Thanks for sharing Jim… let me tell you about my opening day… It’s a bit different but it’s still with me. I’m a Montrealer so I left around 6h30 that morning because I had to be on the site of Expo at 8h00 (will explain further on…). Even at that early hour, a line was already forming at the Berri Metro Station, where you took the Ste-Hélène line metro to Expo. I finally got in at around 7h30 and was away but when the train got in at the Expo station, the lines were already forming and the extremely excited visitors were everywhere… there was still two hour to wait before the gates opened but I had to get in because I had be on the site and start cooking the meat pies and the maple syrup pies for the crowd. You see, I worked there as a cook in a small concession serving only meat pies and maple syrup pies.
I finally was able to get to the top of the stairs and was engulfed in a sweet, savory smell: waffles! The same large, square Belgium waffles, with whipped cream and strawberries on top that was such a success in NY and Seattle. There was a food counter near the metro exit and the sweet smell was everywhere.
But when I tried to exit the station to go to the barriers, a security guard, not amused, scolded me for trying to get in front of everybody… So I had to show him my employee card, to his surprise since, you see, I was 13, one of the youngest employees on the site (of course, I was too young to be an official Expo staff but in 1967, 13 was legal).
I can’t describe how it felt to be able, at this age, to work there (actually, I worked on the site from 1967 to 1973 – greatest student job ever). I usually worked from 7h00 in the morning to 7h00 at night, with a 3 hour break from 2 to 5 – which of course I used to visit everything. I was on the site 162 days (out of 182) and had started working on the 15 of April to prepare the food counter. The second day, with over 560,000 visitors, we ran out of food at 3 in the afternoon… ran out of soft drink about an hour after that.
Today, 50 years later, after teaching for over 25 years (both at College and University level) I’m an historian, specialised in expo’s history; after 50 years, I still feel like that kid who discovered the best side of mankind that was displayed in front of me everyday…