As we were writing a story last week about the delayed opening of a 20-year time capsule at Harry Camsell School, we couldn’t help but think that if any year deserves a time capsule it is 2020.

We believe people of the future – say maybe 25 or 50 years from now – would be interested in seeing relics from our time of Covid-19.

As everyone knows, Covid-19 has had an immense impact on life in Hay River this year.

It is really unnecessary to list those impacts, because they are obvious, from restricted travel to cancelled events.

But there are other things that have made 2020 unique.

For example, the high water levels in the Hay River and Great Slave Lake are something that long-time residents have never seen before.


And there were no significant forest fires in the Hay River area this past summer, not even smoke from forest fires further afield.

With the strange year that it has been, we were impressed that society continued on as normally as possible in the face of challenges. It’s like seeing an old movie or hearing about sports from the 1940s, and realizing that entertainment and sports continued during the Second World War.

No matter what, life goes on.

So a time capsule from 2020 would feature a unique combination of routine life and the souvenirs of a pandemic.

What would we put in a time capsule to illustrate 2020 in Hay River, you might ask.

Well, we would start with a facemask, add a bottle of hand sanitizer and throw in one of those omnipresent floor markers which tell people where to stand to ensure physical distancing to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Then we would include a video of an online meeting of town council to show how the business of the community was conducted on Zoom.

After that, we would throw in a bottle of off-colour water to illustrate the effects of turbidity (otherwise known as muddiness) in the town’s drinking supply from Great Slave Lake.

Of course, we would also include issues of The Hub, which has been documenting the effects of Covid-19 on the community.

There’s much more that we could suggest, and we’re sure everyone else would have their own ideas.

No doubt the people of the future will read about the year 2020 in history books and there will be artefacts to see in the Hay River Heritage Centre, but a time capsule is a more personal message from people to people.

And people love time capsules.

That was amply illustrated by the fact that some former students were going to travel back to Hay River just to see the opening of the time capsule at Harry Camsell School.

There was disappointment that the capsule wasn’t opened on time due to restrictions because of the pandemic, and that the event had to be postponed to Oct. 12, 2021.

We believe there would be the same interest further into the future for a Covid-19-themed time capsule from 2020.

All that is needed now is for someone to create it.

Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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  1. Paul-I applaud your interest in and obvious enjoyment of our Hay River town!! The time capsule is a great idea! Would you be willing to “make it happen”? You have a reasonable & informed attitude-which is needed in these ridiculous times! Please consider! – I’d be happy to “nominate” you, if that’s how to start!