If today's elementary school students were to stuff a time capsule to the gills, what would they use to represent their era?
Chances are there would be a newspaper or magazine (e-tablets, while increasingly the media conduit of choice, might still be a little too costly to seal up for posterity just yet), a class photo, a few random objects of sentimental value.
And chances are the students who unearthed that same capsule half a century from now would look at the decaying array before them and marvel at how quaint and simple life seemed in 2012.
But that's the beauty of time capsules, and that's why the copper case recently discovered behind the brick wall of a Quebec elementary school is making headlines around the country.
As CTV News reports, officials at Howick Elementary School, southwest of Montreal, called a community-wide assembly to open the capsule that had been buried by their predecessors in 1948.
That same Howick staff of yore had done a thorough job, too. It required expert attention to fire open the case after 65 years of coppery repose.
But it was well worth the wait. Artifacts unpacked, the capsule revealed a treasure trove of the time, including an old copy of the Huntingdon Gleaner newspaper, school meeting announcements, and a record of teachers' salaries: instructors received 65 pounds sterling a year for their efforts. (At the time the pound sterling was the equivalent to roughly $4 CDN.)
Attendees included former students and even teachers who recalled putting the goods together. The discovery triggered a flood of happy memories, especially for retired teacher Audrey Reddick, who found an absentee record she had filled out in 1947.
"It was the most terrific atmosphere, the most wonderful children and the parents were so supportive," she told CTV of her time at the school.
The last time capsule to capture national attention was the copper box dug up from the bowels of Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto's former hockey haven that now serves as a grocery store and Ryerson University athletic centre.
Tucked away in the case was enough to make the heart of any diehard Leafs' fan briefly resuscitate. There was an old rule book from the 1930-31 season, a four-page typewritten letter from the MLG directors and a small ivory elephant that had been a gift to Conn Smythe from a Russian businessman.
Before that, a century-old cornerstone laid by former Governor General Earl Grey at the Royal Military Academy disappointed historians when its paper contents disintegrated at the touch.
(CBC image of Maple Leaf Gardens time capsule)