Expo 67: 40th Anniversary Celebrations Edition (part 4)

September 19

York University plans year-long show on Expo 67

"A committee of Glendon professors and staff members is working to put together a year-long "show" that will display souvenirs and highlight memories and cultural icons relating to Expo '67 and York's Glendon College of that year," writes Ylife, their on-line summer (June edition) newsletter for students.

"We are hoping to collect artifacts from members of staff, current and retired colleagues, as well as alumni," said Professor Rafael Gomez of Glendon's Economics Department.

The Expo 67 tribute will integrate with the history of Glendon college which is celebrating its own 40th anniversary as a campus. York university is located in Toronto and is the third largest university in Canada.

For the full report, please click: 1967 was a very good year


September 16

The Shape of Expo '67

The following article was published on January 1, 1967 by the now defunct "Design" journal. The images presented below are done in their page sequence starting with the top row from left to right. Click on the thumbnail for a larger scan to read their excellent report.


September 13

The National Museum of Australia launches a new display and an   on-line tribute to mark the 40th anniversary of Australia at Expo 67 Montréal

Photo credit: © the National Archives of Canada

On this date, the National Museum of Australia presents a new display in their Hall to mark the 40th Anniversary of Australia at Expo 67. The tribute runs from September 13th to October 31st.  Admission is free.

The National Museum of Australia has also launched an excellent on-line tribute which includes a slideshow of images and plenty of information about what the Australian pavilion designer hoped would be a 'haven of tranquillity.' 

Their website contents include: The Sounds of Australia; Hostesses and attendants; Uniforms on parade; A romance to remember; Pop goes Australia; Trivia from the haven of tranquillity; Australia at Expo 67 Montréal slideshow.

To view the National Museum of Australia website, click here



September 10

Exclusive indoor/outdoor photographs of the former U.S.S.R. pavilion now located in Russia

Rick Rake of the Abbotsford News in British Columbia discovered on the web this excellent collection of 27 photographs of  the former U.S.S.R. pavilion. The building, now located in Russia, has become an exhibition facility of the Moscow Centre for Scientific and Technical Advances Implementation (Moskva), a state-owned enterprise.

To view the excellent compendium of photos, click here.

Special thanks to Rick Rake for alerting us of the photo collection.




September 7

Indians of Canada pavilion totem-pole restored to former glory

To commemorate the 40th Anniversary of Expo 67, the city of Montréal yesterday held a dedication ceremony regarding the Indians of Canada pavilion totem-pole located on Île Notre Dâme. The totem-pole went under restoration during the summer with a cost to the city of $165,000.

"An engineering firm bored out the centre of the base of the pole, which was carved from a single, 21-meter-long cedar trunk," writes  Rene Bruemmer of the Montréal Gazette. "[S]teel and concrete were inserted into the base to a height of four metres to reinforce it." The outer surface comprised of stripping, repainting and oiling the totem-pole. The original chief carver for the totem pole was Henry Hunt. His grandson, Stan Hunt and three other colleagues worked on the restoration during a two-week period.

Key people in attendance for the dedication were: Andrew Tanahokate Delisle, former chief of the Kahnawake Mohawks and commissioner general of the Indians of Canada pavilion at Expo 67 and Kevin Cranmer of Kwagiulth Nation who presented Andrew with a special painting.

For the full report, please read: "Chief sees ceremony as totem-pole tokenism" by Rene Bruemmer of the Montréal Gazette.


September 5

An old Expo 67 sculpture by Québec artist Jean Cartier falls into decay

Hi John,

Today I was out near the old Expo Theatre (now Mel's Theatre - a rental movie sound stage) in search of a particular Québec artist's sculpture that's been there since Expo 67.

All the property there is now privately owned so it is a little difficult getting in to get some pics but today the security guard let me go beyond the fence and I found 'La Giboulée/Sudden Shower - a fountain/sculpture - by Jean Cartier. I will say it is in a sad state as the attached pics will show.

It's been sitting in the same spot for 40 years now and completely forgotten.

