|Expo Was Splendidly Right
Editorial by The Ottawa Journal
Monday, October 30, 1967
As the fireworks of Expo's final shot into the chill of what Sunday afternoon's closing ceremonies might have been like had the prophets of doom and men of little imagination been proven right.
What an array of arguments were hurled against Expo's creators from the very beginning!
Instead -- the men of courage and imagination fought and won. The great team of Dupuy, Shaw, Churchill, Kniewasser, Beaubien and others had faith in themselves and in Canadians. So did Drapeau, Lesage, Johnson, Diefenbaker and Pearson.
Photo credit: © National Archives of Canada
From left to
right: Lester B. Pearson, Prime Minister of Canada; Roland Michener,
Governor-General of Canada; Daniel Johnson, Premier of Québec and Major Jean Drapeau of Montréal.
Expo wasn't over anybody's head, and yet it lifted everybody's head. It was without borderlines of time and nation, and yet it was everyone's own fair. The "mystery" or a "mystery" of Expo was that its message was often intensely personal; many of us found something of ourselves while there which we had not understood before, not least that we were all people and that people are really very much alike and are chumps (or chimps) not to live together in that knowledge.
If it was not an intensely personal message that most people got from Expo, why then was the closing day a time not alone for fireworks but a furtive tear during the final "Auld Lang Syne?" Gratefulness for what one had learned, perhaps; gratefulness that a Canadian effort had been so excellent; grateful on finding that Canadians, all of us, were equal to appreciating all that Expo had to give and say on Man and His World.
Is there forgiveness in man's world for a bit of vanity? If so, may The Journal recall that on April 28, the second day of Expo, we said this in these columns after our first visit:
The Last Day
It was a cold day but over 200,000 came to pay their last respects. Dressed in parkas, toques and other winter garb they walked through Expo's islands, pausing now and then for a final glance at some favorite building or exhibit.
The police came in droves too but their biggest job was keeping warm. Pilfering and vandalism were minimal. Visitors wanted to stare, to touch and just admire once more.
When pavilion doors swung shut for the last time, crowds filed towards exits with many backward looks and waited patiently at bottlenecks, kidding the security guards, who did a magnificent job.
But the crowd made their job easy. Pushing and shoving were absent. They bantered in English and French as lines formed at the Expo Express, and the subdued laughter was wistful. A beloved friend was leaving. They had said a dignified goodbye but not without emotion.
- End of editorial. Copyright by The Ottawa Journal, October 30, 1967. All rights reserved.