Time capsule to commemorate historic Kamloops councillor, mark this moment in history

By James Peters
October 13, 2017 - 11:19am Updated: October 13, 2017 - 6:11pm

KAMLOOPS — Kamloops residents are invited to add a message or memento to the future before the sealing of a time capsule this weekend.

The capsule will be included in the back of a newly-restored historic sign that will be reaffixed to the Freemont block, a long-standing brick commercial building in the 200-block of Victoria Street.

Artist Vaughn Warren was commissioned by the building's owner, Reeve Harrison, to restore the sign, and says though it is more than 100 years old, he was disappointed to see the lack of historical information included on the sign itself.

"When I was taking the sign down, I was very, very excited to see the back of the sign, because I wondered if (the maker) had signed it themselves or what year it had been done - any sort of historical information," said Warren. "Unfortunately, there wasn't anything there. So that led me to say, 'I think I'm gonna change the channel on that.'"

That led Warren to the capsule idea, and he says he has already received plenty of material to include.

"When I went to the Kamloops Museum and Archives, for example, they included a Canada 150 calendar which has all these great photos from Kamloops," said Warren. "I've had people put in messages from their kids to the future, hopeful messages, I've had people put in pictures of their grandmother who knew some of the people involved with the Freemont block, all sorts of tidbits of history. We've had people put stickers or decals of their club in there. There are clippings from newspapers. There are a couple of sealed envelopes, which I really don't know what is in."

The Freemont block is named for John Freemont Smith, an early 20th Century Indian Affairs officer based in Kamloops, and one of the first black city councillors in North America.

"The Kamloops Museum and Archives was good enough to give us a nice thick sheaf of information on John Freemont Smith, who obviously was a very historic figure in Kamloops," said Warren.

"John Freemont Smith was probably the only Indian Affairs agent who was spoken of highly by local First Nations. He's well-documented as being an honest broker."

Members of the public are invited to make their own contributions to the time capsule Saturday, October 14 from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the Kamloops Makerspace, 207 West Victoria Street in the former Men's Christian Hostel building.

Incidentally, that building once housed the Indian Affairs office where Smith worked.

The sign will be re-hung on the Freemont block, near The Art We Are, at 7:00 a.m. on Sunday, October 15.

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