Expo 67

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Missing image
Expo 67 poster, National Archives of Canada, Ottawa (Accession No. 1990-552-1)

Expo 67 merchandise
Expo 67 American Pavilion, a 250 foot diameter Buckminster Fuller 3/4 geodesic dome
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Expo 67 Postcard

The 1967 International and Universal Exposition, or simply Expo 67 was a World's Fair held in Montreal, Quebec, Canada in 1967 to coincide with the Canadian Centennial that year.

Interestingly, "Expo 67" was originally going to be held in Moscow, to help the Soviet Union celebrate the 50th anniversary of its revolution. When it changed its mind in 1962, Montreal stepped up.



The main part of the fair was held on Île Sainte-Hélène and Île Notre-Dame, the latter an artificial island built from earth excavated for the Montreal metro system, first opened in 1966. Expo 67 opened on April 28, 1967 and featured 90 pavilions for nations, corporations and industries including the U.S. pavilion, a geodesic dome designed by Buckminster Fuller. Expo 67 also featured the Habitat 67 housing complex designed by architect Moshe Safdie, which is still occupied.

A notable feature of Expo 67 was the World Festival of Entertainment, featuring opera, ballet and theatre companies, alongside orchestras, jazz groups, famous Canadian pop musicians and other cultural attractions.

The Expo was one of the most successful ever and is still regarded fondly by Canadians. 1967 is often referred to as "the last good year" before economic decline, Quebec sovereigntism (seen as negative from a federalist viewpoint), and political apathy became common. Despite this there were problems: FLQ terrorists were active at the time and death threats were issued; and President Johnson's visit became a focus of anti-war protesters.

More than 50 million visitors (50 306 648) attended the Expo at a time when Canada's population was only 20 million, setting a record for World Fair attendance that still stands. The fair was visited by many of the most notable people of the day including Queen Elizabeth II, Lyndon Johnson, Princess Grace, Jacqueline Kennedy, and Charles de Gaulle, who created an international controversy when he shouted "Vive le Québec libre!" ("Long Live Free Quebec") from the balcony of Montreal city hall on July 24 (this slogan being well known as the rallying cry of the Quebec independentists).

Montreal's former baseball team, the Expos, was named after the event.

After 1967, the site struggled on for years as a standing collection of international pavilions known as "Man and His World." However, as attendance declined, the physical condition of the site deteriorated, and less and less of it was open to the public. In 1975 the Île Notre-Dame section of the site was completely rebuilt around the new rowing basin for Montreal's 1976 Summer Olympics. Space for the basin, the boathouses, the changing rooms and other buildings was obtained by demolishing many of the former pavilions and cutting in half the area taken by the artificial lake and the canals. In 1976, a fire destroyed the acrylic outer skin of Buckminster Fuller's dome. The remaining original exhibits of the site closed for good in 1982.

Today, the site houses the Casino de Montréal (in the former pavillions of France and Quebec), a Formula One race track, an amusement park called La Ronde, and many acres of parkland and cycle paths on Ile Saint-Helene and the western tip of Île Notre-Dame. The old US pavilion still stands, currently housing a science museum on the theme of water (the Biosphere). On Ile Notre-Dame the Olympic basin is used by many rowing clubs of the area. In summer, an artificial beach, recently built on the shore of the remaining artificial lake, has been very popular. In previous years the site has been used for a number of events such as an international botanical festival, Les floralies. The young trees and shrubs planted for Expo 67 are now mature. The plants introduced during the botanical events have prospered also. In the warmest weeks of the summer the two islands are cool, leafy havens compared to the overheated city. In the winter brave Montrealers go skate on the frozen Olympic basin of Île Notre-Dame, whipped by the glacial winds coming from the Saint Lawrence River.

Facts and Figures

All figures in 1967 values and in Canadian funds:

  • Cost: $431,904,683
  • Revenue: $221,239,872
  • Deficit: $210,664,811
  • Chief Architect: M. Edouard Fiset

Participating Countries:

  • Africa: Algeria, Cameroun, Chad, Congo, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Morocco, Mauritius, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, and Upper Volta
  • Asia: Burma, Ceylon, China, (Taiwan), Korea, India, Iran, Israel, Japan, Thailandand the United Arab Republic
  • Australia
  • Europe: Austria, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Finland, France, Federal Republic of Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the USSR, and Yugoslavia
  • Latin America: Barbados, Cuba, Grenade, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela
  • North America: Canada, Mexico, and the United States

Notably absent countries:

  • The People's Republic of China, Spain, South Africa, and many states of South America


Missing image
Canadian pavilion

French pavilion
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British pavilion

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American pavilion


National Pavilions

Regional Pavilions

Thematic Pavilions

  • Man and His World
  • Man the Producer
  • Man and the Arctic
  • Man and the Ocean

Industrial Pavilions

See also

External link


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