Hope you had a great summer!

D.C. Hillier

Editors note:  Ownership of this sculpture, La Giboulée/Sudden Shower, belongs to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation but unfortunately no action has been taken on their part thus far to do restoration work on it and return it to its former glory.

My thanks to D.C. Hillier for providing these excellent photographs. Hillier is a genuine Expo 67 enthusiast who has developed his own personal website about the fair: D.C. Hillier.com Expo 67

John Whelan

Jean Cartier's "La Giboulée/Sudden Shower - a fountain/sculpture" in desperate need of restoration work.

This black and white photograph of Jean Cartier's "La Giboulée/Sudden Shower - a fountain/sculpture" as it looked like in 1967.

Note how the plates are broken, badly need of replacement.

Jean Cartier sculpture photographs courtesy of Graph Studio Montréal. Used with permission.


September 1

As can be expected when a world's fair of this magnitude is built, there are bound to be a few minor gaffs to sort out after the fair opened. Such was one case with respect to the restroom facilities at Expo 67.

Pictographs, designed by Paul Arthur of Toronto, were used to illustrate the differences between the men and ladies restrooms. Arthur's original signage created some problems for Expo patrons and so a re-design of the pictographs took place.

In 1967, Timothy Plumptre of the Globe and Mail wrote with  sensitivity and care about the problem in his report...

At Expo, a low neck can avert blushes

Globe and Mail Reporter
May 30, 1967

MONTRÉAL -- Expo is having trouble with its sign language. Expo designers, in trying to direct visitors safely and efficiently from one point to another, have presumed a picture is worth a thousand words.

So, rather than emblazon toilet doors, for example, with the words Men, Hommes, Cabballeros and Herren, they have resorted to pictographs simply showing a standing male figure.

Likewise on the women's washrooms they placed a similar pictograph whose femininity could be detected by a slight pinching at the waist and a skirt.

These pictographs, and many others in use on the fair site to indicate everything from cloakrooms to marinas, were designed by Toronto's Paul Arthur, a graphic design consultant of considerable repute.

Trouble soon arose over the washroom symbols. Expo officials kept encountering that worried women who trotted nervously up to a rest room door, examined the pictograph with some puzzlement, reached for a handle, then retreated in blushing confusion as men appeared from inside.


Mr. Arthur conceded that the male-female pictographs didn't seem to quite register at Expo although they had been tested without adverse results in Ottawa. He said the woman might have been a bit more pinched at the waist -- the old design certainly had a rather matronly cast.

However, he deplores the replacement, a woman in a low-necked dress with an array of buttons up the front, and a man in an Ivy League outfit complete with shirt and tie.

"The man and woman now used are distressingly vulgar," he said. "It's the difference between symbol and Mickey Mouse."

The idea of using pictures or symbols to inform and direct has been used for years in multilingual Europe, but it is relatively uncommon in North America.

A survey in Expo's press room showed some designs puzzled journalist covering the fair. One pictograph has a suitcase on it surmounted with a large question mark. One reporter felt this meant you either could, or possibly could not, pick up luggage. (The sign indicates lost and found.) Another reporter nurses a sore arm from straight-arming a door. He thought the sign -- the palm of a hand -- meant push. It meant do not enter.

Another sign shows a hand pointing down at a board with a red line across the hand. Don't go down, someone guessed. Don't touch, it really meant.

However, once the key to the signs has been learned, (and the key is published on maps and in the official guidebook of Expo) the symbols become easy to read and readily identifiable to any nationality.

Photo credit: © the National Archives of Canada

A big success among Mr. Arthur's designs have been animals which overlook the large Expo parking lots. Overseeing separate sections are beasts like a horse, a moose, an elephant, a hippopotamus or a bear.

The theory is that it is easier to remember that you parked under a bear than to recall that you parked in area A-1 or C-6. And if you can't remember, chances are your children will.

