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Sad letter about the Expo 67 site today

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Letter of the Day: On Expo’s 50th anniversary, will there be anything left?

March 23, 2012

Re: “City receives $125M to celebrate birthday” (Gazette, March 21).

According to Quebec Finance Minister Raymond Bachand, some of this money will be used to highlight the 50th anniversary of Expo 67. However, one wonders how much of our Expo heritage will remain by then.

The 45th anniversary of Expo’s opening day is a month away. What have we been doing lately to mark the occasion?

Late last year, all of Expo’s unique and highly regarded light standards, which had been left to fall into disrepair, were removed from Parc Jean-Drapeau. Debris from their bases can still be found in the park dump on Île Notre-Dame.

Place des Nations on Île Ste. Hélène – the site of so many important events and celebrations at Expo – has been fenced off for some time. Here, too, the approach seems to be eventual demolition by neglect.

Two weeks ago, the tower of the Korean pavilion – one of the few remaining Expo pavilions – was removed and could be found lying on its side in the dump. The remaining part of the pavilion is now also fenced off.

Just last week, a sculpture titled Iris by Raoul Hunter, whose works are installed across Canada and the U.S., was also found in the dump. The work, created for Expo 67 and installed at La Ronde, is listed in Montreal’s inventory of public art as having been “temporarily removed” in recent years. Yet it seems to have been unceremoniously tossed into the trash.

I called the Société du parc Jean-Drapeau this week to inquire whether Hunter’s sculpture was indeed being thrown away and, if this was the case, if it would consider selling or donating it to a museum. My phone calls have not been returned.

John Trivisonno

Montreal

© Copyright © The Montreal Gazette

Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Letter+Expo+50th+anniversary+will+there+anything+left/6350823/story.html#ixzz1q6j9BZb9

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This is all such unfortunate news. It appears that the city that once cherished its world's fair and its legacy has all but forgotten. It is stunning to imagine that the lighting fixtures have been junked. They were spectacular and it would have been a wonderful Expo tribute to restore those that remained. I wonder if the Montreal Historical Society rescued any of them for permanent display. As for the Korean Pavilion, I do not know if it was even maintained. I think it was used as a bus shelter for years after Terre des Hommes was demolished. I hope there is a movement in Montreal to restore and preserve Place des Nations. I will never understand this sort of thing. It strikes me that there are fewer people who care about history or even know it. I am a college instructor of English and History and I am overwhelmed by the vast number of students who know NOTHING about our history--and I mean nothing. It is a stunning reality. Most do not even bother to vote. The concept of civic responsibility and cultural awareness is disappearing and is truly endangered. Because this is the reality, I suspect very few people will stand up for the preservation of the few remaining Expo legacies on the islands. What meaning will a 50th anniversary of Expo have when virtually nothing will remain. How can one junk the few remain legacies in 2011 and then celebrate their existence in 2017? It defies logic. How many young Canadians know anything at all about Expo 67 or will care in 2017?

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Posted · Report post

My thoughts exactly, Jim.

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On a more positive note, DC Hillier, a member of the Expo 67 Facebook page was contacted by the son of artist Raoul Hunter and advised that the sculpture mentioned in the article is set to be restored and installed in a Montreal park.

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Posted · Report post

Great news - thanks!

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Really, all these infrmations are very sad... It's hard to understand why the city of Montréal doesn't have more respect to its history. Expo'67 make a lot for the city and the country, and is always today very symbolic of Montréal.

Photo of the Korea tower :

http://lemog3d.blogs...ge-expo-67.html

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The sculpture "Iris" has been restored and placed at what used to be "Place des Ingénieurs" at Expo.

Here's a picture I took last May at Parc Jean-Drapeau:

post-5521-0-72300600-1343591116_thumb.jp

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Posted · Report post

Welcome, and thanks for the picture.

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