In 1993, Loris Corletto made the most unusual and interesting discovery of his career.
Corletto, who was working in the City of Victoria’s public works department putting in a new water line on the corner of Dallas Road and Montreal Street, was drilling through asphalt when he came across a human skull.
It was perfectly intact with a flattened forehead, a status symbol among indigenous people in the pacific northwest. There were also various human bones as well.
Work was stopped in the area and archaeologists from the Royal B.C. Museum were called in to examine the remains.
It turns out, the skull was that of an aboriginal person and was roughly 400 to 1,000 years old.
However, after the discovery, Corletto said he had a string of bad luck — that was, until he was invited to the reburial of the remains.
“I was invited back to that and they did a hands-on ritual to remove the spirit out of my body and put it back into the grave. I was a little skeptical of that, but I believe in it now. A lot of things were going wrong,” laughed Corletto.
Now, with a First Nations burial story and a handful of others under his belt, the 64-year-old is retiring.
During his 30-year tenure with the city, he’s held a variety of jobs including working in garbage, concrete, sewer and paving.
“He’s one of a kind. He’s very dedicated to what he did, he got along with everyone in the department and was always willing to share his knowledge with others,” said Harry Sandhu, supervisor of utilities maintenance who has worked with Corletto for the past 25 years. “If someone was going to find something like (the skull) it’d be Loris. He’s always in the ditch when he doesn’t have to be, just exploring and seeing what’s going on. He’ll be missed.”
One thing that Corletto was known for: his sense of style. Instead of wearing the typical bright orange coveralls supplied, he’d wear a blazer, vest and trench coats.
He left with style, donning a tuxedo for his last day of work.
“I’m an individual. I like to dress up a bit, but the dry cleaning bills are awful,” he laughed, adding he’s worn tuxedos when other fellow employees retired. “I kind of livened (the workers) up a bit. They were quite excited. I got a lot of comments on it.”
In retirement, Corletto hopes to do work around the house, travel and help his wife with the flea market she runs.