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Roger

The death of a pavilion....

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The 'Men at work' pavilion was an extremely ambitious and daring construction. It was not well received by the architecture circle, in 1967 but I still think it was a very worthwhile pavilion. It would have made a superb "Science technology" museum if they kept it. Unfortunately, since Notre-Dame Island was closed early on, they left the building to disintegrate and was so damaged that it could not be reused.

So, in order to clear part of the site for the 1980 Floralies, it was demolished. They kept part of the structure and rearrange the surrounding, building a paddle boat marina and a couple of fast food kiosks.

A couple of year after, they took the rest down...

These photos were taken summer of 1979 :

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These photos were taken in 1980, during the Floralies - part of the lower section of the structure was kept has a remainder of the pavilion :

TDH-PH-955-1.jpg

TDH-PH-954-1.jpg

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And finaly, complete destruction:

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And, has a reminder, this is the pavilion in 1967 :

During construction 4 months before opening of Expo 67 :

TDH-PH-3772.jpg

And a special view of the back of the pavilion - this is the part that was kept up in 1980:

TDH-PH-2858.jpg

Roger

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These are astounding photographs. I remember this pavilion. It was prominently featured on many postcards and was an iconic image of Expo 67. I did not not realize it had received poor critical reviews at the time, but I thought then, and I still believe, it was a remarkable structure and a tribute to the Expo theme.

And thank you, again!! You have some wonderful Expo history to share. I loved Expo.

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I think some of the criticism had to do with the bolted steel superstructure. Original plans called for the steel frame to be welded which would have resulted in a much lighter appearance. When it was determined that there were not enough welders in all of Canada to have the project done by opening day, it was decided to bolt the steel members together which required a much heavier gauge steel.

And, those demolition pictures make me sick. Those buildings, with some modifications, could have been used for a variety of purposes.

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Am I remembering correctly that the steel superstructure was rusted and intentionally so? Would that have added to the criticism of the architectural style? The pavilion and the other theme pavilions were impressive but not light or airy structures and that type of steel added to that heavier look. If this steel was the used, I don't believe this endures well. In the late 1970's, the New York State DPW decided to replace all galvanized guard rails in the Adirondack Park with pre-rusted steel. It provided a more rustic look and probably thousands of miles of these guard rails were installed and much of it in time for the Lake Placid Olympic Winter Games in 1980. Now, thirty years later, it turns out that the stuff really does not hold up well in this climate. The guard rails are failing and almost all have to be replaced and regular galvanizeed steel will now be used . If this Expo pavilion had that type of superstructure and it was the same stuff, it would not have been a good call for a permanent building. And when it was built it was assumed that it was going to be temporary.

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Your right, part of the problem was the fact that the steel was left to oxidate naturally. You have to remember that in the 60's, everything was plastic& cement and the "Natural Look" was out. Surprisingly, there was a lot of natural wood used at Expo 67, even if that was not the material of choice. The other criticism that these theme pavilion received was that they seem too gigantic - event if other pavilion were bigger ie. Canada, URSS. The Labyrinth received a lot of bad criticism also for its building but the overall high success of the exhibit seems to have tempered the negative view. The fact that there were no windows was also mentioned - which is not appropriate, I think, since the structure were for exhibits. And most of the other pavilion were windowless them selfs.

The Biosphere received the highest praise at the time and the France pavilion was described has a 'Self-serving out-dated cathedral of aluminum and stainless steel"

I guess that you have to wait 15 to 20 years to really get an objective appreciation of a building.

Roger

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Roger,

Labyrinth was an amazing pavilion. I remember it as a large, box-like affair with very long lines waiting to enter. But the experience inside was spectacular. I wish I could see it all again. I recall that the pavilion of the Federal Republic of Germany received wide praise. I also believe the Ontario pavilion won critical praise. There were so many wonderful pavilions: Paper and Pulp, Netherlands, USA, Canada's Katimavik, Kaleidoscope and even Iran were all remarkable structures. And we cannont forget Habitat.

I have a former student who just spent a part of his senior year at Carnegie Mellon Unversity in Moscow. I urged him to visit "Montreal," which is the name the locals have given to the former USSR Expo 67 pavilion. He saw it at that massive exposition park. When I think about it, it certainly was impressive but I don't think it was any sort of architectural breakthrough. It was just massive and designed to impress and even overwhelm the visitor. On that level, it worked.

May I ask: Did you visit Expo 67? I did for three days. I fell in love with the exposition, of course, but also with Montreal.

Jim

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Actually, I was more lucky than that: I worked at Expo 67. I was only 13 and was one of the youngest employee on the site - I was not a Corporation or a Pavilion employee, I worked at a Expo Service Food court on St-Hélène Island (see photos!) I was not the only 13yrs old kid working there but most of the kids worked at La Ronde - there were not a lot of young kids working at Ste-Hélène or Notre-Dame islands. I remember that there was a lot of letters involved, from my parents, from my school teacher and director etc... I was able to work from April 15 to October 30 in 1967 - about 45 to 60 hours every weeks (lot of energy available when your 13!) and, of course, I was at Expo on most of my days off...

I was extremely lucky to work there and I worked on the site for Man and His World every year from 1967 up to 1973. I'm a born Montrealer and still live here and has such, both Expo 67 and Man and his World have completely changed (for the better) my life. How great is working there for a student job!

