1966 time capsule built by AUPE’s predecessor opened during SAIT centennial

When the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology in Calgary held its centennial celebration last October, it literally dug up the earth to find some of its figurative roots.

The festivities, held in mid-October, included a giant cake, fireworks and – most compelling – the opening of a time capsule planted on SAIT grounds 50 years ago by members of the Civil Service Association of Alberta, the precursor to the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees.

“What an exciting day it was to see this time capsule that was built by our sisters and brothers a half century ago unveiled right before our eyes,” said AUPE Vice-President Karen Weiers, who attended the ceremony.

“The members who built this were the same ones who helped make SAIT the celebrated institution it is today.”

Among the items retrieved from the time capsule were a phone book from 1966 with SAIT on the cover, a recording from SAIT’s president at the time and various letters and newspaper clippings of the era, all immaculately preserved.

But the most intriguing part of the time capsule’s history wasn’t in the box, but rather, in the audience.

Retired CSAA member Merv Parker. Parker helped build the time capsule and was on hand to watch its unsealing.

Merv Parker, who watched the unveiling, was Chapter Chair of his CSAA Branch. He was in the metals department and was one of the members who designed and built the box that would be put in the ground and dug up 50 years later.

“The time capsule idea came to us in the metals department. They needed a box so we designed and built the box. We put it all together then we sealed it, and here it is. It’s really something.”

Parker said his time with the CSAA was rewarding.

“I had a great job, with a lot of great people. I got to attend CSAA conventions and learn about all the things my union did for me.”

Both Vice-President Weiers and SAIT Local 039 Chair Rose Read thanked Parker for his service as a teacher and member.