expo 67 lounge

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

5 January 2008

The Man the Provider Complex

Nine pavilions located on the eastern point of Île Notre-Dame sought to explore the theme of agriculture at Expo 67. The pie-shaped pavilion complex spanned 7 acres in an atmosphere of rural tranquility. Despite the quiet appearance, Man the Provider raised some frightening issues concerning the earth's population explosion and undernourishment in underdevelopped countries...

The first pavilion contained a large clock that counted off the seconds, reminding visitors that each tick equalled 2 new mouths to be fed. Scenes of hunger in the world were projected on 8 screens.

The second pavilion retraced how mankind had learned over the centuries to adapt the powerful forces of nature to his will, as well as using animals for food and service.

The third and fourth pavilions reminded visitors that only 3% of the world's surface could be cultivated, the rest being desert, mountain, ice or water. Efforts to improve the earth's productivity were discussed in displays.

The fifth pavilion drew the visitor's attention to the paradox of modern agriculture existing side by side with hunger and undernourishment.

The sixth pavilion displayed modern agricultural machinery: mechanical giants that were invaluable to the modern farmer.

The last 3 pavilions were devoted to the latest methods of poultry farming, livestock breeding and milk production.

Finally, a fairytail farm and animal show was presented to the delight of children of all ages.

The show's first trick was a hen that did math: the emcee (one of the pavilion's guides) would ask an audience member to give her a math problem to solve. Amazingly, she would get it right as long as the answer was less than 10. The grand finale was the hen that danced while a rabbit accompanied her on piano!

In addition, between-shows featured a duck, a rabbit, a hen, and a dove.

images: (1-2) library and archives Canada
(4-5-6) personal collection



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome! You now have the only mention on the Internet of the trained animal show at Expo 67's Man the Provider! Your blog just gets better!

I was hired as a guide, but a few weeks into the fair, one of the MCs left the show. I applied to fill the vacancy, got the nod, and replaced him for the duration. "Bonjour Mesdames et Messieurs, bienvenue au spectacle d'animaux savants de l'Homme et l'Agriculture !!" was how the show started off... Who'd have guessed you can train a chicken!!

"Judy" was actually one of several chickens trained for the show. It was the same for the ducks, the rabbits, and the doves. All but one of them would earn about half their daily chow performing and get the other half at closing time.

The one exception, a rabbit I nicknamed Billy, had "retired" from performing, so he needed his full ration in the evening. Réjean, the other host, and I made an effort to entice Billy back to the stage. Whenever it was quiet (i.e. raining), we'd put him onstage and try. But try as we might, he just wandered around the stage, so we gave up after a while.

However Billy seemed to enjoy the outing - he'd actually walk onto my hand when I fetched him, so I started letting him roam around inside the building, and later in the grass behind the building. I'd let him get a few meters away from me, then when he turned back toward me I'd give him a nugget. That routine became his daily "performance". Later in the summer, to cap off our outing I would sit Billy down in my lap and pet him and pet him and pet him until he was totally relaxed and had allowed himself to gradually roll completely onto his back. At first this took a solid 20 minutes. Then I'd give him a nugget, and over time he learned to wait for me to come to him instead of snatching it out of my fingers.

I've never told this story. I think of Billy every now and then, I'm glad I gave him some special treatment, hopefully I made life a bit better for him.

Peter Bratton

5:04 pm  
Blogger Jack Ruttan said...

That Man, he's a busy fellow, isn't he!

12:20 am  

Post a Comment


← Older Posts

Newer Posts →