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Ron_Di_Gaetano

All things Expo 67

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Greetings to all. Back in 2016, I began to research everything I could on Montreal's International Exhibition. 2017 was around the corner and I anticipated the city and the local media would showcase the half-century old exhibition throughout the year (to my disappointment, the coverage was low-key and spotty at best). As a native Montrealer, I grew up in a city that seemed to be in constant motion creating new highways, parks and pools, an underground subway, bridges and the islands in the St. Lawrence River which became the site for Expo 67.  I was fortunate to have an uncle who was a newspaperman assigned to Expo from the beginning - Bill Bantey - whose stories about the upcoming event made the wait nearly impossible for a 12 year-old growing up back then.  The pursuit of 'all things Expo 67' was purely personal and I did find a wealth of incredible film and articles. But before I bore the heck out of everyone with my nostalgia, I did want to share an absolute gem I found online late one night.  It is a documentary about the back-story of Expo and how it almost did not happen due to the seemingly impossible task of creating it while pleasing politicians and meeting budgets and deadlines.  The DVD entitled Mission Impossible was created by a Montreal company called Production de la Ruelle....by talented individuals who were not even born when Expo was created but whose storytelling provides a spellbinding account of the saga that became Montreal's crowning achievement. So, if any of you have not seen this, I highly recommend it. You can see a trailer for it on YouTube or visit www.expo-67.ca. I have viewed it multiple times and  I have shared it with many who simply shake their heads in disbelief and marvel at the huge success it was then and what those memories mean to them today. Enough said...... Bonne soirée !

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Hi Bill. Glad I joined....perhaps better late than never?  As I newbie here, I must confess that I have not visited other fairs so my viewpoints on Montreal's event (now 52 years old and counting!) may appear slanted for this reason. In yesterday's post, I mentioned that the local media did not create much hoopla back in 2017, however, there were a few exhibitions that took place which I appreciated.  The one in particular my wife and I enjoyed was presented at the Stewart Museum located in the old fortress on Ile-Ste-Helene. They did a splendid job of bringing together Expo memorabilia, slides, photographs, artwork and film.  There was even a virtual reality visit to the original Labyrinth experience played throughout The Summer of Love back in '67.....far out, man! The film footage projected throughout was original to me and therefore even more captivating.  The images and sounds all made a huge impact on these visitors...it was great fun going back through this "time machine".  All in all, a fine homage to this incredible achievement. BY THE WAY...some members had written about those light fixtures which illuminated the landscape and how unique they were. Well, I had always been a great fan of them myself so I researched them as much as I could and re-created one...in my backyard. Upon completion, I invited a neighbor who is my age to come over and look at something I built; he was unaware of my obsession with Expo 67 that year.  He walked up to it, looked down at the base and lifted his gaze to the reflector at the top and suddenly shouted "Expo 67" !! So you see, even this lighting design  unique to Montreal's exposition left a lasting impression with my neighbor.  More next time....

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I love the light! Start selling them and I'll buy one! Or more.

I went to the event at the Stewart Museum and enjoyed it. Do you know Roger La Roche? He's a member here and on the Facebook group. He worked very hard on that and a number of other exhibits. He even convinced a museum to host me for a book signing! We were in Montreal for a few days then and enjoyed it, as always, and were able to spend some time walking the old Expo site. We're hoping to get back that way this Fall. Can I pick up my light then? :)

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Hi Bill -

I do not know Roger but I am pleased to hear that he was a contributor to these exhibits.  I hope your book signing was a huge success and that it brought you lots of bucks.  And speaking of money, the Retro 67 fixture will set you back just..................................................................... $1967-------------Canadian !! What a deal ! Transport and assembly not included.

All kidding aside,  I'm glad you liked the fixture.  There is an original one (pictured below) in the Museum of Fine Arts in Quebec City along with other urban furniture recovered and put on display. Cheers!

 

Lampadaire d'Expo 67

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You should make contact with Roger. He is #1 out there with Expo information, and a nice guy to boot.

Where do I send my check?

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I will try to hook up with him when I get back from my holidays.  I also wanted to ask you if you ever read a proposal for a follow-up exposition in Montreal for 2017 entitled : Expo 17 - A World's Fair in Montreal.  It was conceived for the promotion and planning for a world's fair in Montreal but not associated with the city or any government body.  It was published in 2007 and Yves Jasmin was one of the contributors.  The internet site is no longer available but I downloaded the 50-page document a while ago.  So, if you've never heard of it and you would like to read it, let me know.  Having gone through the growing pains the first time in the 60s, the planners in this proposal put forth an interesting concept while carrying over themes from Expo 67 and building on ideas like Habitat yet with a stronger focus on affordable family housing 50 years later. 

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I believe the website for the proposed Expo 17 is still available although the idea never got off the ground.

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Yes, I had been in touch with the Expo 17 people, and offered use of my photos to help their efforts. Sadly the project didn't succeed. It was a great try though.

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Hi Bill and nice to know you Jim....I appreciate the feedback.   I am slowly learning that members here are well-versed on the subject of Expo 67 so I may not be offering up anything new.  As for Expo 17, it was just as well that Montreal did not go ahead due to the sorry fact that Montreal highways and interchanges are currently being rebuilt. It would have been a horror story for millions of visitors to encounter the traffic jams, detours and damaged roadways....not attractive at all. However, with the new Champlain bridge to be completed in June 2019 and most of the roadway modernization to be completed in a couple of years, Montreal could look ahead with confidence to hosting such an event in, say...... 2027? Yep, I am the eternal optimist !

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A gentleman named Marvin Rotrand who is the Montreal councilman for Snowdon (Cote-des Neiges--Notre Dame de Grace) has suggested that the city begin preparations to make a formal proposal to the BIE to host an Expo 30.  His ideas appeared in the Montreal Gazette on February 6, 2019.

Welcome to this site, Ron.  We all learn from each other so please keep posting.

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I did read that article last month and I think he's got the right idea.  I only disagree with the year he chose to host such an event in 2030....I think 2027 has a better ring to it with the number seven linking it to the previous spectacle presented in the 60s..... but hey, I'm just splitting hairs at this point. 

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Ron, I think it has more to do with the influence of the BIE and their granting of various types and sizes of expositions.  I believe that makes 2030 the earliest possibility and it allows for a an excellent t amount of time for planning and preparation.

Having said this, it doesn't appear that Mr Rotrand's proposal has received much support or at least I have not seen any further news stories about this idea.

Jim

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