Time keeps on ticking: Marden time capsule offers glimpse of 1997

MARDEN – Opening the time capsule outside the Marden library on the weekend invoked a little time travel itself.

It took Corina Rider back to 1997, when she was in Grade 3 and did some of the drawings left in the capsule that was unearthed on Sept. 10.

It took many of the 30-some folks who turned out for the ceremony back to the ceremony in 2002, when the cairn that stood for 40 years at Marden Public School, was relocated to the library grounds.

And some even remembered the first time capsule was installed in the cairn back in 1962.

Three schools once stood at the corner of Marden Road and Highway 6. 

Two were destroyed by fire and the latest one is now the site of Grace Community Church.

Ruth Robinson takes the 1997 time capsule out of the cairn at the Marden library on Sept. 10. Watching are Guelph/Eramosa councillor Corey Wood and Mayor Chris White. Photo by Joanne Shuttleworth


But in 1997, the school was celebrating the 155th anniversary of the Marden school and added a time capsule to the cairn.

It was to be opened 25 years later – last year – but that was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

And so on Sunday workers used machinery to lift the school bell that sat on top.

Ruth Robinson, who spearheaded this time capsule campaign, put her hands inside and pulled out the 1997 capsule – a plastic food container – and spread its contents on a table.

Rider flashed back to her Grade 3 year.

“Someone in the class had someone die,” Rider recalled as she looked at her artwork. “It was the first experience of death for a lot of us and it had a great impact, I guess.”

Her drawings show a person lying in bed, another standing beside the bed, both saying “bye” to each other.

The 1997 time capsule also contained photos of the school, a pamphlet from the 155th anniversary, other student art and class lists.

Contents of the 1997 time capsule included photos, student art and a newspaper article. Photo by Joanne Shuttleworth


The township has now taken over the time capsule and had gathered some new items to be set in the cairn.

What will people see when they open the time capsule 50 years from now?

Among the items are some pamphlets about the township, advertising flyers, plastic toy figures, an empty water bottle and crushed Tim Hortons coffee cup.

Attendees also signed the new time capsule – a Nanuk waterproof case – and wrote messages to the future on slips of paper.

“When people in the future see these items, they may wonder at them,” said Ben Robinson, whose ancestors were among the first settlers in Guelph/Eramosa and who was invited to speak at the event. 

“And maybe they will see what life was like for us.”