Opened at this week’s council meeting
Nation Valley News
MORRISBURG — Twenty-five years ago, on the occasion of Canada’s 125th birthday, members of Morrisburg Village Council buried a time capsule with instructions that it be opened on the country’s 150th.
Better late than never, the council of the successor Municipality of South Dundas popped the lids on two PVC pipe containers prior to the July 18 meeting.
Wearing rubber gloves, Mayor Evonne Delegarde — assisted by past Morrisburg council members Cam Martel, Jack Notman and Dirk Testerink — presided over the opening.
“I hope there isn’t a picture of the day showing us all with brown hair,” quipped Notman. Not long afterward, the the mayor retrieved a black-and-white photo of Notman and his former council colleagues dressed up in suits and top hats in the style of 1867, the year of Confederation.
Among other items, Delegarde held up and real aloud from local newspapers with headlines detailing a local man’s act of heroism, the success of the Blue Jays that year, and Canadians’ rejection of the Charlottetown Accord during that year’s national referendum on the unsuccessful follow-up to the failed Meech Lake Accord.
The items were in mint condition, although the dead air that emanated from one of the tubes left a nearby official almost gagging at the odour.
Also included was the artwork of Morrisburg Public School students, a Canadian flag and ‘Proud to be Canadian’ banner as well as large pieces of felt signed by hundreds of people during the 1992 Canada Day festivities in Morrisburg. “GST sucks!” declared one of the signed messages, a full year before Jean Chretien’s Liberals swept to power on the promise to scrap the unpopular tax (famously never kept).
Based on the newspaper dates, the capsule was buried around October 1992, near the entrance to what was then the Morrisburg Civic Centre — now the South Dundas Justice Building. Largely forgotten, its flat capstone was flush to the ground and not noticed until a few days after the instructed July 1 date for re-opening.
On display in lobby
Contents of the time capsules are now on public display at the South Dundas Municipal Centre in Morrisburg.
“There were some pretty cool things inside those time capsules,” said Chris Hemond, Communications and Tourism Coordinator. “We know there are a number of people in the community who are interested in seeing some of it, so we decided to put it on display at the Municipal Centre so they can get a better look.”
A selection of the items from the time capsule are currently in a display case in the lobby at 34 Ottawa St., Morrisburg, along with large sections of the signed banner.
“We’re encouraging the public who were around in ’92 to visit the Municipal Centre and try and track down their signature on the banners hanging in the lobby,” Hemond added. “We hope to get the public excited to come in.”
While not all items from the time capsule are on display on the first floor of the Municipal Centre, an exhaustive list is posted and people can request to view other pieces at the Municipal Office reception desk on the second floor.
The items will be on display until the end of 2017, at which time the contents will be archived and moved to the municipality’s archive building.
New capsule to be buried in August
Inspired by the recent experience, the municipality plans to put a new 25-year time capsule into the ground, in front of the current municipal headquarters, prior to council’s August meeting, according to Hemond. To preserve the element of surprise a quarter century from now, the contents of the new capsule are likely to remain secret, just as they apparently were for the original. Officials unsuccessfully tried to learn what was inside the first capsule, Hemond said, but ultimately had to wait until this week’s opening to see it for themselves.
Municipality of South Dundas Mayor Evonne Delegarde presides over the opening of a 1992 Village of Morrisburg time capsule, while former councillors of the era — Jack Notman, Dirk Testerink and Cam Martel look on. The 25-year-old items were pulled out of two PVC tubes prior to last night’s council meeting.
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