Heres what was inside Calgarys 110-year-old time capsule

Here\s what was inside Calgary\s 110-year-old time capsule
Calgary City Hall Time Capsule Dug Up After 110 Years
Mayor Naheed Nenshi had the honour of removing a time capsule that was placed inside Old City Hall on Sept. 15, 1908, during construction of the landmark sandstone building.

"These are records of people. These are records of the people who dreamt big, who wanted future generations to benefit from their investment and their work," he said after removing the car battery-sized copper box.  

Nenshi told the chamber there are four near-term solutions of varying palatability, including: continuing to spend city savings on tax relief measures; shifting some of the tax burden onto homeowners; accepting the situation as the “new norm” where properties outside the core pay higher taxes than those downtown; and introducing different tax rates for small and large businesses to shield the smaller firms.

"What's unique about it is an assemblage, it's a curated collection representative of the times and the people involved," historian Harry Sanders told the Calgary Eyeopener (which was named after Bob Edwards' iconic publication).

Nenshi made the comments at a packed luncheon Thursday hosted by the Calgary Chamber of Commerce where he swung between two topics in particular: Calgary’s potential bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics and how the city will tackle the problem of stubbornly high downtown vacancies that are driving up property taxes for businesses outside the core.

"If you think about what it is meant to be, that it isn't something special, it's just representative of what the community was like at the time this building was placed. If those are the expectations, then I think it's pretty spectacular. We're getting the very tactile items the people behind the construction of City Hall thought were important for us to have."

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi addressed the cityís business community speaking about the opportunities and challenges that lay ahead for Calgary and the key decisions weíll have to make as a community moderated by Calgary Chamber President and CEO Sandip Lalli at the The Hudson in Calgary on Thursday November 8, 2018. Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia

"They weren't taking into account that there would be humidity or snow or rain or things coming through," said Lisa Isley, who is the paper conservator at the Glenbow Museum.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi addressed the cityís business community speaking about the opportunities and challenges that lay ahead for Calgary and the key decisions weíll have to make as a community moderated by Calgary Chamber President and CEO Sandip Lalli at the The Hudson in Calgary on Thursday November 8, 2018. Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia

"And honestly, they didn't have the knowledge that we have now when we do put together time capsules of what could potentially go wrong — mixing metal with paper obviously creates rust and corrosion."

Calgary has seen property values in the core slide from 32 per cent of the total non-residential assessment base in 2015 to just 19 per cent in 2019, forcing a shift in the tax load away from downtown office towers onto the shoulders of non-residential property owners in the suburbs and industrial parks.

The next step, said Isley, will be "to give it a chance to breathe, to acclimatize, because it's been in this microclimate for 100 years."

Mayor Naheed Nenshi told a gathering of Calgary’s business leaders that the problems caused by empty downtown office towers aren’t getting better — in fact they’re “much worse” — but that city council will “have their back” in the months to come.

"A lot of what's done next is documentation," she said. "It's really important that we get a lot of photos of the condition of the box, how it was oriented in the cavity and then slowly, as things come out piece by piece, we'll document that as well."

And it's not the only time capsule at City Hall as another is set to be opened 66 years from now.

That one was placed in the Municipal Building — which was constructed in the mid-1980s — and is set to be opened in 2084.

“I can tell you one thing for sure,” he said. “We’ve had your back for the last two years, we’ll continue to have your back. We understand the need for small businesses to thrive and to grow, particularly in this economy.”

It is a priority for CBC to create a website that is accessible to all Canadians including people with visual, hearing, motor and cognitive challenges.

Framing a bid for the 2026 Games as a smart economic play for Calgary, Nenshi said the city could spend $390 million to leverage a $4-billion investment from the provincial and federal governments, the International Olympic Committee and private sources.

More than a century ago, members of Calgarys city council gathered items important to the city at the time and sealed them in a copper box, placing the box within a cornerstone of City Hall.

The chamber is also concerned at the possibility of introducing different property tax rates for different sized businesses. Addington said it’s not clear how effective a solution focused on company size would be.

Today, mayor Naheed Nenshi pulled that box out, revealing a snapshot of a small city just beginning to grow.

The capsule was put in place on Sept. 15, 1908, by then-mayor Arthur L. Cameron. At the time, Calgarys population was only 12,000 people, and the provinces vast oil resource had yet to be discovered.

“The challenge is that it’s not getting better. In fact, this year, because of a couple of sales in the downtown core of big skyscrapers at very low prices, it got much worse.”

In the box were 27 items, including copies of newspapers, coins, a New Testament, and an Album of the Dominion Exhibition (the precursor to the Calgary Stampede.)

The conservator will remove the contents one at a time separating them from each other. Once the items have been examined, a treatment plan will be developed and we will hopefully be able to display the contents at a later date. #yycheritagepic.twitter.com/39NyyW1JIg

For each of the past two years, the city has spent around $45 million to soften the blow by limiting the increase on non-residential property taxes to five per cent.

The City of Calgary says more photos of the contents will be available and HuffPost Canada will update this post with those photos.

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