A time capsule that was rumoured for years to have been hidden inside the cornerstone of a Cape Breton school has finally been found and opened.

The time capsule dates back to 1949 and was found earlier this year while Thompson High School in North Sydney was being demolished.

Alex Gilchrist, who was the school’s principal from 1959 to 1974, says he had heard rumours of a time capsule buried within the walls of Thompson High, but he wasn’t certain if they were true.

“I can remember them talking about this time capsule that had been placed in the cornerstone, so when the word came out that the school was going to be demolished, we decided to mention it to the Historical Society here,” says Gilchrist.

Members of the Thompson family, for whom the school was named, asked for the cornerstone when the school was torn down earlier this year. They then turned it over to the North Sydney Historical Society.

“They had already removed it from the school and there was no sign of anything, and then somebody said, well, maybe it’s in the stone,” recalls Chuck Thompson. “I was a skeptic. I didn’t think it existed.”

Sure enough, the rumours proved to be true, and the time capsule was found hidden inside the cornerstone.

A large crowd gathered Thursday to watch as Gilchrist opened the capsule, revealing decades-old dollar bills, old coins, letters of congratulations to Thompson High School’s graduating class of 1949, and a copy of The Post Record dated July 19, 1949.

“It brought back wonderful memories and memories that the kids today will never have,” says Yvonne Ferguson, who graduated from the school in 1961. “That was an awesome school.”

Many noted that the capsule’s contents were in excellent condition, considering they had been tucked away for almost 70 years.

“Usually they’re not in very good shape. Moisture’s gotten into them and the paper contents have all gone to mush, I guess you’d call it, but this one was very well done,” says Gilchrist. “There’s a lot of history in that time capsule. There’s no two ways about it.”

With files from CTV Atlantic's Ryan MacDonald