I was 7 years old when Expo 67 opened in Montreal. To this day, the World Fair known as the International and Universal Exposition. It was a Category One World’s Fair, which means the exhibitors had to build their pavilion on site. Based on a single day attendance, Expo 67 still to this day hold the record for greatest attendance.
My parents visited the post Expo 67 Man and His World. Due to the very strong interest in keeping some of the pavilions open, the city of Montreal opted to offer Man and His World, made up of various pavilions that participating countries gifted to Canada. After finding a photograph of my parents all dressed up to visit the fair, my curiosity peaked. I wanted to know more about Expo 67, and with a few keyboard strokes, I discovered that this year. Montreal is presenting a new exhibition remembering the technological innovations featured at the pavilions.
I decided to visit the exhibition located at the Stewart Museum on the island of Ste-Hélène across from the harbor front of Montreal. The Stewart Museum is located in the Arsenal of the British military depot built by the British between 182o and 1824. Permanent exhibits of the history of Quebec and the migration of soldiers from France along with historical battle memorabilia make up part of the museum’s displays.
As far as Expo 67, one must understand that there is very little left on the premises of the Jean Drapeau Park. The one large pavilion that is still an iconic image of Expo 67 is the round sphere, now used as the surrounding structure of the Biosphère Environment Museum. As part of the exhibit for this 50th-anniversary celebration, the museum offered glimpses into the world of Expo 67.
There were many souvenirs and memorabilia to see, including some of the posters and passports. The first short film features the many travel options at the fair, including a monorail, multiple tramways and short haul buses and vehicles. An overview of the more than 60 pavilions gives spectators a good idea of the cultural diversity. I rather enjoyed looking at the fashion of both men and women! A second short movie is focused on the Canadian pavilion and its content. As well, a virtual reality experience allowing everyone to explore the iconic film In the Labyrinth in the eponymous pavilion.
For those who had the chance to visit Expo 67, the walk down memory lane would be a nice one. I spoke to two brothers who were 12 and 14 when they visited the Fair and listening to their stories as they watched the films was quite interesting.
I did walk away feeling I knew a bit more about that amazing World Fair. The Expo 67 exhibit is opened until October 8th. For more information on the exhibit or the Museum visit the Stewart Museum site. If you decide to go and discover this museum, please allow for extra time as the city of Montreal is undergoing extensive roadwork, and circulation can be challenging. I would advise you to consider taking the subway or Metro which brings you directly to the Station Jean Drapeau, a short 15-minute walk to the museum.
Did you have the opportunity to visit Expo 67 or did you hear of your family members’ experiences? What, if anything, do you remember of Expo 67?