In 2008, a demolition crew fueled up their excavator in readiness to flatten the old Sunset Community Centre at Prince Edward and 51st Avenue, when it suddenly occurred to some of the neighbourhood’s elders that there was still a time capsule hidden inside the 1950 building. So with the countdown clock ticking, I hurried down to the City of Vancouver Archives and found a blueprint that showed a martini-shaker-size metal container tucked behind the structure’s cornerstone.
Park board workers sliced into the gymnasium wall and the 58-year-old time capsule was extracted. City of Vancouver Archivists carefully cut open the monel metal container and slid out a cylindrical bundle of newspaper articles, photos and documents related to the centre’s creation story. But perhaps the most intriguing artifact to come from the tube was a 1948 Canada Paramount newsreel documenting Hollywood superstar Bing Crosby’s Vancouver visit during which he performed a benefit concert at the PNE Forum to help raise money for Sunset’s construction. View the newsreel video here
Among those present at the opening of the time capsule were Sunset Community Centre President Walter Schultz and the Archives’ digital conservator Sue Bigelow.
Submitted by Rob Howatson.
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