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Chmnofbrd

The park in 1970

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This Jan. 1970 article looks at the state of the park. It would get drastically worse in the next few years before it got better.

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It doesn't actually say glide-a-rides, it says "old fair tractor-trains".

Is my foggy brain playing tricks on me by vaguely recollecting somebody saying that at one time there were one or two of the old '39-40 trams plying the park?

Somebody here like Mr. Aybar or Hoodlock maybe could shed some light on their recollections of what was chugging around the park in the late 60's.

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I was wondering about that as well, Randy. I remember that the 39-40 ones were used to give tours of the grounds before constrruction began. It will be interesting to see what people add on the post 65 years.

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Oh yes they most definitely were the Glide-A-Rides. I know because my family and another family spent an aftrenoon riding on them in 1971 or 72 when we visited the park.

My 9 year old brain remembers them as being beige at the time....is that possible? My sisters and friends and I were dead tired from walking around so my Mom thought it would be a nice treat to let us sit for bit. We were the only ones on the tram and we thought we were so cool. We created a litle song:

"Too bad ya gotta walk, you can't sit down and relax!"

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I am curious as to the purpose of those trams still running in 1970. Was there that much to see in the Park at that time? Were there that many people that would make such a service needed and/or profitable? Wasn't just about everything concentrated around the NYC Building and in the area around the Hall of Science? Were these simply quick transport and, if so, for what purpose?

I remember riding on the Mini Train at Terre des Hommes in 1976 in Montreal. The ride around and through abandoned pavilions on Ile Notre Dame was surreal. The buildings remained but the island was deserted on ground level.

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I am curious as to the purpose of those trams still running in 1970. Was there that much to see in the Park at that time? Were there that many people that would make such a service needed and/or profitable? Wasn't just about everything concentrated around the NYC Building and in the area around the Hall of Science? Were these simply quick transport and, if so, for what purpose?

I suppose to give people a break from walking. I'm sure it didn't cost much. I don't even think we went to the HOS. I remember it was a warm day and we had ices. I think we went to the zoo 'cause it was free.

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Bill, I just saw your reply. Yes, it was an amazing experience. Actually, I was attending the Olympic summer games in Montreal and we spent an evening at Man and His World. It was a warm night and we saw that the Mini Train was operating. By then, all of the attractions were located on Ile Sainte Helene and Ile Notre Dame appeared to be pretty well abandoned. The pavilions remained, of course--or at least most of them. The large stylistic flag on the British pavilion had been replaced with a Quebec flag, I believe. I believe the West German Pavilion was gone but virtually everything else remained (although most buildings had become different exhibits after Expo ended in October of 1967).

The Mini Train boarded on Ile Sainte Helene and then crossed onto Ile Notre Dame and, of course, returned to its station so we did pass through the US geodesic dome (on Ile Sainte Helene) which was, at that time, an aviary. If I correctly recall, it was later that summer that it burned and it remained abandoned until it was restored in the 1990's as the Biosphere. The translucent skin has never been replaced however. It was also about this time that the pavilion of Ontario (between Quebec and Canada on Ile Notre Dame) also caught fire and burned to the ground.

The entire ride was rather strange. It was like a futuristic ghost town. Everything was still there. I distinctly remember the French and Quebec pavilions and even the fountains were working all over the island. Even the street lamps were lit and many pavilions were brightened by spotlights. However, the massive Canadian Pavilion Katimavik (the inverted pyramid) which still stood--was silent and dark. The only thing missing was the people.

I wish I had thought to have brought a camera with me. What I saw that night were the remnants of a great world's fair. It was Expo frozen in time. The buildings remained for another ten years or so but I understand that they fell into great disrepair and they were not used again. Even the maintained pavilions on Ile Sainte Helene were in bad shape at the end. But I certainly do not blame the Canadians (and Montrealers in particular) for trying to preserve their great fair. I wish that they had been actually able to do so. What a sight it would be today.

A few pavilions remain on Ile Notre Dame: a portion of the Canadian Pavilion (minus the Katimavik) and the pavilions of France and Quebec are the Casino de Montreal. Several smaller structures remain. I believe the South Korean pavilion remains on Ile Sainte Helene as does Calder's sculpture, "Man"--although it has been moved to a location on the opposite side of the island. Place des Nations remains as well with its enormous Expo logo carved into one of its concrete walls.

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I think we've heard that the Soviets didn't waste much time dismantling their Pavilion after '67, and returning it to Moscow (where it was reassembled and sits today), right?

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I believe that is correct. There are some photographs of the demolition and removal of the Soviet Pavilion on a website devoted to Expo. I will try to locate that web address and post it. It is interesting that the US and Soviet Pavilions were very close to one another although separated by the LeMoyne Channel. It was sort of a Cold War showdown. It was the face off between Germany and the Soviets in 1937 in Paris.

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This is the website address for the Canadian Government Archives website on Expo 67.

<a href="http://www.collectionscanada.ca/05/0533/053302_e.html" target="_blank">http://www.collectionscanada.ca/05/0533/053302_e.html</a>

Go the the section marked "Legacy" and scroll down and click on the Man and His World link and it will display at least one photograph of the demolition of the Soviet Pavilion and the fire at the Ontario Pavilion.

