Red Deerians officially marked 100 years of city status this past Monday as a time capsule packed with memorabilia was buried in City Hall Park.
Another capsule from 1963, with a few additions from 1997, was later opened in the Red Deer Public Library by Mayor Morris Flewwelling.
“A time capsule is a way of communicating through the decades a little piece of Red Deer – its people, places and identity as it exists today,” said City Manager Craig Curtis at Monday’s ceremony. “When Red Deer became a city in 1913, it had a population of less than 3,000. Fifty years ago, the population had grown to 23,100. Today of course, we are over 90,000. If we could step into a time capsule and travel through time another 50 years, our trekking might find a city of more than 400,000.”
As Flewwelling pointed out, the contents of the capsule paint a picture of Red Deer in 2013 – profiling things like how the City has grown in size, progressed as a community and how technology, the media and the people who live here have shaped Red Deer.
“It’s a collection of photos, letters, messages, publications, newspapers, recordings, flags, toys and a penny collection because this is the year we got rid of the penny,” he said. “Also, we are delighted to be including art from the Grade 2 classes from Glendale and West Park elementary and Ecole Mountview. There is also some art from the Grade 5 class at Maryview, too.
“Thanks for being here to help celebrate, create and commemorate with us today.”
Flewwelling said that while plans for the 2013 capsule were taking shape, City staff realized there was a capsule buried in City Hall at the time the building was built in 1963. “We weren’t exactly sure what that time capsule was, but through a little sleuthing we did find it.”
The location was narrowed down to two places on the outside of City Hall thanks to calls and research, and through the help of Pascal Mancuso Construction Ltd. (PMCL), who removed the plaque on the park side steps, the capsule was found.
The capsule was opened back in 1997 and a few additional items were placed in it at that time as well, including a copy of the City’s strategic plan and a letter from the mayor at that time, Gail Surkan.
From 1963, the capsule contained several mementos including a copy of a Golden Jubilee certificate that had been given to Red Deerians who had lived in the community for 50 years at that point. It also included the resolution passed by City council authorizing the award and tender for construction of the current building.
The cost for the new facility was listed at $789,148.
Local archivist Michael Dawe said it’s good to reflect on the dramatic changes the City has seen over the past 100 years, and about how some things have stayed the same such as the appreciation of the natural areas and the interest in education and progress. Those things have remained.”
Flewwelling said having the centennial celebrations held during his final term as mayor has been a true personal highlight and milestone. “This is one of the reasons why I chose to run this term. I thought, you know, there is no better way I could cap of my 21 years of public life than to be mayor of the City on Red Deer’s centennial. I thought that was really exciting, and I’m finding it very moving.”
He also contributed a letter to the newly-buried capsule.
“I wrote my letter for Red Deerians of 2063, so I framed what Red Deer has been all about for the past 100 years – things like our values, goals, our environmental concerns and our care for the community,” he said. “Those values are enduring values – ones of fiscal responsibility, caring for one another, civility and volunteerism – hallmarks of our community.”