Time capsule reveals six newspapers

Included were 1898 Chronicle and Telegraph

Tucked away inside a sealed lead box within the Samuel de Champlain monument were several intriguing nuggets of history, worthy of further inspection.

The time capsule was dug out from the stone base of the monument that commands attention from Dufferin Terrace. The city is restoring the statue of its founder in time to celebrate four centuries of history.

Originally, the monument was a gift from the Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste to the people of Quebec City. Champlain's monument, inaugurated on September 21, 1898, is now belongs to the city.

Among the artifacts that the Société thought to include for posterity were copies of the city's six newspapers.
Folded into the small box were a copy each of the September 20, 1898, editions of the city's dailies, the Quebec Morning Chronicle and The Daily Telegraph, Le Soleil, l'Événement, Le Courier du Canada and the latest edition of The Saturday Budget.

Photo right: The lead time capsule hidden in the stone base of the Samuel de Champlain monument. The box was opened by experts at the Centre de conservation du Québec. If you look closely, you'll see initials left by an employee of the company that manufactured the box.



The box also contained coins and paper money from the period, a crucifix, a directory of students at Université Laval, a biography of Champlain and a Quebec City-Lévis directory, complete with a map of the city.



The paper elements contained in the box.Pages from a copy of Le Soleil from September 20, 1898, have been spread out in the middle of the table.

While the contents itself was not surprising, the excellent condition of the documents impressed experts at the Centre de conservation du Québec who are working with the newfound treasures.


Paper conservateur Susanne Holm and metal conservateur Jérôme Morissette took time to show off the items, unveiled on Monday.


The Morning Chronicle September 20, 1898

The Daily Telegraph September 20, 1898
Above: A Quebec City and Lévis directory, complete with illustrations of some of the buildings.
Above that is a map of the City of Quebec that was folded into the front of the directory.

Coins were also found in the box. 

Quebec City's head archeologist, William Moss explained the relevance of the find. Normally during a dig, the experts have to piece together the significance of the found objects. In this case, Moss explained, "There were two statements made. One was intentional [the contents of the box] and the other was about the importance of newspapers at the time. It was a way of getting information around; there was no radio, no television and no Internet then," added Moss. "In fact, there were six newspapers. That was the medium of exchange."



A crucific was also found.

Moss said that a new time capsule, likely made of stainless steel, is planned for the restored monument. Among the items to be placed inside will be an article from an elementary student and one from a high school student, chosen from submissions to a contest to be held in the La Cité borough. That means students from Holland Elementary School, Quebec High School and St. Patrick's High School are eligible to participate.