Crews on a revitalization project in Gore Park found a time capsule from the 91-year-old cenotaph on Tuesday.

The capsule won’t be opened until it can be done carefully by a conservator, but the contents are most likely a scroll listing 1,800 names of soldiers killed in World War I, according to Hamilton Public Library archivist Margaret Houghton, who dug up a 1923 news story from the Hamilton Herald about the unveiling.

The article begins with some pomp:

“With martial majesty, reverent solemnity and dignified ceremonial; with little touches of human pathos and with an audience of over 5,000 people looking on, Hamilton’s memorial to her illustrious soldier dead, the Cenotaph in the Gore Park extension, was unveiled yesterday afternoon.”

The cenotaph was constructed in the winter of 1922-1923 and dedicated in May 1923, unveiled by Governor-General Lord Byng. The cenotaph has since come to represent soldiers who died in World War II and the Korean War, as well as World War I.

In the unveiling ceremony, Canadian Club president A.R. Lancefield acknowledged the inclusion of what’s most likely the capsule found this week.

“This is no empty tomb,” Lancefield said. “Within its depths lies a scroll bearing the names of 1800 Canadians who gave their lives in the cause for right and freedom."

Hamilton Herald 1923 Gore Park story

(Courtesy of Hamilton Public Library Local History and Archives)