice to have something tangible to hold that belonged to him.”
Even though the long lost medals are finally back where they belong, the book isn’t quite closed on this mystery.
The three siblings plan to research the meaning behind the medals, rewriting a chapter of history they didn’t even know existed.