A Montréal taxi driver beamed his approval on the signs last week. "I always park under the hippo," he told the reporter. "My mother-in-law reminds me of the hippo, and I never can forget her, so I always can remember where I've put my car."

Important links:

Biography: Paul Arthur (1924-2001) by the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada

More pictographs from Expo 67 (in colour) from the Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art


August 28

The following articles first appeared on this date from the Canadian Architect:

The Ambitious Expo written by Joseph Baker: "Having Built Many of the Kiosks at Expo 67, An Architect Reminisces About the Dreams, Ambitions, Risks and Realities Associated With the Efforts to Create a World's Fair That Defined a Moment in Canadian History."  Joseph Baker, FRAIC, practiced and taught architecture in Montreal and later became Director of the Laval University School of Architecture.

Learning From Expo written by Professor Annmarie Adams. "A new generation of architecture students explore the legacy of Montreal's Expo 67, rediscovering its significance in today's world." Annmarie Adams is William C. Macdonald Professor at the School of Architecture, McGill University.

In Habitat by Moshe Safdie. "Having attained heritage status, it is difficult to imagine what the port of Montréal would be like without the landmark Habitat complex. Its architect reminisces about the time in which it was built."

Expo 67 Poster Design from Architectural History 4 ARCH 355 - Winter 2007, Professor Annmarie Adams, McGill University.


August 25

If you missed it on the main index page of this Expo 67 website, in 1967 there was an amazing adventure in mountain climbing which involved various teams from across Canada (along with four American's who participated.) This was another centennial project. Headlined by the Weekend magazine in their report as "Climbing for the Centennial", the Canadian Alpine Journal named theirs as "Centennial Peak."  The climb took place in the Canadian North in the Yukon, not far from the Alaska border that involved 250 climbing enthusiasts. The Weekend magazine described it as "The largest mass assault in the history of mountain climbing."

Climbing For The Centennial

In a unique project to celebrate our 100th birthday, the Alpine Club of Canada set out to climb 14 mountains in the Yukon.

Photo credit: © Helmut Microys, 1967

Sev Heiberg and Roly Reader, who were both Ottawa residents at the time, unfurled the Ontario and Centennial flags on Mt. Ontario summit.

To view the historic climb, please click: "A Photographic Essay about the Climb" with notes from Stan Rosenbaum, who was one of the climbers involved with the event.


August 24

In 1967, there were private and official canoeing expeditions trekking the great distances across Canada to commemorate the centennial year. They were all feats of adventure and human risk. Frances Bula, of the Vancouver Sun wrote an excellent piece focusing in on one group of private canoeist that made the trek...

Canoeists, other adventurers created 'spirit in the land' in '67
Material and spiritual legacies of Canada's centennial are everywhere

by Frances Bula, the Vancouver Sun, June 29, 2007

Thanks to 1967, this province got the Royal B.C. Museum in Victoria, the first four notes of O Canada played every noon at Canada Place in Vancouver, a road renamed Canada Way in Burnaby, the Nanaimo-Vancouver bathtub race, and any number of libraries, parks and swimming pools from Sechelt to Kitimat.

Thousands of schoolchildren (and out-of-school adults) visited the Confederation train and the Confederation caravan in what had to be the longest-running, most geographically dispersed social studies lesson in the history of the nation.

Those are the kinds of legacies that are all around us in B.C. from Canada's Centennial Year.

But there were other projects as well, not as concrete or visible or widely experienced 40 years later, that were part of that 100-year birthday.

Like Geoff Davis and Ken McRae's trip.

In 1967, Davis and McRae were 20 and 22 respectively, young guys from Kimberley who were studying arts at the University of Victoria.

They weren't Canadian flag-wavers in particular, but in the fall of 1966, they started to cook up an idea for something they could do in the summer of '67. They would paddle a canoe from B.C. to Expo 67 in Montreal.

They weren't the only canoe team around or even the only group of Canadians with crazy projects, in a country filled with the 20-somethings of the boomer generation who were hungry for adventure.

"There was a spirit in the land for sure," Davis remembers.

