On March 18, 2014, a 6x6x12 inch steel cylinder will be placed in the historic cornerstone of the Elgin County Courthouse. Inside the time capsule will be mementos from the City of St. Thomas, Elgin County and the local justice community. The key to the time capsule will lie next to it, to be used to open the capsule 88 years from now, in 2102.

In 1852, during construction of the original courthouse, another time capsule was buried in the same location.

During early construction work at the new Elgin County Courthouse, community members informed Infrastructure Ontario and the Ministry of the Attorney General that a time capsule might be located behind the cornerstone in the basement of the original courthouse.

In June 2012, representatives from the province, the construction team and members from the community with an interest in local history, were on site for the removal of the contents of the cornerstone along with a professional conservator, to ensure that any materials found were handled and stored correctly.

But the group found only a glass apothecary jar and separate lid. There was some minor tinting and some residue within the jar, but no historical objects were found. 

As part of celebrations to mark the completion of the restoration and expansion of the courthouse, this new time capsule is being inserted into the historic cornerstone on March 18, 2014. Here is a list of the contents of the capsule and the contributors.

City of St. Thomas


A metal disk that comes apart, like a puzzle, with each piece representing an aspect of the city.

Local Justice Community


Metal lapel pins from:

  • Legal Aid Ontario
  • Ontario Crown Attorneys' Association
  • Province of Ontario
  • OPP
  • Aylmer Police
  • St. Thomas Police Service.

An engraved pen from the Victim/Witness Assistance Program.

Crests of the Superior Court of Justice and the Ontario Court of Justice.

County of Elgin


A scroll in permanent ink and on archival paper documenting County Council's long history with the courthouse, beginning with the first tender in 1852. The scroll will include the County's logo and traditional crest, along with a list of the current members of Elgin County Council and members of the time capsule committee.

One copy of Courthouses of a Century. The book, originally published in 1901, provides details on the construction of the original courthouse.

EllisDon Corporation


The time capsule itself. The exterior of the capsule will be engraved to document the contribution by EllisDon, the construction company building the courthouse.

Finally, the time capsule committee agreed that a 2013 penny should be included since the coin was discontinued in that year.

All items and their significance will be documented in a memory book, a copy of which will be kept in an exhibit case at the courthouse. A second copy will be kept at the Elgin County Archives and a digital version will be posted on the County's website.

Members agreed that the capsule should be opened in the year 2102, 250 years from the creation of the first time capsule in 1852.

Artifact display cases in the new courthouse will include information prepared by the Elgin County Museum about the original Masonic ceremony and a recreation of the items known to have been placed in the original time capsule in 1852.

The Time Capsule Committee

  • Brian Masschaele (Chair), Director of Community and Cultural Services, County of Elgin
  • Wendell Graves, Chief Administrative Officer, City of St. Thomas
  • Mike Baker, Curator, Elgin County Museum
  • Carol Bradley, Business Support Analyst, Ministry of the Attorney General, St. Thomas
  • Melissa Kirby, Administrative Assistant, Ministry of the Attorney General, St. Thomas
  • Frank Dieterman, Manager, Heritage Projects, Infrastructure Ontario
  • Mike Lang, Senior Project Manager, EIIisDon Corporation
  • Steve Peters, citizen appointee, former mayor of St. Thomas and MPP