Our 1996 time capsule
Environment and Climate Canada and Meteorological Service of Canada’s 1996 Time Capsule
Submitted by our 50/150 Anniversary Celebrations Team with Contributions from the Downsview Ontario Storm Prediction Centre
Look what we found in the ground!
In 1996, employees buried a time capsule at the Downsview Ontario Storm Prediction Centre in Toronto, Ontario as part of the Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) and the Meteorological Service of Canada’s (MSC) 25-125 anniversary celebrations with instructions to open in June 2021. It was approximately four feet underground and took patience and strength to recover, but the team persevered!
Digging up the capsule
On June 29, 2021, a small crew of critical staff working on-site began the dig to unearth the time capsule from 1996. Freeing the capsule from the ground proved to be no small task. The team started by loosening the exposed cap using an industrial pipe wrench and some heavy-duty clamps. When the metal cap was finally removed, the team was relieved and amazed to see that the capsule was so well-engineered that its contents were perfectly intact. The interior capsule managed to survive the years and the elements.
"An astonishing and touching discovery from our former colleagues” were the sentiments shared by those partaking in the digging event.
Diving into the contents
The time capsule contained a number of documents, like the Environment Canada action plan and sustainable development plan, some weather maps and forecasts, and a large banner.
25-125 Anniversary Banner
We uncovered a large banner that was signed by a number of staff in 1996. The banner included staff predictions for the future of the environment and the department. Some also sent their well wishes to future employees.
Predictions from 1996
Here are some of the messages on the banner!
Among the messages was one from David Grimes, retired Assistant Deputy Minister of the Meteorological Service of Canada.
We followed up with David who remembers the burial of the time capsule and the celebrations coming at a difficult time for the department. For David, putting together the pieces of the time capsule offered a glimmer of hope – an opportunity to refocus employees in the department and an indication that everything was going to be okay.
We were also able to locate a comment from someone who is still with the department, 25 years later! Senior Climatologist, David Phillips wrote: 2021. Will Canada still be the second coldest country on Earth?
We followed up with David Phillips. David shared that he had just finished working on the eighth edition of The Canadian Weather Trivia Calendar and couldn’t get it out of his mind that Canada was now the second coldest country on Earth, where up until 1993 we had been the number one coldest country. This change in rank was an interesting anecdote and, yes, on this day in 2021, Canada still ranks second coldest.
It was very exciting to dive into the contents of the time capsule from 1996! We cannot wait to see what the next 25 years have in-store!
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