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Bill Cotter

It looks like progress was being made towards opening day!

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Great shot.  Expo really did have an incredible on-time completion record.  But this shot almost looks as if Expo had been built in Yellowknife or some god forsaken place in the frozen territories.

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I know Quebec winters are long but at least you get to spend them (it sounds as if you do) in Montreal.  It is probably the most beautiful city on the continent and among the most fascinating--even in winter.

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Hello Everyone:  Today marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of Expo 67!!!  It just so happens that we are using the same calendar for 2017 that was used in 1967, so this is the exact date 50 years later!!!  I like Expo 67, but I still think that NYWF 64/65 had more appealing architecture, especially the large corporate pavilions.  I wish that Expo 67 would have had more corporate participation than it did- to me that is one of the things that makes NYWF 64/65 more appealing-- it was more like a giant two-year trade fair, whereas Expo 67 was more about Nations than big business.  Just my two cents worth-- I hope that everyone who reads this that visited Expo 67 in person will put some of their memories on here about being there in 1967.  I was only three years old, so I was too young to remember Expo when it was going on.  Thanks!! Ronald

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They were very different fairs but both were wonderful. They remain my favorite two. I think Expo 67 did have some great architecture - my favorite two buildings were Air Canada and Canadian Pulp & Paper - but NY did have the massive corporate pavilions. I'm headed back to Montreal in June and am looking forward to another walk through the grounds, been a few years since our last trip.

 

Happy Birthday to Expo 67!

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Fifty years ago yesterday, (April 28), a bus load of ninth graders from a Syracuse area high school parked in front of a Catholic monastery in Westmount.  It is an Anglophone enclave overlooking the magnificent city of Montreal.  We could see the skyline and Expo 67 glittering below us.  That night, we took the brand new Metro to the Central Station beneath the Queen Elizabeth Hotel.  From there, we spilled into the streets to explore St. Catherine Street and the city at night.

Fifty years ago today, we rode the Metro to Place d'Acceuil where we climbed aboard Expo Express for a quick ride to Ile Ste. Helene.  I can still remember the first site of Expo and our first target--the USA pavilion.  It was Expo's second full day and attendance hit nearly 570,000.  I didn't know that, of course.  All I knew was that Expo blew me away.  Our teacher reminded us that people would want to know what it was like and to avoid La Ronde.  Amusement parks were everywhere but the world was in front of us.  He hoped we would explore the international pavilions and bring our observations home to share.

I  still have my guide book and I remember exploring as much of Ile Ste. Helene with two friends, that long day, as we possibly could.  We visited the NYS pavilion to see what our state had to share with all of Canada and the world. I saw the Netherlands, Belgium and Iran.  I rode the  Mini Rail with friends, right through the USA dome, and later that afternoon we made our way to Labyrinth at Cite du Havre.  I've never forgotten its magic, the millions of tiny lights as we followed the guide through the maze to those enormous projection screens--the vertical one stood nearly four stories and that incredible film story.  The evening view of Expo was overwhelming and the USA dome looked like some new planet.

 Sunday morning meant mass and we went to Notre Dame de Montreal.  I remember the mass in French but it was the main altar, with that ethereal blue lighting, that just took my breath away.  It does every time I see it.  Then it was back to the Central Station and the Metro to Expo.  We spent the day on Ile Notre Dame and began with the USSR.  I visited France, Great Britain and the view from the Canada pavilion and its Katimavik was amazing.  The whole exposition was below and Montreal was its backdrop.  I saw West Germany, the UN, Ontario, Australia, Switzerland and Austria, Kaleidescope, and Western Provinces.  I loved the Telephone pavilion with its 360 degree theatre.  Somewhere and somehow, we also saw three of the Theme Pavilions.  We were 15.  We had nothing but energy to spend.

This morning, I returned from a six day hospital stay.  I won't go into details but the situation scared the poop out of me.  I felt every bit of my mortality all week long and I still do as I type.  But all week, I thought back to that glorious trip fifty years ago.  I fell in love with Canada and its ubiquitous new Maple Leaf flag, with Montreal and with all things Expo.  I visited the most successful and relevant exposition of the 20th Century and while memories fade, impressions often remain.  Expo was a celebration of what the world could be and it didn't involve gadgets or marketing.  Its message was harmony.

I've never forgotten that.

 

 

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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…

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What a wonderful story!  I can only imagine the thrill of watching Expo grow and then in sharing in its life. I hope you have recorded your memories. Your last line is so hopeful and positive.  Expo was "the best side of mankind."

 I, too, am a teacher (English and History on the high school and college level).  I love to tell the story of great expositions  and the Expo 67 story is virtually beyond comparison.  Thank you for sharing your story but what is a maple syrup pie?  I live in Upstate New York and we have maple syrup everything--except pies.  Just how are they made and how does one eat such a thing--especially on the go?

Thank you, Roger.  And you, too, icedstitch!

 

 

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My third grade class took a field trip there, many kids had not been away from Potsdam NY and most certainly not to a big city. Our class, less than 20 in size, had one adult chaperone per two or three kids. We each had dog tags with our name, the phone number for lost children and a dime taped on the back.  Other schools visiting had the kids hold onto a clothesline to keep the group together. My mother was a chaperone for myself and my best friend. We were at the Australian pavilion where you would sit in the big chairs with speakers that looked like big black eggs so it was hard to see who was in there, if anyone. I sat in one that spoke French so I got up and moved to one speaking English which were very popular so I was sitting  much farther away from my original seat. My mother freaked out not being able to find me.

