From the Mayor's Desk:
Municipal Time Capsule Opening
Doug Lawrance - Mayor, Sioux Lookout
Twenty-five years ago Municipal Mayor Hubert Morrison and Council placed a time capsule on the Municipal Office site in recognition of the closure of the old and the opening of the new Municipal Office building. The instruction was to open the capsule on July 14, 2020. Prudently Municipal staff decided to dig into the garden and locate the time capsule a few days before the event. They discovered the box but also noted that it was evident water had probably got into the box. Sure enough, further investigation disclosed that water had completely infiltrated the capsule and most of the contents were damaged.
Staff removed the contents and salvaged what they could. They have done a wonderful job of cataloging the contents and photographs will be displayed on the Municipal website. The paper documents were largely damaged or ruined but some headlines and cover pages are legible. The contents also included: caps, t-shirts, a brick, a calculator, and a cassette tape. Please go to the Municipal website and discover for yourself the artifacts that were salvaged.
A few general facts from twenty-five years ago when the capsule was buried:
The Municipal Mayor was Hubert Morrison and Councillors included Jim Carroll, Dave Cranton, Rob McClendon, Derek Mills, Steven Samuel, Charron Sippola, and the CAO was Loretta Thompson.
As well as a new Municipal building Sioux Lookout was undergoing other changes – new schools being built and planned, the movement pushing and planning for a new hospital was in its’ formative stage, our airport was growing with 71,000 passenger movements in 1995 (last year it had 161,000).
Our Prime Minister was Jean Chretien and the US President was Bill Clinton.
The “no” side won a slim victory and kept Quebec in Canada.
For the first time a US space shuttle docked at a Russian space station.
Representatives of Indigenous Peoples gathered and issued the Sacred Assembly Proclamation from which was developed the Reconciliation
Seinfeld was #1 on TV and Braveheart won the Best Picture Oscar.
The New Jersey Devils won the Stanley Cup – probably in June – this year there may be a Cup winner - perhaps in August.
There were 5.5 billion people on the planet and 5,165 of them lived in Sioux Lookout. Today there are 2 billion more people on the planet and according to the last census a hundred or so more are living in Sioux Lookout.
Going back further in 25 year increments - in 1970 Arnold Beebe was Mayor, in 1945 D.F. Moberly, and one hundred years ago, in 1920, Dr. W.E.C. Day was Mayor. At that time Mayor Day and the people of Sioux Lookout had a similar challenge as we do today. The Spanish flu pandemic gripped the world and in four successive waves it infected about 500 million people – about one third of the world’s population of 1.5 billion at that time. The total global death toll is estimated to be somewhere between 50 million to 100 million people. In Canada the 1918-1920 pandemic is estimated to have taken 55,000 lives, mostly young adults. As a result of that pandemic there was significant evolution of public health in Canada.
Sioux Lookout was struck hard by the pandemic of 100 years ago and many were infected. The Town had two doctors, one of whom succumbed to the disease and died, leaving Mayor Dr. Day as the only doctor until Dr. Bell returned from the Navy to assist in the emergency.
100 years ago the Spanish flu was a previously unknown form of influenza. 25 years ago we had yet to go through the SARS outbreak. Until this year, the novel coronavirus was previously unknown. We are much better prepared now than we were 100 years ago. We are more prepared than 25 years ago, which was still a few years before SARS. But there is much we have to learn. What we do know is that we must trust the science and public health experts. We must continue to be careful and we must not forget how we have been successful to date with our current day pandemic.
It is appropriate that we say thank you to Mayor, Council and Administration of 25 years ago for thinking ahead. Their thinking ahead allows us an opportunity to look back. We also offer thanks to our staff for work preparing for the time capsule opening and cataloging the findings from the capsule, the Library for recording the event and making it available on their website, and our staff for research looking back in time.
Stay safe and despite all that is going on, let’s look forward to the next twenty-five years and perhaps we should consider how we might help those 25 years in the future look back in time.