CALGARY — Calgary officials recently got a glimpse into the city’s storied past as Mayor Naheed Nenshi and members of council retrieved and opened the Historic City Hall’s time capsule that was placed on Sept. 15, 1908.
The capsule was removed as part of the rehabilitation work that is currently underway at city hall. According to the city, at 110 years old, it’s the only surviving city hall of its period in Western Canada.
The time capsule that was recently unveiled was placed under the city hall’s cornerstone in 1908 by Calgary’s mayor at the time, Arthur Cameron with help from former mayors George Murdock and George King.
The sealed copper box contained 27 items including a voter’s list and financial reports from 1907; bylaws; trade reports; coins; medals from the police department and city comptroller; a New Testament; and an album of the Dominion Exhibition (which was the precursor to the Calgary Stampede). Other items included copies of local newspapers and reports from local churches, the general hospital and Calgary School Board.
“I am honoured to have been called upon to retrieve this time capsule placed here by Mayor Cameron in 1908,” said Nenshi in a statement.
“The time capsule is a piece of history that belongs to all Calgarians and I am privileged to be able to retrieve it on their behalf.”
The city has now engaged a conservator to preserve the contents of the box in order to develop a treatment plan and expects to engage with the public in 2019 to gather input on what items to include in a new time capsule to be placed in the historic building upon completion of the rehabilitation, the release reads.
“Historic City Hall has been a part of the changing fabric of Calgary,” said Darrel Bell, acting director of facility management with the city. “We are excited to be able to preserve the contents of this time capsule, as well as this historic building, for many years to come.”
Designed by Prime Consultant Lemay + Toker, along with EVOQ Architecture, the rehabilitation project is deemed to be one of the most significant heritage projects currently underway in Canada, said the project website.
Work includes the restoration of the building’s sandstone and foundation, new structural steel inside the 100-foot clock tower from the third floor up, structural rehabilitation on the verandas and balconies, reinforcement of the copula and replacement of the roof, windows and exterior perimeter lighting.
According to the city, the building foundation has been repaired and restored and new drainage has been installed. Stonemasonry work is also well underway.
Of city hall’s 15,522 pieces of sandstone, 15,142 of those have been specified to require some kind of treatment. The old mortar in masonry joints on more than 13,000 sandstone blocks has been removed and preparations are underway for the next level of treatments.
Structural reinforcement of the roof is progressing and the roof has been stripped in its entirety of red tile, exposing the original roof foundation of Douglas fir that was milled in the Banff/Kananaskis area over a century ago, the city stated.
Up next, the project website reads, will be the windows at city hall. Original window frames will be refurbished and new glass and sashes installed. Sandstone work will also continue.
Construction is expected to be complete in 2020.