Historic City Hall time capsule retrieved today

At a ceremony held today, Mayor Naheed Nenshi and members of Council retrieved and opened the Historic City Hall’s time capsule placed on September 15, 1908.

The time capsule, a sealed copper box, was placed under Historic City Hall’s cornerstone in 1908 by Calgary’s mayor at the time, Arthur L. Cameron. Mayor Cameron laid the cornerstone with assistance from former mayors George Murdock and George King.

The cornerstone time capsule was removed as part of the rehabilitation of Historic City Hall which is currently underway. At 110 years old, it’s the only surviving city hall of its period in Western Canada.

“I am honoured to have been called upon to retrieve this time capsule placed here by Mayor Cameron in 1908” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi. “The time capsule is a piece of history that belongs to all Calgarians and I am privileged to be able to retrieve it on their behalf.”

“Historic City Hall has been a part of the changing fabric of Calgary” said Darrel Bell, acting director of Facility Management with The City. “We are excited to be able to preserve the contents of this time capsule, as well as this historic building, for many years to come.”

The cornerstone’s sealed copper box contains 27 items, including: copies of local newspapers; reports from local churches, the General Hospital and Calgary School Board; the voter’s list and The City’s Financial Report of 1907; The City’s bylaws; trade reports; coins; medals of the Police department and City Comptroller; a New Testament; and an Album of the Dominion Exhibition (precursor to the Calgary Stampede). (Please see below for a complete list of items.)

The City is working with a conservator to preserve the contents of the time capsule. Once the items have been examined, a treatment plan can be developed.

At this time, The City is planning the placement of a new time capsule in Historic City Hall once the rehabilitation has been completed. The new time capsule will help tell the story of Calgarians’ lives today. The City will be engaging with the public in 2019 to gather input on what should be included in the new time capsule.

When Calgary’s Mayor Cameron addressed the guests at the cornerstone-laying ceremony in 1908, he said “Before doing the necessary mason work, I wish to extend to all citizens a cordial welcome and remind them that they all possess an ownership in the building.” This remains true today and will provide an occasion to share the successful rehabilitation of Historic City Hall with the public.

For more information about Historic City Hall, please visit


The cornerstone’s sealed copper box (the time capsule) contains the following items:

  • New Testament.
  • Bylaws, The City of Calgary,
  • Financial report, The City of Calgary A.D. 1907.
  • Voters’ list, The City of Calgary, A.D. 1907.
  • Album of dominion exhibition. Calgary. A.S. 1908
  • Report of Grand Lodge of Masona of Alberta. A.D. 1908.
  • Report of Grand Lodge of Oddfellows of Alberta, A.D. 1908.
  • Report of General hospital, A.D. 1907
  • Report of school board, Calgary, A.D 1907
  • Tercentenary stamps, Canada, A.D. 1908
  • Coins, 50c, 25c, 10c, and 5c, Dominion of Canada.
  • Copy of history of Roman Catholic church, Calgary. A.D. 1907.
  • Medal of Chairman of Police department
  • Medal of city comptroller.
  • Members of fire deparment.
  • Report of Knox church, Calgary,
  • Members of police deparment.
  • Proceedings of synod of Church of England for western Canada.
  • Minutes of Alberta conference of Methodist church.
  • Year book of the Central Methodist church.
  • Report of Baptist church.
  • Copy of Daily Herald.
  • Copy of Morning Albertans.
  • Copy of special edition of Albertan.
  • Copy of Daily News.
  • Copy of Eye Opener.