Tillsonburg News 25-year time capsule opens



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Twenty-five years ago, The Tillsonburg News assembled a time capsule that would open in 2021.


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That day finally arrived on Saturday at an editorial meeting.

Longtime columnist Ross Andrews, who has contributed continuously to the newspaper for 53 years, was not there for the opening of the capsule. The columnist for “Various Veins” died in 2016 at the age of 86.

It was Andrews who had the task of designing and manufacturing the capsule itself, which was given to him by editor Marlene Opdecam. In July 1996, he spent a week pondering the need for a strong, waterproof fiberglass capsule that could withstand the elements if buried.

The next time he visited The News, he referred the idea to the sports editor at the time.

“Chris told me he had seen Tupperware containers sealed with duct tape used for this purpose,” Andrews wrote, knowing the fiberglass would do.

Chris didn’t remember this conversation. In fact, the former sports editor had absolutely no recollection of the time capsule when Patricia Phelps of Annandale National Historic Site called in July 2021 to say, “Come and take your time capsule.”

Safely kept at the museum for 25 years, it was eventually opened with a skillfully operated chainsaw by former Tillsonburg News staff member Jeff Tribe (and reunion host), who had been rehired at News in the fall. 96.

“Will there be a Tillsonburg News in 2021? Andrews asked in his article on page 2 of a 48-page Summer 1996 Special Edition (Thoughts on the Future). “Will I be there to see if my work has stood the test of time?” It has been fun to participate in the project, and it is enough for now.


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Fran Bell, an economic development officer, suggested that Tillsonburg (pop. 13,000) would no longer wear a “small town label” in 2021. Bell predicted the population would be close to 20,000 (currently estimated at 18,800), with a healthy downtown, and would use annexation to accommodate future growth in the west, east, and possibly north.

“Tillsonburg has always been a very proactive community,” said Mayor Cam McKnight. “It seems to be like the people of Tillsonburg – if they want to make a difference – then they just do it.”

Dave Demeyere, president of the Tillsonburg and District Chamber of Commerce, suggested the tobacco industry would likely see growth in the export market (and the town’s population would be 20,000).

George Gilvesy, chairman of the Ontario Flue-tobacco Producers’ Marketing Board, has been more cautious in his predictions.

“In twenty-five years, there will still be a certain percentage of Canadians who smoke and we will serve that market. “

Tillsonburg Librarian Matt Scholtz said the books would retain their popularity and remain the core business of libraries around the world.

“I’m not sure the big dailies will survive, but I’m sure the community newspapers will,” said Tillsonburg News associate editor Cam McKnight. “The form and delivery are the only questions.

“With a computer and a link, a reporter really doesn’t have to work outside the office,” McKnight continued. “He or she can continue to work from home. “


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Minor hockey, having recently added a rookie program, looked solid for the next century, wrote reporter Nancy Puhr, noting that it had over 400 players.

Minor football registrations had “skyrocketed” but the sports editor wrote “it may take another 25 years before they really hit their stride.” It turned out to be much earlier and coincided with the opening of a new football park four years later.

What was in the time capsule?

A Tillsonburg Museum and Annandale House binder containing material compiled by staff (curator Rita Corner and museum assistant Patty Phelps) describing museum exhibits and events throughout 1996.

A directory of Tillsonburg community businesses, a city map and a Bell telephone directory.

An official Happy 150 e Birthday greeting from Town Crier Brenda Bozso which will be appreciated in 2022.

Programs of various school shows including Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat in South Ridge (with two photos) and a school 1 st annual spring concert.

Columnist Oscar Lava asked “Will tobacco be here in 2021?”

“I don’t believe a lot of tobacco will be grown beyond 2005 in Canada, but life will go on,” Lava wrote. “If I had the chance to enjoy good health for the rest of my life, the year 2021 would make me 88 years old. I wish everyone well.

Lava died in 2015 in his 83 rd year.

Companies also participated, including Hornsby Canvas and Tarpaulin Ltd., contributors to a corporate brochure, business cards… and a book of matches.


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Donna just donated a photo fridge magnet from Lisgar Lake.

The capsule included a set of advertising pamphlets, fewer in number than those found in the current Norfolk and Tillsonburg News, the issues of The Canadian Tobacco Grower and Water Gardening, and a 1995 final report on the economic contribution of the tobacco industry in the tobacco growing region of Ontario.

Matt Scholtz and Anna Bailey contributed to their book Tillsonburg Diary: A Chronological History 1824-1994. An excellent historical resource.

The Tillsonburg District One-Stop Center has collected two photos and its mission statement from the 1995-96 Annual Report.

And perhaps the most important article, an original copy of the 1972 centennial edition of Tillsonburg News in seven sections and 190 pages, “Marking 100 years of Progress in Tillsonburg”. It will be an invaluable resource when compiling stories during the 150 e celebrations next year.

Some items photographed with the capsule in 1996 failed, including a $ 2 bill and a Tillsonburg baseball cap. You have to ask yourself why.



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