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Preserving the past, while looking ahead to the future

'Callander and area residents gathered to watch items reflecting life in the municipality, get locked away in a time capsule to be opened on Canada Day, 2042'

The Municipality of Callander is preserving its past while looking ahead to the future. 

That was the sentiment expressed at the Callander Bay Heritage Museum Saturday, where people watched as items donated by residents and groups, were placed inside the community time capsule, to be opened as part of Canada 175 celebrations, in 2042. 

A Callander resident for the past 11 years, Garry Besserer wasn't around when Callander sealed it's Canada 150 time capsule in 1992.  

Now a museum director, he took advantage of this opportunity to contribute to the local history. 

"We figured we'd put a DVD player in there because when they opened up the last time capsule, they had nothing to play the VHS tapes on. When I saw that, I thought nobody has a VHS player, but with a DVD player, they can play the DVD's that are in here, so it will work out great.It's got every cable in there that you would need. I don't use it anymore, anyway," explained Besserer.

He wonders what people will think of the way movies were watched when the capsule is opened on Canada Day, 2042.

"I think my kids will enjoy this one when they come to the next 25-year opening because I don't think I'll be here," laughed Besserer. 

Each item was laid out on display, then individually placed in the newest time capsule by Municipal Councillor Heather Busch and museum curator, Natasha Wiatr.

Items included a sealed bottle of water, the first water produced at the Callander Water Intake and Treatment Plant. The plant officially opened June 1, 1995. 

Other donations included a Sears catalogue, and a Christmas card from someone wondering if people would still mail Christmas cards 25 years from now.  The fire department donated a helmet and crest, and Osprey Links Golf Course donated a golf hat and pictures from club events. Seniors and youth groups contributed information letters, M.T. Davidson donated a school picture, individuals wrote letters about their family history, and one person went into a great deal about world events, even providing a list of questions to be answered a quarter of a century from now.

A member of the time capsule committee, Don Clysdale watched the opening of the Canada 150 time capsule and witnessed the Canada 175 time capsule being sealed.

"To have people donating to it is wonderful, also the continuity is great. To actually see what got delivered was such a pleasant surprise. People were interested 25 years ago, people will be interested 25 years from now. So it's the community interest and the continuity, which is what history is all about. "   

Aaron Garber currently lives in London, Ontario. He was in the area visiting family when his curiosity got the better of him.

"It seemed like an interesting contribution to the history of the municipality," said Garber.

"They've got a lot of nice stuff in here. It's always good to include the newspaper to show what was going on in the town during this period."      

Garber brought with him his mother, Sheila Durand who lives in North Bay. 

"I didn't live in Callander but I know the area because I was born and raised in Sturgeon Falls. I was interested in seeing what was going in the time capsule, and to support a local area museum. I love local history," said Durand.  

Councillor Heather Busch included a personal letter about her own family heritage. 

"I'm always excited to look at history, things from the past. My little letter references my dad's family which moved here in 1922. The fifth generation is still living here in Callander, so I had fun putting that together."   

She is confident the positive community spirit which exists today, will live on 25 years from now.

"I submitted a letter as a councillor also, and I'm certain that it will still be the best place to live, work and play because I'm confident that the residents that move to this community will take pride in it, and love it."

The metal box was sealed by the same Callander Fire Department, volunteer firefighter who cut the lock on the 1992 time capsule during Canada Day 150 celebrations. Philippe Tambeau tossed the keys into the box and locked it so no one can tamper with it during the next 25 years.

"For the first time capsule, they were looking for a firefighter who was born in the 90's, specifically looking for '92 but that wasn't possible. I was born in 1990, two years before the time capsule was closed, so they asked me to cut the lock since I lived here since I was ten," said Tambeau.

"It was quite a surprise to be asked again. It's a really big honour. My wife and I have decided that we are going to be raising our future children here, so we do expect to be here when it's opened in 25 years, and of course our kids will probably be in their 20's by then, so it will be really neat to say that I closed it, and show them the pictures."

Tambeau says if he is asked to open the time capsule in 25 years, he will be 52.

The very first item people will see when the metal box is unlocked is the Canada 150 flag which flew outside the museum. 

"That flag was on a pole in front of the museum all summer long in honour of Canada 150, and it got a little beat up. Lansdowne Street is a bit of a wind tunnel at times, but it's in pretty good shape, and we decided it would be the last thing to go in the time capsule," said the museum curator.

Natasha Wiatr encourages anyone curious about the history of the area to visit the museum. 

"We have all of the objects on display that were in the 1992 time capsule, so we welcome everyone to take a look at those, They will be on display until the end of February," said Wiatr. 

The newest capsule will be stored at the museum until Canada Day, 2042.