Sad Crowds Bid Adieu As Fair Gates Close
by Joseph MacSween
MONTRÉAL (CP) -- Like children departing some long-loved fairyland, the shivering crowds left Expo '67 Sunday night with many backwards looks.
"The word came to use and now it's going away again," said Giselle Fournier, a blue-eyed blonde Montréaler who was close to tears as she and her husband, Gilles, gazed across the Expo grounds.
"Look at the faces of the people," she said. This subdued mood seemed general at Expo on the final day, and probably made easier the task of 1,500 police and security men in getting the 221,554 visitors off the site without serious incident.
The presence of so many men of the Expo security force, Montréal and Québec police and RCMP also was calculated to discourage souvenir hunters who might walk off with valuables. The officers ambled around the various pavilions where theft was considered possible.
When the pavilions closed at 3:30 p.m., RCMP officers joined security men at the Expo Express stations. Dense crowds jostled for position and there was some risk of accident if too many were allowed on the elevated platforms at one time.
Expo's passing had its funny as well as its sad moments.
"Line up here for Osaka," yelled one man in front of the Czech pavilion, in a reference to the next world's fair in Japan.
A man dressed as Santa Claus paraded around the La Ronde fun fair. Scores of kiddies romped around him. He carried a big sack on his back, with some parcels in it. It was a little like Christmas, too, when pavilions gave away flags and whistles to departing visitors.
What did Expo mean to the fair-goers?
"It means culture," said Mrs. Fournier, 40.
"I only hope it does not die....It means a lot to Canada, not just to Montréal. You know, in California they thought until now that we were lost in snow."
"Expo has been something marvellous in my life," said L.A. Pomeroy of Cleveland, Ohio, who was here with his wife and daughter, Lindsay, 15. The Pomeroys, interviewed in a long queue outside the Telephone pavilion, praised in particular the absence of commercialism here as compared with other exhibitions.
Two British-born couples -- one came to Canada many years ago and the other in Canada only 10 years -- hit precisely the same note in separate interviews: Canada does not proclaim loudly enough what it can do.
"Canada doesn't exploit what we have -- we have everything," was the comment of Mr. and Mrs. T.C. Irwin of Cooksville, Ontario. "Expo makes us proud to be Canadians."
- End of article. Copyright by the Canadian Press, October 30, 1967. All rights reserved.