Thousands of donations are dropped off at the Value Village in downtown Victoria every day, according to the store manager Jacqui Ferguson, and every now and then, staff come across a unique treasure.
This week, an employee found a little piece of Canadian history — a bow tie that belonged to Lester B. Pearson, the 14th prime minister of Canada.
“It’s a pretty cool item,” said Ferguson, who’s now trying to track who donated it.
“We put about 10 to 12,000 items a day in the store. Lots of unique items. Always a treasure hunt. And so, this one particularly stood out with the history involved,’ she explained.
The bow tie came with a letter attached to it, written by Pearson himself.
He appeared to be responding to a student’s request who asked him for a bow tie for a school project.
The letter was dated April 13, 1962 – just one year before Pearson became prime minister.
“I’m actually old enough to remember Mr. Pearson as prime minister,” said Brian Geary, the director of communications for Pearson College, which is named after the late prime minister.
“He was famous for his bow ties. And that was his signature look,” Geary explained.
The bow tie isn’t for sale at the moment as the store has other plans for it.
Ferguson said she wants to learn more about the story behind it and is seeking answers from the original donor.
“If the owner is around, we would certainly love to hear from them. And hopefully, by putting this out there, we might be able to do that,” she said.
She also said she’s “very curious about the pathway [the bow tie has] taken and where it’s been along its journey.”
If the owner isn’t found, Geary said Pearson College would love to have it for display at their school.
“Any sort of connection to the man himself would be very, very welcome and honoured,” he said.
Value Village said it’s going to make a social media call-out for the owner in the near future.
In the meantime, who knows what other unexpected treasures the store might come across next.