Bowsman, Man., decided to burn down its privvies in honour of 100 years of nationhood, while Frank Ogden of New Westminster launched a helicopter plus centennial caravan project on a 100-day tour of the country, starting at the Louisbourg fortress in Nova Scotia.

There were official teams from each province that made their way across the country.

Photo credit: Frank Grant © the National Archives of Canada

The official Canadian canoeing teams: Voyageur Canoe Pageant on their way to Expo 67. They left Rocky Mountain House in Alberta, on May 24th, and will paddle 3,283 miles in 104 days to reach Montreal on September 4th.

As well, any number of private groups decided to make the trip. One group of Vancouver longshoremen left from Rocky Mountain House in Alberta and made it to Montreal by Aug. 11. A team from New Westminster set off April 1, with an elaborate send-off from the local authorities and colourful touches that would provoke gasps of horror today.


The four men on that canoe team -- 42-year-old Ralph Brine, a shoe store owner; Don McNaughton, 29, a B.C. Tel maintenance supervisor; Dr. David Chisholm, 28, and student Jim Reid, 23 -- were escorted by nine vintage cars, an antique fire engine, dancers and musicians in 19th-century costume, tugs and fire boats, and "eight canoes manned by New Westminster youths dressed as Indians [who] chased the Eastward Ho! canoe away from the government wharf at the foot of 10th Street, firing arrows from crude bows."

They arrived in Montreal July 14 with the help of an outboard motor they said was needed if they were going to make the trip in less than a year.

But Davis and McRae weren't part of any of those larger, more well-publicized or more official teams.

They went on their own, two kids with their maps and sleeping bags and cooking equipment, plunking their cedar-strip canoe into the Peace River on June 4. They'd be one of the last canoe teams to arrive in Montreal, getting there Oct. 6, just three weeks before Expo 67 closed.

They'd received some money for the trip from Cominco, where Davis's father worked back then, and the Times Colonist in Victoria promised to pay them for writing stories on the way. They borrowed the rest of the $2,000 they needed.

They bought a lot of good topographical maps and practised reading them, so they'd be able to figure out where they were. They read histories of Alexander Mackenzie and the fur trade. And they headed out, going backwards on the route Mackenzie travelled before them in 1793.

"The route we took was an old fur-trading route, so there were lots of natural places to stop," remembers Davis, who recently retired after more than three decades as a special-education teacher.

He and McRae got dumped in rapids a couple of times in the 6,118 kilometres between Fort St. John and Ottawa.


One tip was especially scary.

"At the headwaters of the Churchill, we were paddling along and we didn't hear the noise. We went into a chute that ended in standing waves at the bottom."

They lost their cameras and pictures in that dump, but managed to save the canoe by swimming with it to shore, although they didn't dry out for three days because it was raining.

When they got to southern Manitoba, their maps were three years out of date and didn't show a dam had turned a river running through a forest into a lake with dead treetops poking through the water. They had to sleep in the canoe one night because they couldn't make it to shore, tying up to a treetop and not getting much sleep as they tried not to move the whole night.

But mostly they camped on riverbanks, looking for old forts and settlements left behind by the fur traders, walking into the nearest town for groceries and walking back again, so as not to spend too much money.

They arrived in Ottawa Oct. 1, docking their canoe in the Ottawa River just below the Parliament Buildings and walked up the hill to deliver a letter they'd been given by B.C. Lt.-Gov. George Pearkes to deliver to Gov.-Gen. Roland Michener.

He wasn't around, so people in the Parliament Buildings suggested they deliver it instead to someone who was in the building -- Lester Pearson.

"That was a hoot," remembers Davis. "He was all on his own in this room and he told us 'I used to do some canoeing.'"

When they finally got to Montreal, they were presented with free passes to the fair, which they visited several times, and got some write-ups in the local papers. Cominco people arranged a deal with the CPR to have their canoe and equipment sent back to Kimberley by rail, while Davis and McRae spent the winter hanging out in Montreal.

