Fort Edmonton Park 1967 centennial time capsule opened: ‘It’s a connection to our past’

A time capsule buried at the dedication ceremony for Fort Edmonton Park in 1967 was unearthed Wednesday by Mayor Don Iveson.

The time capsule was built over with the boardwalk and small shed near the train station at Fort Edmonton Park many years ago.

It’s heavy!” Iveson said as he pulled the long metal cylinder from the ground inside the shed. “That’s a beast,” he exclaimed.

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Iveson said while there are time capsules around Edmonton, with the city being a relatively newer community, there aren’t many historical, milestone monuments.

“So 50 years ago when this park was completed, it was a very special time in the city’s story and the country’s centennial,” Iveson.

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The capsule was buried by then-Mayor Vincent Dantzer and John Janzen, who was the superintendent of Edmonton’s Parks and Recreation Department from 1966 to 1972 and for whom the park’s neighbouring nature sanctuary is named.

The capsule contained many items pertaining to Canada’s 100th anniversary as a country, as well as items about how the park came to be.

What began as a Canada Centennial project in 1967 to reconstruct the old Fort Edmonton grew thanks to the efforts of the Rotary Club of Edmonton and the Fort Edmonton Foundation.

Those organizations allowed the park to also include the 1846 Hudson’s Bay Fort area, as well as the Streets of 1885, 1905, and 1920, which depict the evolution of Edmonton’s early history.

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“To be able to unearth all of this and see the aspirations that our community had for this park and to look out and at this park and see what it’s becoming around us is a very, very special time in our city again,” Iveson said.

Items from the 1967 centennial capsule unearthed at Fort Edmonton Park on Wednesday, May 22, 2019.

Dayne Winter, Global News

Donning gloves, the mayor was tasked with pulling each item out of the capsule and announcing what it was.

The time capsule contained:

  • Flags from Canada’s centennial celebrations
  • A 1967 centennial $1 bill and silver dollar
  • A copy of the Edmonton Journal newspaper from July 10, 1967, which contained a story about the dedication of Fort Edmonton Park
  • Various letters, documents and colour photos pertaining to the park’s dedication in 1967
  • A brochure listing all of Edmonton’s centennial events in 1967
  • A guest book from a Rotary Club of Edmonton event
  • 1966 annual report from the Edmonton Parks and Recreation Department, which included a sketch and proposed site plan for Fort Edmonton Park

Items from the 1967 centennial capsule unearthed at Fort Edmonton Park on Wednesday, May 22, 2019.

Dayne Winter, Global News

Iveson remarked on the artifacts being well-preserved.

“The capsule held up well, so to have these things preserved and then to be able to display them, share them with the public is very special.

“It’s a connection to our past —which is what Fort Edmonton is all about — is a connection to the city’s history. These are tangible artifacts from the city’s history at a very important moment.”

The park is in the midst of $165-million upgrade, which began last fall and will last through until 2020. As a result, the park will not be open for general admission this summer.

The upgrades include new underground utilities, a new Indigenous Peoples’ Experience exhibit, expansions to the midway and Hotel Selkirk, as well as a new building to house the steam train.

READ MORE: City gives go ahead for $6.3M train barn at Fort Edmonton Park

A new time capsule will be installed in the spring of 2021, during the grand re-opening of the expansion to Fort Edmonton Park.

Items from the time 1967 centennial capsule unearthed at Fort Edmonton Park on Wednesday, May 22, 2019.

Dayne Winter, Global News