expo 67 lounge

Mid-century fashion, vintage pop culture and retro cool... from Expo 67 and beyond.

29 April 2006

Why Expo 67?

Why do I love Expo 67 so much? That's a question many have asked me over the years. I'm 28, which means I was born ten years after Expo.

I think that Montreal was at it's peak during the 1960's. Montreal was certainly the coolest place in Canada at the time (still is if you ask me). There was such a sense of optimism in those days, people really thought they could change the world. Expo 67 was held to commemorate the centennial of Canada's Confederation (meaning Canada was 100 years old in '67), so there developped a sense of pride in being Canadian.

My favorite part of Expo 67 is the way in which people got dressed up to go to this international event. Women wore hats and gloves. There was a sense of respect and honor that people don't have these days.

Anyone who is old enough to have seen and remembered Expo say it's the best summer they ever had. Anyone who hadn't seen it have been told they really missed out on something special.

In this blog I plan to explore that Expo magic, and, in doing so, will feel a little closer to an extraordinary event.

photo: naid.sppsr.ucla.edu/expo67/

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30 Comments:

Blogger yjasmin said...

Jason,

Your blog on Expo is refreshing in this world of indifference for that 40 year-old event.

I went to La Grande Bibliothèque yesterday and saw DVD on Expo 67, The CBC's hommage to it in which I appear on several occasions. For some reason I did not like seeing it because precisely of my comments which I felt did not fit in the overall theme which was The Canadian Experience.

The two solitudes again. When the ladies who came to interview me for the program in Sainte-Adèle a few years ago, they did not tell me of the overall theme, assuming I knew what they were talking about. I'd never seen the series so did not relate to it.

It's well worth seeing. I enjoyed it and I'm sure you would too. And you should visit La GBQ, 30% of it is devoted to the English language and, of course, The Canadian Experience IS in Engliah.

Keep me posted. I'm always interested in Expo. It's still in my bloodstream.

Regards,

YJ

10:33 am  
Blogger Bruno said...

I think I can understand your fascination with the expo,it was after all an extra-ordinary international event.And the expo had style and class,something lacking in our "modern" society...

10:24 am  
Anonymous natasha said...

A Quebecois book that put Expo 67 back on my personal radar was "Le Cahier Rouge" by Michel Tremblay. It is the ficticious journal of a dwarf woman working with transvestites during the summer of 1967. They go to Expo at the end, which is beautifully detailed. Great story as well!

Tremblay credits Jean-Claude Pépin for the info about Expo 67. The electric atmosphere of Montreal crawling with tourists really comes through. I recommend it!

6:41 am  
Blogger jason67 said...

I think I'll be book shopping in the very near future...

7:21 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just to say thank you for letting us discover a wonderful event (I wasn't born either) and for loving Montréal so much!

I live in MTL :)

10:51 pm  
Blogger Liana said...

Hello everyone,
I am 25 years old and my dad is will be turning 60 in August. He was 20 years ols when he was working at EXPO in 1967, and he is completely fascinated with the event. He actually really wants to organize a 40-year EXPO 67 reunion and I want to help him get started, and I came across this blog and it seems like a great place to start. I was wondering if any of you have suggestions for my dad and me, or even if you wish to get involved with possibly organzing a reunion, or have parents that wish to. I'm welcoming ANY suggestions! Thanks.

Liana
l.adornato@gmail.com

1:26 pm  
Blogger SamS said...

I actually worked at Expo 67 and helped build it.I worked right thru the closing and the tear-down phase. It was a lot of pressure to meet the deadlines of opening day.I was a teenager then and it was a great job.I worked in Operations and was promoted to supervisor of communications technologies. You can image the excitment of meeting & working with people from around the world.
Does anybody know if there exists a list of Expo alumni?

5:34 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I made this little documentary / fiction with some references to Expo '67. Take a look and tell me what you think.

http://www.lutchmedial.ca/gttm.html

8:45 pm  
Anonymous Mike, Nova Scotia said...

I went to Expo in the fall of 1967 as a 16-year-old. It took me a long time to raise the money to go on our school trip and by the time I had scraped together the money, the trip was sold out!!! So, I told my parents that I had gotten into the school group, but went to Montreal ON MY OWN. (I was on the same train, so it looked legit to them!)
Arrived in the city at 9AM without a place to stay, but instead of going to the LogeExpo desk looking for a place to sleep that night, I headed for the Expo grounds and stayed until 8PM...then I started looking for a place to stay!!! Found a bed in someone's house on Jeanne d'Arc street for $5.00 a night! It was fantastic! Though meals were not included, the lady fed me every morning before I went to the Fair. What a wonderful week I spent in Montreal!!!
By the time I made the train trip home I was totally broke...a family on the train with me from the Gaspe region shared their basket of sandwiches with me and left me what they had left when they got off the train!
As many times as I have been back to Montreal as an adult, I ALWAYS go over to the Ill Ste. helene Metro station and walk around the Expo site!
It was an utterly wonderful exhibition that I am so glad I was able to experience! Wish we could do it again!!!!!!!

