Sailor tossed bottle into Great Lakes 34 years ago

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Details have bobbed up about the contents of a bottle found in early October by a Paris couple walking along the Lake Erie shoreline at Long Point

After a story about the find was published by The Brantford Expositor, Isabelle Parent of St. Raymond, Que. identified her uncle, Normand Janelle, as the person whose name is written on the back of a Provincial Lottery ticket dated for five draws in June and July of 1986.

The ticket was tucked into a Canada Steamship Lines (1975) Ltd. company envelope, rolled up inside a large Busch Beer bottle. The envelope was made out to Janelle at a Deschambault, Que. address.

Parent said the shipping company employed her uncle for more than 20 years. He married a woman from Newfoundland that he met on board a ship, where she worked as a cook.

“He was born in Deschambault to a family of five brothers and one sister,” Parent said. “Normand passed away Feb. 25, 2016, from liver cancer at the age of 58, and had no kids.”


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Parent’s mother, Louise, who is Janelle’s sister, and the late sailor’s brother, Claude, still live in the community of about 2,100 people, now called Deschambault-Grondines, about 65 kilometres west of Quebec City.

Parent said the family has no idea why Janelle would have set the bottle afloat containing the ticket.

The Provincial Lottery launched in 1976 in several Canadian provinces at $5 per ticket, and became a national lottery in 1979. The draw went weekly in 1981 and was discontinued in September 1993.

Tony Bitonti, of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp., looked into whether the 1986 ticket may have been a winner.

“It was a long shot, and, sadly, we found nothing,” Bitonti said. “I checked with the Interprovincial Lottery Corp. and their electronic records do not go back that far.”

Cindy and Gavin Miller of Paris discovered the bottle on Oct. 18, while walking along the Erie shoreline at Long Point, where they spend weekends at their trailer.

Gavin Miller said he and his wife had hoped to speak with Janelle to find out where the bottle was tossed into the Great Lakes.

“It could have been thrown in up in (Lake) Superior, or Huron and come all the way down,” Gavin speculated. “Or he might have thrown it into Lake Erie and got washed ashore in a storm and sat there for 35 years.”

Cindy Miller said that a friend of the Janelle family in Quebec contacted her through Facebook, offering to see if Janelle’s siblings would be willing to speak with the Millers.

“I know some people who speak French, so we are going to try to set up a phone conversation with us having a translator,” she said. “If they were interested, we would be willing to mail them the bottle and ticket. I’m sure the family would like a keepsake.”

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