Even today, certain smell or music gets me back in the amazing feeling of Expo 67. If you visited the Canadian Pacific-Comingo pavillon, you probably remember that part of the exhibit was on the senses (smell, taste, etc...) Has you went through the pavilion, you experienced a lot of different smells and they also gave you a candy ball when you entered and as you suck on the thing, it had 5 different layers with 5 different tastes - well even today, 45 years after, if I smell something that I smelled then or taste something that taste like the candy ball, I get a flashback of that period.

Expo 67 was so important to me (and to most of the kids my age in Montreal) that I snuck in the site a year before, will everything was still in construction (I don't remember how I bypassed the security) and I was able to wander around in both Ste-Helene and Notre-Dame island for almost 2 hours before a security guard spotted me and he was cool enough to give me an additional 30 minutes tour of La Ronde.

I was privileged and I'm fully aware of it. So, I'm trying to give something back. I operate a Blog on Expo 67 and Man and his Worlds but it's all in French (my native language) and you will find on this site documents that I write and publish on each of the pavilion -these documents go from 6 to 270 pages but, again, everything is in French and I don't want to use my blog to publish my photos (I got about 2500 slide already digitalised, mostly from the Man and His World period) so, after looking around the few discussion sites on world's fair, I decided to use this one to publish a large part of my photos. The work done here by Bill and several of others participants like yourself makes this site one of the best. I will try to publish several photos every weeks, on different subject, mostly from the Man and His world period.

Sorry for the length of the replies but it was the best way I could reply to yours.

Roger

http://www.villes-ephemeres.org/

Situation of the Expo Service food court where I worked in 1967 :

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By the way, you can still experiment part of the feeling of the Labyrinth - the NFB who made the films has released a video version of the film in the third chamber, the one projected on 5 screens. You can visualize it free of charge at :

http://www.onf.ca/film/dans_le_labyrinthe

They re-filmed the whole thing in 70mm format, maintaining the 5 screens projection. It's not as nice has you saw it in 1967 but still...

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And if you want the music of the film (composed by Eldon Rathburn) you can have the whole album from my site in MP3 format (free, as usual)

eldon-rathburn_labyrinthe.jpg

http://www.villes-ephemeres.org/2012/03/le-labyrinthe.html

Roger

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Roger,

I have no idea what to say other than I am overwhelmed by your Expo experience. And I am absoutely aware of what you mean when you say that certain smells or music will take you back all those years. I love the city of Montreal. During my first visit I was with a Catholic school group from Syracuse and we stayed at a monastery in Westmount. I was 14 and we were visiting Expo on the opening weekend. I remember it so well. I can still remember my first Metro ride, my first glimpse of the rotating lights on the top of Place Ville Marie, by first visit to the Central Station beneath The Queen Elizabeth (with the words of O Canada engraved on the wall high above the concourse) and, of course, attending mass at Notre Dame which took my breath away. I have visited Montreal many times and have always enjoyed my time in your beautiful city. And I also visited Terre des Hommes many times because I worked during the summer not far from Lake Placid and Montreal was a great day trip when I was younger. But my memories of Expo are frozen in time.

I hope you will keep sharing stories and photographs here. You are a remarkable link to one of the two greatest expositions of the 20th Century (the other was the 1939 New York World's Fair) and I am so glad you found this site.

Is there any chance you might know the name of the Catholic monastery in Westmount that I mentioned? I can still see it in my mind; it was a large stone structure not far from Westmount Park. I recall that we walked to the park and it overlooked the city and we could see the Expo islands glittering in the St. Lawrence. I have not seen that monastery since that trip, however. There must have been about 40 kids and there was a Metro stop just across and down the street, I think. I believe we were housed there because it cost us virtually nothing and we were chaperoned by a wonder Christian Brother (de la Salle) who spoke fluent French, knew Montreal very well and was in favor of letting us explore the city and the Fair as much as we possibly could.

Roger, bienvenue sur ce site. S'il vous plait partagez plus d'histoires et je me a rejouis d'autres discussions avec vous. Je suis tellement heureux de trouver vox messages chaque jour. Je vous remercie!

Vive Montreal et Expo 67.

Votre ami,

Jim

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PS: Aussi, je vous remercie pour le lien vers le site du labyrinthe. Je suis un professeur dans un college de l'anglais et d'histoire vivante au sud de Syracuse, New York, dans une petite ville.

Je viens de remarquer que l'aire de restaurant etait pres du pavilion Etat de New York.

J'ai l'intention d'explorer votre blog. Je peux lire un peu le francais.

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One more question: Etait Men At Work pavilion (comme il est marque ci-dessus) fait l'homme le fournisseur?

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Yes, it is Man the Provider, In French the name is l"Homme à l'Oeuvre" which, when directly translated means Men at Work - I guess that name stuck with me but the official name in english is Man the Provider

Roger

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Yes, the same architect firm also built an ensemble of 3 thematic pavilions on Ste-Helene Island. But since they were much smaller, joined together by simple platforms, they were not as massive as Man the provider. The following photos were taken in 1979 :

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As you mentioned in a previous post, you probably stayed at the Maison Mère des Soeurs de la Congrégation Notre-Dame, wich is now Dawson College - :

Roger

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Thank you for the information on the monastery. When I research the either name, and look for photographs, it does not appear to be the place. I recall it was a large stone structure but I am not certain this is it.

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Thanks Bill,

Actually, I wanted to make my site bilingual - including translating all my publications but there is so much time involved in doing the actual research that i just don't have the time to do everything twice. Which is why I'm using your site to publish material in English - its a compromise that should not be to time consuming.

Roger

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