11:22 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for taking us all to the islands of unrequited (and some requited dreams).

1:12 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi,

I performed at Expo '67 as an 11-year old guitarist from the US! I'm trying to get my hands on an old souvenir booklet, etc. that might have my name in it as well as others who performed. I recall playing at a small round, wood, Goodyear tire exhibit that had, as a I recall, a small stage area with it. So, I'm checking through eBay and other sites to see what I can find. If you know of anything like what I'm looking for, please post the info on this blog.

Thanks....

12:36 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I performed at Expo 67 too -- as part of The Men of Note, a college singing group from DePauw University in Indiana. It rained on the day of our outdoor concert, so few heard us. But I still have fond memories of a British tourist group on our train one time. They asked us to sing something and went wild for our rendition of "Old King Cole." Like Anonymous above I'd love to access any printed materials noting our performance. Not sure of date but it rained on June 14 and 16, and August 31, probably other dates too but those are all I know from reading the index cards on this site.

10:14 pm  
Anonymous Gilles Mathieu said...

I'm 48 now. I visited Expo67 many time with my parents. I returned few years later and the "magic" still there and i realized the grandeur of Expo67 was. The most famous fair ever. You can only imagined it if you did not see it. It was merely unforgettable.

9:43 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Jason for this wonderful site. I went to expo as a young girl and I will never forget the experience. It changed Montreal forever. It was held during Quebec's quiet revolution and truly had an impact on Quebec society. I plan on doing a series of paintings on expo and I appreciate your images which I will use as references. Perhaps you will acquire one of my paintings one day, lets see.
Lucie

10:26 am  
Blogger Snowparrot said...

Thanks, Jason.
I worked at expo as a cash checker in the Treasury on St. James St. My boyfriend, now husband, worked in maintenance of the VIP vehicles--Cushman golf carts-- beneath the Jacques Cartier Bridge.
If anyone is starting another alumni event, count us in.
Barb (Varty) and Neil Collishaw
bcollishaw AT rogers.com

12:46 am  
Blogger ojibway said...

Hi Jason,
This is a lovely site dedicated to a great event in a fab decade.
For a long time I have been searching for a photo of the left side of the Indians of Canada pavilion with the mural by Norval Morrisseau and I found the video you place here which will do for now!
I had two minor roles in the development of the Indians of Canada pavilion. (I was working for the Department of Indian Affairs in the cultural department):
I was asked by the contractors to provide some Indian flute music. Whilst I already knew, I researched anyway and found there were no flute instrument played by Canadian Indians and I told them so. When I visited the pavilion, sure enough, there was 'Indian style' music in the background played on an Austrian recorder or similar instrument!
I also finished off one of the murals together with my wife.

1:31 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have visited your blog many times and decided to post my gratitude to you. I have wonderful memories of Expo. I visited on the opening weekend on a class trip from Syracuse. I loved the fair and I became enthralled with Montreal. I have visited many times and still love that city. It was the coolest place in the world to a 14 year old kid. I clearly remember the US Pavilion, the Canadian Katimavik, Labyrinth, the Soviet Pavilion and so much more. Riding the mini-train was the best especially when it went through different pavilions. I also loved riding the Metro and I still think it beats almost every other mass transit system I have seen. I still collect memorabilia from Expo although I still have the souvenirs I bought there over forty years ago. I visited the 1964-65 NYWF and loved that great fair as well. But there was something so cosmopolitan about Expo. It was a trip around the world and to a kid, it was a remarkable experience. My name is Jim and I thank you for this site and hope you continue to post your thoughts. I also hope, that someday, Montreal does this again. Canada needs another great exposition.

10:36 pm  
Blogger Early Films said...

I was at Expo '67 when I was only 7. My memories are fuzzy except for a period when everything came to a brief halt for the Queen's visit. Sadly, we don't have any home movies which is unusual. My parents must have been totally absorbed by the experience. There may be stills which I will have to look for.

More than 10 years later in one of my college classes, I saw a 16mm print of "A Place to Stand" from the Ontario Pavilion. A number of years later I found a print at a film collector's show which I have posted on YouTube:

Two parts in a playlist:
http://www.youtube.com/user/leo81960#grid/user/F8A8A03C5450F3DD

8:32 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greetings,

I am looking for information about aboriginal dance groups performed at the time of EXPO '67. One of the guests from Russia, a very famous dancer watched a great aboriginal dance show and was impressed by the leader of that dance group. Does anyone have information about such dance groups which performed at the time of EXPO in Montreal or somewhere close to it? Thank you.