Davis, who now lives in Duncan, said he's inevitably asked about his trip whenever he's in a social gathering with newcomers.
And what he always says is how much the trip made him realize that mostly what it takes to accomplish a marvellous thing is just deciding to do it.

"The whole idea was that it's amazing what people can do. It is like one of those things you read about."

It also imprinted a love of the Canadian landscape.

"It gave me an appreciation of the outdoors. The outdoors is like another home in Canada."

While not everyone got to do something as archetypally Canadian as Davis, what shines through in reading accounts of the times and academic deconstructions of the event was how much people bonded with the idea of the centennial.

"Encouraged by governments to celebrate centennial in their own particular fashion, Canadians expressed their pride in astonishing ways," wrote Helen Davies, in her 1999 PhD thesis at the University of Manitoba on Canada's centennial projects.


"They created centennial hairdos, participated in neighbourhood beautification projects, sewed centennial toques, planned dances, arranged contests, sponsored sports tournaments, hosted youth exchange programs, presented historical pageants and organized parades. Everyone was invited to the celebration and, as if to emphasize the point, the residents of one northern Alberta community constructed a UFO landing pad, just in case."

In spite of the fact politicians of all stripes started emphasizing the need to plan a Canadian centennial as early as 1957, Ottawa was slow to get it off the ground.

The centennial succeeded, concluded Davies, because regular people got excited about it and took it to heart.

That excitement was echoed in B.C., noted Jenea Tallentire-Gilley, a University of B.C. history graduate who looked at this province's centennial projects.

"Every little town had something," says Tallentire-Gilley, now an instructor at the University College of the Fraser Valley. "And everywhere I go, I see these centennial projects."

Photo credit: Jim Ryan © the National Archives of Canada

Other inspired centennial activity that took place: The Great International Bathtub Race held from Nanaimo to West Vancouver - one of the contestants was physician Howie McDairmid a Social Credit who set out on the SS SACRED in a hospital gown, but quickly floundered and didn't finish the race. The date of this event was July 30, 1967.

The official town committees most often built pools or parks or other community facilities that often didn't have much to do with the centennial theme, except for the plaque they all mounted somewhere.

The unofficial projects were more varied. Chemainus built a Centennial Water Wheel, "a replica of a Cornish water wheel which first powered the local mill in 1862, as a symbol of the community's connection to the lumber industry." In Comox, the mountaineering club undertook a nine-day trail-marking and improvement trip on Forbidden Plateau as its centennial contribution.


Most of the projects in B.C. communities had little to do with history, even though they were celebrating the centennial. Only Port Mellon decided to do a written local history, which was actually an extension of their 1958 project for the centennial of B.C.'s creation as a colony.

Of course, they participated in a celebration that was reflective of its times. Committees were requested to get their local Indians involved, perhaps demonstrating their costumes and customs. "Pioneers" -- that is, mostly white people -- of the province got medals, in celebrations that had the flavour of a celebration of colonial settlement and (white) nation-building.

In spite of that, there were native projects and celebrations that took the centennial and adapted it to their own needs and customs, as Tallentire-Gilley's paper uncovers.

In Skidegate on the Queen Charlotte Islands, the Haida built a $135,000 community hall. In Kingcome Inlet, the local natives kicked off their centennial festivities a year early in May 1966, with an event that saw people wearing traditional masks, cedar-bark headdresses and button blankets who then "paddled down river in canoes to the sounds of Indian songs and were met by ceremonially dressed elders."

There was a dugout canoe race and spectators wore "centennial badges" made by local children. The local white pioneer family was invited to attend, a reversal of the order of things in most other B.C. communities.

But then, that was the spirit of the centennial. Everyone was free to celebrate in their own individual way.

They could build a golf course or turn the centennial into a native ceremony. They could create a centennial hairdo or a hiking trail. They could take off with a buddy to go across the country in a helicopter or a canoe.

It was all good. And it was a hoot.

© The Vancouver Sun 2007.


