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Who are these people? 50 years later, photographer tries to track down his subjects

Help a Gabriola Island photographer solve a mystery.

Could you make it across Canada funded by kissing folks on the street? It appears that’s what a couple was trying to accomplish in 1971. But whether they made it remains a mystery.

Gabriola Island lawyer Bill Pope was a student in Vancouver at that time and enjoyed taking photos while he explored the city. On one of those days, he saw a young couple with homemade signs in Gastown, likely on Water Street.

“There were lots of buskers in Gastown around that time,” Pope says. “A lot of interesting activity, interesting people.”

These particular interesting people were offering kisses for 25 cents (just under $2 in today’s economy). “Help,” reads one of their signs. “Trying to get home to New Brunswick.”

On the ground nearby is a hat, upside down. It appears to be empty.

“It’s an interesting snippet of what might be a bigger story,” Pope says.

He snapped a series of photos of the couple and got three clear photos; they joined his collection of interesting slides taken in Vancouver and there they stayed for a few decades.

Until recently.

In 2015, Pope had his slides digitized. They sat again for a while until recently, when he decided to play around with some photography software.

“I was able to tidy them up and get them a bit cleared up and stitched them together,” he says. “Once I got to that point, I thought wouldn’t it be neat to see if I could find out whose these two were.”

'It's fun just wondering' who kissing couple is, says photographer

He’s posted the photos on his website and to social media, in a bid to track down the couple — who may or may not still be together.

“It would be interesting to find out who they are, what happened to them,” Pope says.

Pope is not alone in his curiosity. His Facebook post has been shared more than a thousand times, and people are leaving comments, wondering whether the couple made it across the country.

“The comments I’ve gotten are pretty well: ‘Gee I’d like to know, too,’ ” he says.

Pope says the best tip so far — as yet unverified — has come from a woman in New Brunswick, who said her husband recognized the young man as someone named Bill.

If anyone out there does recognize the couple, Pope is curious to learn what happened. He can be reached by email at photographer@shaw.ca or via his website, where he's documenting the search.

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