Saturday, August 20, 2016

Expo 67, Montreal, Canada, North America, Planet Urf

Today I have four photos from "Expo 67" for you! This was the first official World's Fair since the "Century 21" Expo in Seattle in 1962 (the 1964 New York World's Fair was not sanctioned by the "Bureau International des Expositions", making it "unofficial" - though still very awesome).

Originally intended to be held in the Soviet Union to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Russian Revolution (!), it eventually wound up in Montreal to commemorate Canada's centennial. 

This first image appears to be a photo of the entry gates into the Fair. There's lots of overcoats, evidence of a chilly day.

The Fair site was enormous, covering large areas along the east shore of the St. Lawrence River, as well as two sizable islands (Saint Helen's Island and Notre Dame Island). Expo 67 was the most  popular World's Fair of the 20th Century, with one day's attendance exceeding 500,000 people! FYI, Shanghai hosted "Expo 2010", and in 6 months over 75 million people attended.

Along the shore of the river we can just see an elbow of the Italy pavilion jutting in to our left; next is the Czechosolvakia pavilion (the building with the black borders and the one with the vertical stripes next to it). The bright yellow building just visible is part of Venezuela's pavilion, and in the distance is the massive USSR pavilion. Notice the monorail, called the "Minirail".

This next view shows the ornate Thailand pavilion to our right; the curving red spire just to its left is part of the Ethiopia pavilion. The hexagonal building in the distance held the "Man the Explorer" exhibits, while the angular buildings to our extreme left are part of what was known as "Africa Place" (with more Venezuela just behind it).

In this last view, we have the "Man the Producer" pavilion (which resembled the "Man the Explorer" building with its angled hexagons). The series of vertical red pylons is part of the "Economic Progress" pavilion, with the United States' geodesic dome in the distance. To our right is the "European Communities" pavilion.

I have at least 50 slides from Expo 67 (after selling off a bunch) so if you are interested in seeing more, let me know!


D Ticket said...

I vote that you save the 50 slides for next year's 50th anniversary of Expo 67, in April.
Nice pictures though, I'd like to see more.

Nanook said...


These images do look very 'worlds fair-ish'. And I vote along with D Ticket, to post many of the remaining slides for the 50th anniversary.

Thanks, Major.

Chuck said...

I'm with the rest of the crew - would love to see them whenever you get around to posting them, although the 50th anniversary seems like a logical time.

Really struck here by just how open the fairgrounds were, but with 900 acres of flat, open land, you don't have to compress everything, and with much of the land being recent fill, you aren't going to have a lot of trees getting in the way of sightlines. The only World's Fair I've ever attended was the one in Knoxville in '82, which was jammed into a 70-acre site in a hilly downtown area that had formerly been an L&N railroad yard. They did a good job with what they had, but it definitely felt more like a Randall Duell amusement park rather than World Showcase.

Anonymous said...

I have been to the former site of the Expo as my husband is from Montreal. They have a couple of nice displays about the Expo, ranging from overall design to clothing, the exhibits and the good time had by all. At least one of the Islands were man made. We took a day trip and I photographed all the remanants I could find. I even have a couple pieces of memorabilia. One piece, a blue on one/red on the other side medallion I actually found in this house when we moved in.

Unknown said...

Cool beans, Major! Of course we want more: We are the slavering masses of simians always hungering for each morning's dose of adventure and reminiscence!

I really enjoy the tangents of research your posts and the comments that follow send me off on. I didn't know who Randall Duell was, but I do now. Interestingly, his Wiki entry lists him as having worked on something or other at Disneyland.

And, for what it's worth, Expo '67 did have 50 million visitors in six months, so no slouch in that aspect either.

Melissa said...

The lady in the lovely white head scarf in the first picture can't wait until the Babushka Pavilion opens.

I want that beautiful teal coat in the foreground of the last picture. But the cardigan-wearing lady shading her eyes as she looks no doubt me disapproves of my coveting. The building directly behind her reminds me of the old Horizons Pavilion from EPCOT.

More Expo '67, please, whenever you see fit!

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, I would also love to see more from Expo '67, whenever and whatever works out best for you! I'm curious....did you scan the slides that you sold?

Nanook said...


Actually, the Major is just too modest to tell the truth, but it needs to be told...

As it turns out, before he sold the slides, he created 'attraction poster-sized', highly-detailed oil paintings of each image. He then had each one professionally-photographed in a 4 x 5 format that was subsequently scanned. Those scans are the images he will be sharing in future posts.

What - you mean to tell me you haven't received your invitation to the black tie reception for the opening of his One Man Show-??!! (Oh my). Perhaps I've spoken out of turn.

TokyoMagic! said...

I feel so unloved. :-(

Major Pepperidge said...

D Ticket, I suppose that makes sense, but I will go to jail if I celebrate an event that happened in Canada. I’m pretty sure!

Nanook, I’ll have to pick and choose - like any event, people tended to take pictures of the same stuff, over and over.

Chuck, imagine how exhausted a visitor could get, trying to navigate 900 acres of attractions. My feet hurt just thinking about it. It’s weird to think that the U.S. has not sponsored a Fair since the ’84 New Orleans version.

Anonymous, I used to love finding stuff in houses that we were moving into! Never found any World’s Fair items, however. It’s nice that Montreal has not removed all traces of the Expo - I was pretty sure that some of the structures were still being used as museums and such.

Patrick Devlin, you’ll see lots of mentions of Randall Duell on K. Martinez’s vintage postcard entries. While not a household name, he was clearly a very important person in the history of amusement park design. 50 million visitors, pfffft! It’s amazing to think that the 64 NYWF only had about 50 milliion visitors in TWO six month sessions. Why didn’t more people go? Was it due to some national depression after JFK’s assassination?

Melissa, so many people have wonderful memories of the Babushka Pavilion. The color! The music! The faint smell of hair spray! Why, it was an extravaganza the likes of which we shall never see again.

TokyoMagic!, some of those slides were posted on the blog, but no, I did not scan them all. I was just in one of those moods to get rid of stuff!

Nanook, if only I was so motivated and industrious. Now I’m wondering if there would be a market for a nice painting (or lots of them!) of a well-loved event like the ’67 Expo. How about a nice oil rendering of the 1964 Futurama building at night? Maybe this is my ticket to millions of dollars!

TokyoMagic!, don’t feel bad, I only invited my Amish friends. We sang hymns and drank buttermilk.

Nancy said...

I love a World's Fair....just ask anyone!! These are great views, and I also cant wait to see more.

One of my favorite aspects is the mixing of the modern "futureworld" type buildings and the traditional buildings created by each different country. Im sure its why EPCOT Center is my favorite Disney park!

I like the first view, anticipating entre into the Fair and getting to see what's inside the gate!!

Looking forward to more. Thanks, Major! :-D

Chuck said...

TM!, best buttermilk I ever tasted...

TokyoMagic! said...

I like hymns and buttermilk! :-(

Melissa said...

Singing hymns and drinking buttermilk at the same time is the first trick every Amish ventriloquist has to master.

Melissa said...
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Melissa said...
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Melissa said...

Praise cows from whom our milk doth flow,
Praise them, all creatures, hear them low,
Praise them with love, all bovine ilk,
Praise butter, cream, and buttermilk.