With Coun. Susan Brice looking on, Mayor Richard Atwell and Coun. Vicki Sanders lower Saanich’s time capsule into a concrete cylinder near Municipal Hall Sunday during an official ceremony. The district plans to reopen the time capsule in 2067. Wolf Depner/News Staff

Saanich seals history with time capsule

Saanich will re-open time capsule in 2067

The organizer of the time capsule sealed Sunday says the experience been deeply satisfying.

“The installation of the Saanich Canada 150 time capsule gives me great satisfaction as chair of the Saanich Canada150 Ambassadors to have ‘tied the bow’ on the vision of engaging Saanich to show their pride in being #Grateful4Saanich”and being Canadian,” said Coun. Vicki Sanders.

Sanders spearheaded the project as part of efforts marking the 150th anniversary of Canada. Leading it throughout 2017 and into 2018, she helped to organize corporate and community support for the capsule, as well as its contents. Sanders – along with her fellow ambassadors Lyris Agarat, Michele Sealy and Katherine Whitworth – actively solicited contributions from across Saanich’s social spectrum. Overall, the quartet of Canada 150 Ambassadors participated in over seventy events, and Sunday’s sealing of the time capsule marked the group’s final event.

The dimensions of the water-proof capsule run about three feet by 18 inches and it will rest – unlike other time capsules – above ground in a small concrete cylinder outside Municipal Hall with a plaque describing its significance. This format and location was deliberate.

“The above-ground time capsule monument located predominately at the Municipal Hall physically and culturally leaves a legacy,” she said. “It physically honours and represents the architecture and heritage of the municipal precinct.”

Culturally, Sanders said the capsule captures a moment of time when Saanich recognized Canada’s sesquicentennial. “The Saanich150 year was one of engagement, spirit and pride that took place throughout Saanich,” she said. “Those moments captured in photographs, handwritten postcards, memorabilia and much more have been packaged and placed with care into the time capsule.”

Overall, organizers collected some 50 items under the larger categories of youth, environment, truth and reconciliation, diversity and inclusion. They include old newspapers, artifacts from Saanich’s museum, personal mementos and messages, and seeds of the camus plant, a native plant.

The final item came from Mayor Richard Atwell. “I have put together a little letter with my thoughts, I have put together a few personal artifacts, just so that people know what is was like to be here at this time, and I’m sure the mayor is going to be very, very, very different, and we don’t really know what the future is going to look like. But the future of Saanich has always been told through its history and this is a really important moment in history for us. It is fantastic to be part of this, and I really want to thank Vicki personally for this.”

Sunday’s event drew a small but illustrious crowd that included local MP Randall Garrison, Couns. Susan Brice, Judy Brownoff, Fred Haynes and Colin Plant, as well as other dignitaries.

Surrounded by her follow ambassadors and Coun. Brice, Sanders joined Atwell to lift the capsule into its place.

After the official ceremony, attendees mingled on a nearby plaza to music and refreshments. Naturally, many wondered whether they would be around once Saanich opens the capsule in 2067, the same year that Victoria plans to open the capsule it placed in 1967.

“I don’t know how many of us will be around for that – I am going to do my best,” said Atwell earlier. “Our MSP premiums are doubling, so hopefully they will get us there.”

Kathleen Burton, executive director of the Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary, was celebrating her 50th birthday Sunday, and hopes to be around when Saanich opens the capsule in 2067.

“So we will see how fit and healthy I am 50 years from now, when I hit that century-mark,” she said.

Sanders said in her remarks that she won’t be around, but promised that the capsule and its contents would be. Planning for that event has already started.

“Several individuals have already been recruited to attend the opening in 2067,” she said. “Please remember to put this on your calendar. If 2017 is an example, 2067 will be an event that you don’t want to miss.”

The Saanich News sponsored the time capsule project with partners Camosun College, Peppers Foods, Canadian Tire and Big Wheel Burger.

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