Message in bottle washes up on Norfolk’s shores

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On Sept. 6, 2014, a couple was married in Grand Bend. Five years later, a wine bottle with their wedding program washed up in St. Williams.

Julie and Andrew Cantin of Parkhill were surprised to learn their wedding program was found in Norfolk County because neither of them threw the bottle in which it was located into the water. They also do not have any friends or family in the area, and were married a two-hour drive from where the bottle washed up.

It’s believed one of their wedding guests tossed the program into Lake Huron in a bottle labelled with their names and the flavour of wine served at their wedding shower a few weeks prior. The couple still has not figured out who attended their shower, kept the wine bottle, and threw the program into the water after their wedding.

Over the years the bottle travelled south from Lake Huron to Lake Erie, presumably making its way through the St. Clair River and Lake St. Clair.


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Susan Rannie, a Toronto resident, travelled down to Norfolk County after hearing about last week’s flooding to check on her trailer at the Booth’s Harbour Development.

“Our trailer was all closed up for the year but our neighbour sent us photos of docks in our front lawn and kayaks blown over,” said Rannie. “We had a storage box that had blown into our boat with a bunch of seaweed and everything, and in all of that mess was the bottle.”

After finding the bottle over the weekend Rannie wanted to hold off until spring to read the message, but she couldn’t wait that long.

Rannie posted photos of the bottle and its contents onto Facebook on Nov. 3 with the hopes of finding the Julie and Andrew named on the label of the bottle. By Nov. 4 she had found their Facebook profiles and reached out to the both of them.

Julie Cantin said she had messages from multiple people on Facebook asking her if she was the same Julie as the one named in the wedding program.

“I’m just completely baffled because I never sent it,” said Cantin. “I thought maybe it was a joke, but I got more messages. I was completely shocked.”

The bottle was found in one piece, but had to be broken for the message to be removed.

“It wouldn’t come out, and the message was in pristine condition before I took the cork off,” said Rannie. “As soon as moisture touched it you could see it was decaying. We had to break the top off the bottle to get it out without ripping it further.”

The couple didn’t keep any of the wine from their shower or any of their wedding programs, so it was extra sentimental to see the bottle wash up with their information. The bride and her family went to a local winery to bottle and cork wine, and hand placed the stickers with their names on each bottle.

They are now on a social media hunt to find out who put the message in the bottle so they can try to map the path the bottle has taken over the last five years. They plan to have Rannie mail the program to them so they can finally have one of their wedding programs.

“I texted older aunts and uncles that don’t have Facebook, I’ve sent out emails, just asking who sent out this bottle,” said Cantin.

Cantin said her sister-in-law is preparing for a wedding in the upcoming year and she knows a message in a bottle will be a new tradition for family weddings.

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