1:28 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Jason,
What an absolutely fabulous site you have made!
I'm so glad I found it - I've spent many days now reading and looking and wandering down memory lane. Like so many other people have said, the summer of 1967 was also the best summer of my life. I was a nineteen year-old university student and the world and the future were on my doorstep. I was fortunate enough to work at Expo67I was a sales-clerk at the Austrian Gift shop near the Austrian Pavillion. Each and every day was magic and special- I loved going to "work" every day. Even on my one day off a week- oftentimes what would we do- why go to Expo, of course! When at work, I used eat my lunch in the bandshell nearby the shop - one of those times I got to hear a young (and not yet that well-known)Gordon Lightfoot performing to about only about a dozen people in the bandshell. Wow! His autograph is on the last page of my Expo 67 passport.
What a wonderful experience it was- Thank you so much for your collection; it brings back many really good memories.
Ursula

11:46 am  
Anonymous Michael said...

I am fortunate that I am old enough to remember Expo 67. One remembers what a delightful and uplifting event it was. During that summer, we went every weekend. Now, some 43 years later, I am able to still enjoy îles Ste-Hélène and Notre-Dame. I go running around the islands several times a week always passing the old American Pavilion. (Geodesic Dome). It brings back great memories.

9:15 pm  
Blogger dencentralTO said...

RE: Toronto City Hall (March 2007, better late than never!), regrettably the photo caption "Old City Hall, situated just east of Toronto's new city hall" is incorrect.

It shows another, smaller building under demolition at the western edge of the 1965 city hall site, which was the city registry office.

Old Toronto city hall (1899) remains very much standing to the east, off the right-hand edge of your photo which is looking northeast from Queen Street.

8:23 pm  
Blogger John McFetridge said...

A terrific blog, thank you for this. I was six years old during Expo and spent quite a bit of time there because my father was a technician at the Telephone pavillion.

Have you seen the movie "Quintet" with Paul Newman? It was directed by Robert Altman and filmed mostly on the Expo site (I think in 1969).

8:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...an amazing trip down memory lane. My father was an executive at Expo 67 and I spent the entire summer there. Though only 5 at the time, I still remember vividly many of the pavilions and events. There is no other city that could have put on a show like that; Montreal was and still is a place like no other...

11:09 pm  
Anonymous Christina said...

Hi Jason,

Unbelievable site!
I have wondered that where did you get all the information and pictures. They must be really hard to find. Great job for sharing with us.

I have a personal request here if you have a little bit of time. My partners and I are currently doing a research on a specific site on the Expo island which is Place des Nation. Do you by any chance has any pictures or information about that place? Even after Expo was over, and what the place has become?

It would be greatly appreciated if you can help us.

Again, thanks a lot!

3:37 pm  
Anonymous Brad said...

Jason

Again fantastic job on this site. I visit it often and dream of when they create a time machine so that I can go back and visit the actual fair! LOL

I would love to find out more information on the Canadian Pavilion...like unusual shots in and around the pavilion (like underneath the Katimavik, inside the sanctuary - what was it for?) stuff like that. I would also love to get a copy of the canadian pavilion pamphlet that talked about the exhibits.

Keep up the good work on this...you have fans!

7:47 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great stuff! I am looking for the original Citerama short film and soundtrack form Expo 67's Man and the Community exhibit. It features some pretty hot jazz by Norm Symonds, Fred Stone and Ada Lee. Any info or pointers would be appreciated.

thank you

Ed from Toronto

8:02 pm  
Blogger Tom said...

Great blog!

I went to visit Canada last summer and I wish I had to time to spend on Montreal's islands.

Cheers from France,

Tom
from the blog Lostintheseventies

8:25 am  
Blogger karen608 said...

I went to Expo 67 when I was 7, turning 8 in June.
I only remember an escalator was broken and we didn't go in to the fabulous geo dome. I remember lots about the trip there (came from Chicago), like camping in new campgrounds made for the fair with slate 'gravel', eating at a road side stand, a hotdog grilled on a piece of bread with cream soda, and driving in and out of rainstorms on a highway. Maybe I was just too young. Or getting there WAS half the fun. But what a trip it was.

7:04 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I came across the pilot to "It Takes a Thief", a 1960s TV show starring Robert Wagner on YouTube. The 8th part of the pilot has some serious footage shot at Expo 67. Worth a look!

1:47 pm  

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