Time capsule buried in Pine Glen by the class of ’81 opened after 37 years


On June 19, 1981, teacher Tom Conlin and his grade 7/8 students at Pine Glen School buried a time capsule. For 37 years the capsule remained hidden in the bowels of the school.

That’s not to say that the capsule had been forgotten. Far from it. When Conlin and Bob Earl, one of the students who helped hide the capsule, would meet up the capsule was always a topic in their conversation.

The original plan had been to open it 20 years after its creation. That plan was thwarted by renovations to the school that saw the opening to the crawlspace—in which the capsule was buried—boarded up.

Grade 8 Pine Glen students Lachlan Mangaroff (left) and Nick Larose braved the crawlspace to unearth the capsule that had been buried by Bob Earl (right) and Paul Ford and Dwayne Aubrey 37 years earlier.

Fast forward another 17 years when a parent of one of the present grade eight students brought the existence of the time capsule to the attention of principal Peter Edwards. Edwards wasted no time in contacting Conlin.

“Tom (Conlin) came over and showed me where it was. And it looked pretty gross there,” said Edwards. “I didn’t want to climb up there. I asked Tom if he wanted to climb up and he said no. So we picked two students, Lachlan Mangaroff and Nick Larose. They climbed up into this dark hole where there were all sorts of cobwebs and it was dusty smelly.”

The capsule was exactly where they were told it would be, with an X on the wall marking the spot where they should start digging.

In the company of the present day students and teachers, 37 years to the day after it was buried, Conlin and Earl opened the time capsule.

Inside they found a class picture, a copy of The Globe and Mail, The Forester, The Muskoka Free Press, a Sears catalogue, a Home Hardware flyer and a car magazine. They also found notes written by the students.

The students took particular glee in hearing some of the headlines from the papers of the day. Town falls behind in race for a mall. Gravenhurst gets District approval first, reported the The Forester on June 17, 1981.

This headline from The Forester garnered a gasp from the assembly:School board committee report in favour of continued use of the strap. The story reports that, “Fueled by findings from its own public opinion poll the school board committee studying the use of the strap in schools has recommended to the board that it oppose a government move to ban corporal punishment. In addition, the committee has also suggested to the Muskoka board that its own policy on corporal punishment is too restrictive and should be relaxed to use the strap even more.”

The capsule also contained notes written by the students in the class.

“Hi, I’m Mike Peters. At the present I have a terrible cold and I feel miserable. Today is sunny and warm outside. It’s the second last day of school and tonight we have graduation. In two days I am leaving for Greece. In the future I wish to finish High School, and university. Perhaps my future occupation will deal with business and real estate. I would also like to pursue a career in science. People in the 1980s fear warfare and conflict in the Middle East. At present, Huntsville has a population of about 11,000.”
~Signed Mike Peters (who now works in business and real estate)

“Today is the last day of grade seven/eight and we have to dress up like jerks. I mean in mismatched clothes. I am wearing a multi-coloured shirt that goes to my knees with a yellow belt and a whole lot of other dumb things.”
~Signed Susanne Allen (who is now a teacher at HHS)

What fun memories!

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