Airshow Timecapsule opening ceremony

by Steve Stewart, photos by Bob Leroux

Friday morning we opened the time capsule that had been sealed since 1970.  You all already know the story of the Cairn and the time-capsule from what we wrote a couple of months ago.  So this note is just about the event today.  In fact, you may have seen it live on the Airshow’s Facebook page, or later on Global TV or have even read in the Abbotsford News.

George Aung-Thin and Steve Stewart at the cairn with the new time capsule

The original plan had been to open the time-capsule at 1pm, the same time that it was sealed 50 years ago, and that this would fit nicely into the first day of this year’s airshow and with the ADSE event at Tradex.  But that obviously didn’t happen. However, we still had to open the time capsule.   So, to fit with the current guidelines on gatherings, we scheduled it for 9am, because it would enable the whole thing to happen before the passengers started to arrive for the first scheduled flight of the day. We roped off an area about 60 feet by 60 feet, closed the right side traffic lanes, arranged for the ebus to stop a little way off from its usual location, set up the necessary equipment, had a pretty successful event.   The total number of attendees had to be kept below 50; and that was difficult at the invitation stage, because numbers add up quickly, just from airshow directors, the federal government representatives, City Mayor and counsellors, MLAs, MPs, AV guys, photographers media, etc etc.  When the time came, the numbers were not a problem, and I hope that everyone who really wanted to be there did in fact manage it.

Minister of Nation Defence, Harjit Sajjan and Mayor Henry Braun with other dignitaries

The airshow became the National Airshow at the suggestion of the federal government, which in 1970 was headed by Pierre Trudeau, so it was fitting that we invited Justin Trudeau to be here today. Unfortunately, he couldn’t attend, and instead, the federal government was represented by Harjit Sajjan, Minister of National Defence.

Ken Hildebrandt with Bob Singleton

Ken Hildebrandt acted as MC for the event, and after some appropriate speeches, we opened the cairn (which, we had re-sealed temporarily, after having previously gained access and found the time capsule, as described previously).   The time-capsule broke open as I removed it, and then I removed the contents.  There were brochures, an airshow newsletter, business cards, and various messages.  I selected the one from Pierre Trudeau, and it was read out by long-time airshow announcer Bob Singleton, who also shared his memories from when the cairn was sealed back in 1970.

The cairn is located just to the south of the main terminal building. It is made of rocks from around the world

We laid out the contents for inspection, and also displayed the new time capsule that will be sealed in place quite soon.  After the original contents have been examined, photographed etc, they will be re-sealed and placed back in the cairn.  Our wish is that both time capsules will be opened again in 2070.  The new time capsule will contain messages from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Minister of National Defence, Hargit Sajjan, Premier John Horgan, Mayor Henry Braun, the Board of the AIAS, George Aung Thin,  Parm Sidhu and others. There will also be some airshow memorabilia, photographs of the AIAS Directors and at least one USB memory stick.  It will contain a complete pdf file of the Airshow History Part One that we recently completed, plus all of the back ground material, newspaper clippings, photographs, etc from which that book was generated. I( hope that they can still read USB sticks in 2070.

George, Millie and Steve with the contents of the time capsule

As a practical footnote, for those of you interested in metal fabrication —  the original time capsule is a piece of copper pipe 3 inches diameter and 10 inches long.  I suspect that it may have been an offcut from the copper footrail that runs along our bar in the clubhouse.  I did consider removing another piece of the footrail for a new time capsule. But in fact the new capsule is a bit wider diameter. It is made from the casing of a 105mm howitzer shell, and Ed Boon arranged for a copper cap to machined to cap the end.

The old and the new time capsule

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