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Jim

Site Magazine: Expo 67 Back To The Future

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The Site Magazine has an insightful article relating to Expo 67 and its physical demise over fifty years.  The loss of actual structures reflects the loss of Expo's ideals and hopes for the future according to author Sinisha Brdar.  With the completion of the planned transformation of Ile Ste. Helene into a concert venue with a vast open promenade where pavilions once stood, the author's ideas take on a powerful meaning.  It can be found at: https://www.thesitemagazine.com/read/back-to-the-future

I hope the link works.  It's a thought provoking article.

Allow me to add:  Oh my god, the link actually works.

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This article is interesting but unfortunately has several historical errors. It's unacceptable that a University professor does not have a better insight of the history of a site before publishing an article. As an exemple, he is still validating the urban myth that most of the landfill used for the constrcution of the Expo 67 island site came from the metro excavation. In reality, the amount of metro landfill covered about 10 to 12 % of the total material used. Most of the landfill came from the bottom of the St-Lawrence River and several stone Quarry in Montreal and the South Shore... And by the way, total countries present in 1967 was 61, not 62.

The photos used for the article are voluntarily misleading. As an example, the Notre-Island shows the waste water treatment plant… not the actual site who, of course needs work but with the Plage Jean Doré, several actual 1967 pavilion well renovated, like the Jamaica Pavilion and the Canadian pavilion Art Center is a rather good representation of the 1967 site, or at least the 1980 Floralie.

Last year, a public consultation on the future of the site was held, with an extremely good participation and with close to a hundred written presentation from citizen and groups. The documents are available here: http://ocpm.qc.ca/fr/parcjeandrapeau/documentation 

The final report : http://ocpm.qc.ca/sites/ocpm.qc.ca/files/pdf/P94/rapport_final_parc_jean-drapeau.pdf 

RIght now, the complete renovation of Place des Nations is planned, with a public consultation for the final plan

There is actually  a full patrimonial study being done on the full site, including La Ronde which will be made public by the end of 2019 and a Fondation is being set-up to preserve and renovate patrimonial buildings and art work in La Ronde, which I'm currently presiding

I could go on but what's important is that a lot of work (and money) will be put in the site to preserve and develop tha historical values of the site, from the First Nation occupation of St. Helen Island, its military history, including it's used as a concentration camp (mostly for Italien prisonners) during WWII up to the Expo 67 and Man His World years.

 

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This is part of Notre-Dame Island: 

CAN_B_MT1967-PH-683.thumb.jpg.83a9637f3f8e11c4764608de028ad6c0.jpg

 

 

CAN_B_MT1967-PH-662.jpg

 

 

And St. Helen ISland with the Biosphere (old Us Pavilion) - the buildings in the back are from Nun's Island, not the Expo site

CAN_C_MT1967-PH-1629.jpg

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Thanks, James, for the original link, and thanks, Roger, for the correcting info and some beautiful pictures showing the site in a much better light than in the article. When I was there in 2017 I was impressed by how good much of the site looked. Yes, there were some rough spots, but it was nowhere near as bad as the article would have you think.

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I found this photograph of Ile Ste. Helene taken about a year ago.  It shows the dramatic changes on the island, specifically the Expo site.  I would bet the lone standing Korea pavilion is toast.

https://www.alamy.com/saint-helens-island-montreal--canada-image210480981.html

I did not catch the specific errors in the Expo article, but I remain aware of the overall concept of what the erasure of Expo legacies does suggest.  We've discussed this idea with the two NYWF's as well as other expositions.  For example, the demolition of the 1939 Trylon and Perisphere and the fact that the steel was recycled for the War effort flies in the face of the glorious "world of tomorrow" theme as does the transformation of the Times Square Trylon and Perisphere information center into a military recruiting booth.  

Exposition dreams are often lost when demolition begins.

Umm, once again, I am stunned that I have correctly posted a link.  Oh my god, you can teach an old dog new tricks.

PS:  I did notice the endnote about the 1896 exposition.  I recall that Montreal did consider hosting such an event about that time, but there was no significant world exposition in 1896.  There were several small, localized exhibitions mainly in Europe, but nothing as grand as the great fairs of the era.

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I noticed that the Wikipeda entry on Expo 67 indicates 60 nations participated while the Library and Archives of Can ada states that there were 62 participating nations.

The Canadian Encyclopedia states there were 120 governments  participating in 60 pavilions.

A 2014  review of Expo published in The Atlantic by Inderbir Singh Riar (Expo 67, Or The Architecture of Late Modernity) states that 65 nations were represented at Expo. This was his PhD thesis for Columbia University.

And the BIE states, on their website, that 62 nations participated as does British Pathe News.

A website devoted to Expo (JDP ECON) states, in French, that Expo hosted 59 nations and two colonies.

 

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