August 21, 2007

On this date, from the Toronto Star: "1967 a watershed year for Canada - Unity, optimism high during Centennial, marking culmination of unprecedented period of change" headlined a fascinating article written by Christopher Hume, Urban Affairs Columnist for the newspaper.

And this one from the Sudbury Star, "Summer of Love", originally published on August 18, recalls how "Canada had such a spirit" as a country during 1967.

Alexander Calder's "Man" sculpture to move once again?

A proposal in March by Montréal Tourism head Charles Lapointe to move the "Man" sculpture created by American Alexander Calder from Île Ste. Hélène to Mount Royal Park at Park-Pine intersection, has caused a debate to flare up over the suggestion. To learn more of the proposal and reaction, please read the Montréal Gazette article entitled: "Debate flares over Man and his home" which was written by Rene Bruemmer.


August 19

CBC Radio's "Cross Country Checkup" with guest host Christopher Thomas examines "1967: What are your memories of Canada's Centennial year? What's changed?"

This audio presentation which is originating from the CBC Radio "Cross Country Checkup" official website, contains interviews with Yves Jasmin, Director of Information, Publicity and Public Relations for Expo 67 and Christopher Chapman, Oscar award winning film producer of "A Place To Stand" which was featured at the Ontario Pavilion. 

Cross Country Checkup also had some interesting comments from other guests and many Canadians from coast-to-coast sharing their memories about Canada's Centennial Year and Expo 67.

Click on the above "On Air" image to hear the program.

Important links: Cross Country Checkup and e-mail from their program listeners.


August 18

French specialty channel Historia honours Expo's anniversary through a series of billboards located in the Montréal area:  "In 67, all was beautiful."

These excellent Expo billboard photographs were taken by Jason Stockl, an Expo 67 enthusiast in Montréal and proprietor of the very popular Expo Lounge website.  Click on each individual billboard for a larger view.


A few months after Expo '67 opened, "Man the Provider" theme buildings were rated very highly by the Canadian Journal of Comparative Medicine and Veterinary Science in their June edition...



Photo credit: © the National Archives of Canada

   Although the gates of Expo '67 have been open less than two months, attendance at this fair has far exceeded expectations. Already it is acknowledged to be a huge success.

   The island setting with the skyline of Montréal as a backdrop, the breathtaking architecture of the many hundreds of buildings, and the immensity of the 1,000 acre site combine to completely awe the visitor. In the theme buildings of the exhibition, "Man and His World", an attempt has been made to introduce every major area of man's endeavour and to portray the progress which has been made by civilization over the centuries.

   The eleven agricultural theme buildings under the name "Man the Provider" will be of particular interest to veterinarians. The challenge faced by those who designed this section has obviously been to present modern agriculture in a way that would be appealing and easily understood by the general public, young and old, in the general context of the expanding world population and ever increasing need for food.

Photo credit: the Jeffrey Stanton collection "Expo 67 - Montreal World's Fair"

   To accomplish this objective a series of 35 exhibits are presented on a site 8 acres in size. These exhibits are designed to be viewed in a definite order; the first and introductory exhibit dramatizes the food problem presented by a world population increasing at the rate of 37,000,000 a year and illustrates the pathetic results when individual food requirements are not met. The fields of agriculture are then divided into major sectors such as soils, marketing, mechanization, poultry and animal breeding, and food production using cheese as the example, to depict how agriculture is using  modern technology to meet the challenge.

   The importance of food production in the world today is emphasized, but the history of agriculture and the advances of the past are also presented, together with forecasts for continued advances in the future.

   No Canadian should miss Expo '67. It is undoubtedly the greatest show of its kind ever held, but veterinarians and others interested in agriculture should make a particular effort to see "Man the Provider."

Vol. 31 -- June, 1967
Can J Comp Med Vet Sci. 1967 June; 31(6): 141.

© Canadian Journal of Comparative Medicine and Veterinary Science, June 1967. Used with permission from the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association with our sincere thanks!

A scan of the original document is located at Pub Med Central.