Since we lived less than 100 miles away, we would attend every other weekend. Our favorite pavilion, and the first one we would always go to was the Polar Regions. From the entrance to the pavilion, a snow cave presented in layers of flat panels, to the film, a movie that starts in the normal aspect ratio and slowly the screen expands to a panorama flying over the arctic circle always got us in the mood of what's to come that day.

My mother was an old classmate of Jim Dine who had a piece of art at the US Pavilion.  It was a 20 foot high tall skinny painting in which one half was painted red and the other half was painted... red.  I was very unimpressed as a 9 year old artist.

 

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For Jim: (You need half a can of dark pure maple sirop tp make this pie) It was a very good seller in 67 - 50 pies (8 pieces each) everyday and we usually were sold out before 5 pm... 50 years later, I still make it and my friends go nuts for it!

tarte-au-sirop-d-erable-et-noix.jpeg

 

Bill will be in Montreal at the end of June for a book signing - I will make sure he gets a piece!

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15 hours ago, Mark C said:

My third grade class took a field trip there, many kids had not been away from Potsdam NY and most certainly not to a big city. Our class, less than 20 in size, had one adult chaperone per two or three kids. We each had dog tags with our name, the phone number for lost children and a dime taped on the back.  Other schools visiting had the kids hold onto a clothesline to keep the group together. My mother was a chaperone for myself and my best friend. We were at the Australian pavilion where you would sit in the big chairs with speakers that looked like big black eggs so it was hard to see who was in there, if anyone. I sat in one that spoke French so I got up and moved to one speaking English which were very popular so I was sitting  much farther away from my original seat. My mother freaked out not being able to find me.

Since we lived less than 100 miles away, we would attend every other weekend. Our favorite pavilion, and the first one we would always go to was the Polar Regions. From the entrance to the pavilion, a snow cave presented in layers of flat panels, to the film, a movie that starts in the normal aspect ratio and slowly the screen expands to a panorama flying over the arctic circle always got us in the mood of what's to come that day.

My mother was an old classmate of Jim Dine who had a piece of art at the US Pavilion.  It was a 20 foot high tall skinny painting in which one half was painted red and the other half was painted... red.  I was very unimpressed as a 9 year old artist.

 

I went to Clarkson, Mark, but started there in 1969. I made numerous trips up to see "Man and His Word" once I discovered that parts of Expo 67 were still there.

Living in Potsdam I would have thought you would have preferred a more tropical pavilion that the "Polar Regions" as that must have seemed like you were back in Potsdam! :)

I'm looking forward to the pie, Roger  - I don't think I've ever had it before!

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Mark, your post is wonderful.  The thought that you could visit Expo so often is incredible.  It was a once in a lifetime opportunity.  I love the idea of the dime taped to your dog tags.  I assume it had to be Canadian.  I suspect your keen eye for art was spot on, actually.  Great story!

I have to add that your chaperone situation was probably a bit safer than mine.  There must have been about forty grade nine boys and, get this, ONE teacher chaperone (a de la Salle Christian Brother).  He was a great guy.  But I recall when we arrived in Westmount he said we had half an hour to get settled and then meet him in front of the monastery where he made arrangements for us to stay for three nights.  When we met him to walk to the Metro station, he was transformed.  The clerical clothing was gone. He was sporting a Hawaiian shirt, a beret, denims and a pair of aviator shades.  Then he basically let us loose in and on Montreal that night.  Somehow, we managed to return to Syracuse with the same number of kids we had arrived with.  

And Roger, I like maple syrup as much as any New Yorker and my town (along with several dozen other Upstate NY towns) has a maple festival.  But that's a whole lot of maple in one chunk of pie.  I know how expensive maple syrup is (isn't it a ratio of about fifty gallons of sap equal to one gallon of finished syrup?).  But I have never heard what the sugar load in a table spoon of maple syrup might be.  It must pack a wallop.  And you made fifty pies a day!  Amazing.

Health permitting, I truly hope to visit Montreal again this summer.

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Jim, if you do make it to Montreal this summer drop me a line, would love to meet and talk over a beer (And since I worked with most of the Museum in Montreal that have Expo 67 exhibition this year, I can get you free entrance to several of them!)

villes.ephemeres@gmail.com

Roger

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Roger, I will absolutely do that.  I'm working on the plan right now.  I would love to meet you.

trylon@frontiernet.net

Best,

Jim

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On 5/7/2017 at 11:03 PM, Bill Cotter said:

I went to Clarkson, Mark, but started there in 1969. I made numerous trips up to see "Man and His Word" once I discovered that parts of Expo 67 were still there.

Living in Potsdam I would have thought you would have preferred a more tropical pavilion that the "Polar Regions" as that must have seemed like you were back in Potsdam! :)

I'm looking forward to the pie, Roger  - I don't think I've ever had it before!

Sorry for the quality - these are screen grabs from home movies I'm currently re-scanning. 

591717609ea72_1967Expovenezuela.png.906e234df6834cb77b0c4da320a9623e.png 

Here are two upstate NY guys hanging out with their first palm trees at the Venezuela pavilion. We did much better in the polar regions. 

5917176fb0795_1967ExpoAustrailianpavillion.png.a61053a819105d3762c72823db3f6465.png

Australia and the chairs that got me in trouble.  

59171778c90e6_Clarksoncollege.png.83337e4361c24b169150aa3723f3a7d4.png

Potsdam NY's 4th of July parade!  (not really). I thought folks would like the gas station in the background. 

 

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