Slices of Montreal immortalized as part of new Champlain Bridge
Among massive metal structures and containers full of debris, city workers carried a special package to the new Champlain Bridge on Wednesday.
A time capsule was sealed into one of the support pillars holding up the structure which links Montreal to the South Shore.
Every item inside the 3D-printed box was carefully selected to gives a glimpse into life in Montreal in 2019 “from history and culture to science and technology,” according to Infrastructure Canada.
Whomever recovers the box — in 100 years or so — should find items like a Montreal Pride flag, editorial cartoons by Aislin (Terry Mosher) and Serge Chapleau, a baton signed by Maestro Kent Nagano, a signed hockey puck from the Montreal Canadiens and a BIXI key. It also includes letters penned by Nuns’ Island schoolchildren and Infrastructure Minister François-Philippe Champagne.
The Three Sisters of the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake also gave three types of seeds — beans, squash and corn — to be put into the capsule.
Guy Mailhot, the Champlain Bridge’s chief engineer, also inserted his engineering iron ring into the box, to pay tribute to all the engineers who have worked on the structure.
He said the capsule was strategically placed to ensure it would not get damaged or vandalized over time.
“We wanted to make sure it was well kept,” Mailhot said.
The capsule was covered with Styrofoam to protect it against thermal variation and placed inside a larger wooden box. As the final step, workers then poured cement over the capsule.
The 3D-printed capsule — designed and created by Dr. Jérôme Claverie and his team from Université de Sherbrooke — is made of both organic and inorganic plastic materials. It is completely sealed.
“The negatives of plastic is that it lasts a really long time,” Mailhot said, adding that it is why they opted for the often-criticized and non-biodegradable materials.
They did as much as they could to ensure the items inside the box would remain intact for as long as possible, he added.
“All paper used is acid free,” he said, which is meant to preserve it longer.
This isn’t the first time a Montreal-area bridge has been bestowed with such a gift. A cornerstone containing a time capsule has also been laid into one of the piers close to the Jacques-Cartier Bridge, in 1926.
Infrastructure Canada hopes that when the box is uncovered, it will spark a discussion about how life has evolved in Montreal and the rest of Canada.
Mailhot said the new bridge is set to open at the end of June.