Artifacts found during dig tell stories of Saint John’s past

A variety of items have been uncovered during our home office site excavation.

The plot of land that will one day house our home office building is now being carefully excavated – and more than just dirt and rock has been uncovered in the process.

Nineteenth-century glass bottles, a perfectly intact soda can from the 1970s and seven underground gas tanks have all been discovered so far during the dig. The storage tanks were safely removed in June.

A Torpedo bottle believed to be from the 1880s.

One of the items found by our project team is known as a Torpedo bottle – a round-bottomed bottle that was produced in the 1880s and 1890s by Irish soda company Cantrell and Cochrane.

The engravings on the side of the bottle read “Cantrell and Cochrane, Belfast & Dublin, Medicated Aerated Waters.” Ginger ale is said to be a popular type of soda once carried in Torpedo Bottles, along with soda water and mineral water.

A medicinal bottle believed to be from the 1800s.

The second bottle is perhaps even older. This smaller, medicinal bottle reads, “R.D. McArthur, Medical Hall, OPP King SQR, St John, NB.” We found a reference to McArthur in the Saint John and Fredericton Business Directory of 1862, and it appears he was a druggist with an office on King’s Square.

Finding such items beneath the soil is fairly typical in a project like ours – and we’re not finished digging yet.

The hole itself will be 20- to 30-feet deep when fully excavated, with Phase 1 scheduled to run until mid-July and Phase 2 – involving rock breaking – to follow.

Our project team estimates that by the end of Phase 2, 22,500 cubic metres of rock and granular material will have been removed from the site.

The excavation work is the largest job of its kind currently taking place in uptown Saint John, and is the main focus of our home office project team on site. If you have any questions about our project, or any information to share about the items we’ve uncovered, please email us at

Our home office project site.

Our home office project site.