An elementary school in southeastern B.C. has unearthed a treasure map created by a student 40 years ago, sparking a bit of much-needed joy amid the anxiety leading into the new school year.
Revelstoke's Columbia Park Elementary School, established in 1975, has been under renovation since March. A few weeks ago, a construction worker discovered a piece of paper hidden behind a mirror in a boys' washroom that was being demolished.
It's a treasure map that was drawn and signed on Nov. 26, 1980 by a student named Jimmy Greer.
"I have been in this school when it first open[ed] in 1976. I was in Grade 2 then. Now if you look carefully at the map you will find 100 dollars," reads a pencil-written note on the map.
The map indicates the money was buried by a "big tree" close to some tire swings located three feet south of where the map was hidden. "Good luck," the note ends.
"What a clever young boy to have slid this behind a mirror and knowing that it wouldn't be found for years," Andrew Pfeiffer, principal of Columbia Park elementary, said to Sarah Penton, host of CBC's Radio West.
According to the Bank of Canada's inflation calculator, $100 in 1980 is equivalent to $310 in 2020.
Pfeiffer has been teaching in the school for 30 years. He said the tire swings are no longer on the playground, and it's difficult to figure out the location of the "big tree" given the large number of trees surrounding the building.
After Pfeiffer posted the treasure map's photo on social media, some people went hunting for the $100. "I found three areas that looked like they had been recently dug up," he said.
Pfeiffer said Greer's treasure map is a "wonderful distraction" from pandemic anxiety.
"I'd like to give him a big 'thank you' and maybe buy him a latte, because it's gone a long way in helping everybody smile."
Pfeiffer said the treasure map has inspired some teachers in his school to consider creating a time capsule that captures what life looks like amid COVID-19.