Sarnia high school uncovers history embedded in cornerstone
97-year-old time capsule contained coins, papers, vials of oil
A time capsule hidden in the cornerstone of a historic Sarnia high school was unveiled at a public event on the weekend.
Great Lakes Secondary School (GLSS) is the amalgamation of the former Sarnia Collegiate Institute and Technical School (SCITS) and St. Clair Secondary School.
Currently housed in the former SCITS building, the school will move to a permanent new home in the renovated St. Clair building in September.
As part of the celebrations honouring the history of the former schools, an event was held Saturday at the SCITS site where a time capsule embedded in the building's 1921 capsule was unveiled.
"We had this dream that on the very day of the time capsule opening, we would have someone cut some of the mortar and pop it out," explained GLSS principal Paul Wiersma. "It's a good thing we didn't do that — it took many, many hours to take it out."
Wiersma explained that the reason why the capsule had to be extracted after 97 years instead of 100 is because with the future of the building unknown, officials felt it was an appropriate time to crack it open.
The principal said about one thousand people attended the opening of the copper box, which was also streamed online.
According to their research, a city directory, a history of local indigenous residents, a history of city schools, coins, vials of oil from Imperial Oil and newspapers were placed in the box. While the oil and newspapers were found, the directory and histories were not recognizable.
"Unfortunately, those didn't survive that well," Wiersma said. "Moisture must have penetrated the capsule."
The principal said he was intrigued by the series of copper and silver coins. "The 1921 five-cent piece could be worth anywhere from $1,800 to $10,000," he said.
Tap on the audio player to hear Wiersma's conversation with Afternoon Drive host Chris dela Torre.