Story and Photos by Sara Sadeghi Aval

Today, the contents of a time capsule recovered from the site of the Finnish Labour Temple were revealed. The time capsule was buried with the foundation of the building in 1909. Members of the city, patrons, as well as members of the Thunder Bay Finnish Canadian Historical Society gathered inside the Finnish Book Store to unlock the capsule and announce two new fundraising efforts to rebuild the temple’s famous turret and cupola. Original bricks from the building are available for purchase, complete with one-of-a-kind imprints of the historical landmark, along with a coffee table book produced by the bookstore owners Richard and Marlene which will be available later this year.

Archivist Sara Janes with some of the artifacts in the time capsule

Mayor Bill Mauro shared a heartfelt speech about the “most iconic building” in Thunder Bay and the identify it held for the community. Dennis Gauthier was able to restore the iconic “Toledo Scale” that so many of us have stood on after breakfast at The Hoito. Land developer Brad McKinnon stated was proud to announce that he has secured initial funding and permits for the rebuild.

The Työkansa newspaper office was located in the lower level of the Finnish Labour Temple. The photo above shows J. Kannasto, publishing editor, standing in front of the office window with his arm crossed. Photo from Lakehead University’s Archives & Digital Collections, circa 1907

The time capsule was opened by Sara Janes, archivist, Jorma Halonen, historian from the Finnish Canadian Historical Society, local author and historian Eleanor Barr, and Kathy Toivonen. Halonen slid open the metal box and Janes carefully unfolded the newspaper copies within, one of which is printed on silk, along with a speech by Moses Hall—one of the founding members of the Labour Temple. The small crowd applauded the discovery and shared in the hope for a new future of the Finnish Labour Temple and The Hoito.

The Finnish Labour Temple was designated as a national historic site, details are available at