Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

A 50-year-old time capsule will be opened in Vancouver this week

Students can write a letter to themselves to be put into the next time capsule.

A 50-year-old time capsule will be dug up on the UBC Vancouver campus and its contents are a complete mystery. 

Friday (Oct. 28) will mark the 100th anniversary of the Great Trek, one of the greatest examples of student activism at UBC. The massive student protest took place on Oct. 28 in 1922.

UBC Great Trek time capsule: What's inside?

On the 50th anniversary of the Great Trek, a time capsule was buried on campus on Oct. 19 in 1972.

Now, a half-century later, the time capsule will be opened and replaced with a new capsule, which will be opened in another 50 years, to mark the 100th anniversary of the Great Trek. 

It will also help "get a sense of what was happening on campus [and] what was important enough to students to put in the time capsule," says a media spokesperson from UBC's AMS Student Society. 

The original 1972 time capsule was seemingly buried in a cement-filled hole and had to be pre-dug for the event. "I promise you we haven't peeked into it," they assure.

The new capsule is made of fiberglass, has a plastic lid, and is 28 inches tall and 14 inches in diameter, making it bigger than the preceding capsule.

AMS Student Society invites UBC students to write letters to themselves via an online form or by dropping off hand-written letters in a mailbox outside of the AMS office. "If we have too many letters we will bury a second capsule beside this one," says the spokesperson. 

Students can also suggest several items that will go into the new capsule and can vote for the top three of five items selected. 

100th anniversary of the Great Trek

On Oct. 28 1922 around 98 per cent of the UBC student body (just under 1,200 people at the time) marched from their temporary campus at Fairview Slopes to the chemistry building at UBC to pressure the government to resume construction of the Point Grey campus.

The efforts were interrupted by the First World War and, after, when Fairview student residencies became overcrowded, students gathered around 56,000 signatures for a petition with which they marched again (in what is now called the Great Trek) to the chemistry building at UBC. In the end, it worked and the government agreed to fund the completion of the campus.

A century later, AMS Student Society invites students along with Musqueam representatives, the former Prime Minister of Canada, Kim Campbell, presidents of undergrad societies, and politicians, to reopen the capsule and commemorate the historical event. 

Five students will be drawn to open the time capsule and see what's inside. 

The anniversary and time capsule event will take place at the Great Trek Cairn outside of the chemistry building at UBC at 1 p.m. on Oct. 28.