They can put a man on the moon but they can't come up with a web address that is easy to type.

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I remember visiting "Man and His World" around 1971 and was thrilled to see how much of Expo they had been able to retain. It made me all that more the sadder that New York had not done the same thing with their fair. I wonder what finally killed "Man and His World"? One of the pictures at that legacy link shows a pretty good size crowd around 1974. Anyone know when and why they finally pulled the plug?

Too bad you didn't have a camera, Jim, but perhaps another visitor here will some up with some photos in the future.

Bill

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It ended, in large part, because it became too difficult to maintain deteriorating buildings. It was simply too difficult to repair structures that were never designed to last for almost over twenty years. Man and His World closed in the mid-1980's I recall, and the buildings met their end in the late 1980's. I have read that the site had begun to look so worn that the numbers of visitors began to drop off each summer and each year the place shrank a little more as another building closed or was demolished. The only portion of Expo which continued to prosper and still remains is La Ronde, the amusement park. This park had existed prior to Expo and was enlarged for the fair. It remains today and is very popular. There are traces of Expo there--the aquarium, some of the attractions and a portion of the Mini Train still operates there--or did as recently as 1999.

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I was last in Montreal in 2003 and made it to some of the Expo site, but we didn't have time to get to La Ronde. Reading your description made me wish I had - I would love to ride the mini-train again! It was really nice walking through the park, which is a beautiful setting indeed set there in the river. I couldn't help but notice how better maintained it was than FMCP.

I figured the buildings were probably wearing out, and that their size and design would make them expensive to maintain. As you said, they weren't intended to last like they did, and the fact "Man and His World" went as long as it did is quite a testament to the original builders.

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I visited Man and His World in Aug. of 1977. I believe that the park closed in 1978. I do have about 20 or so pictures I took the day my friend and I visited. I'll try to pst them.

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I visited Man and His World in Aug. of 1977. I believe that the park closed in 1978. I do have about 20 or so pictures I took the day my friend and I visited. I'll try to pst them.

Great - I look forward to seeing them!

Bill

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Yes, the GP is held each year on Ile Notre Dame. Also, a portion of the island was altered to create a regatta basin for the 1976 Olympic Games. This is the area where the pavilions of Great Britain, France, Germany etc. stood. Just beyond where the pavilion of Canada stood is a large fresh water swimming area created in the 1980's and it has a sandy beach and a wave machine (it is a small lake and not a part of the river). Also, in 1980, Montreal hosted an international garden festival and much of Ile Notre Dame was re-landscaped and planted with beautiful gardens and small parks, most of which remain today.

Parc Jean Drapeau has much more vitality than Flushing Meadow partly because of its proximity to the city and easy access via Metro and partly because of its beautiful views and prime location on the water. It is very pleasant in the summer. It has dozens of attractions (La Ronde, Biosphere, Casino, swimming in pools or in the lake, restaurants and even a museum). It is also the site of annual events (winter festival, summer fireworks competitions, the Grand Prix etc.). And it hosts international events the most recent of which was an international swimming competition last summer. It is really a very beautiful spot that well serves the city of Montreal.

Man and His World officially closed in the early autumn of 1981.

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Hi everyone:

For the record, there were NO "glide-a-rides" back in 1970. All of them were gone out of the park between 1966 and 1967. There were some tractor trains (blue and purple colored) though operated by the park's concessionaire (RA), which were old and worn out (I believe they came from the Bronx Zoo). After reading some of the posts here, some of you have a great imagination thinking that Greyhound left there vehicles intact--post fair!

The newspaper article had highlighted the park as being a future focal point for sports and other activities only to fall prey later on to neglect with a city without any money to pay for general maintenance. FMCP, in 1970, was falling quickly apart EVERYWHERE and one really cared since public attendance was extremely low.

It is difficult to believe as well as there were uniformed guards stationed at the US Pavilion and NYS Pavilion up to 1970 to protect from vandalism and looting. I could go on...but I will keep it for another time.

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Most of the glide-a-rides went to Atlantic City as have been stated in the past. Also the

Uniroyal Ferris wheel guts was bought by the Steel Pier.

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Yes, the GP is held each year on Ile Notre Dame. Also, a portion of the island was altered to create a regatta basin for the 1976 Olympic Games. This is the area where the pavilions of Great Britain, France, Germany etc. stood. Just beyond where the pavilion of Canada stood is a large fresh water swimming area created in the 1980's and it has a sandy beach and a wave machine (it is a small lake and not a part of the river). Also, in 1980, Montreal hosted an international garden festival and much of Ile Notre Dame was re-landscaped and planted with beautiful gardens and small parks, most of which remain today.

Parc Jean Drapeau has much more vitality than Flushing Meadow partly because of its proximity to the city and easy access via Metro and partly because of its beautiful views and prime location on the water. It is very pleasant in the summer. It has dozens of attractions (La Ronde, Biosphere, Casino, swimming in pools or in the lake, restaurants and even a museum). It is also the site of annual events (winter festival, summer fireworks competitions, the Grand Prix etc.). And it hosts international events the most recent of which was an international swimming competition last summer. It is really a very beautiful spot that well serves the city of Montreal.

Man and His World officially closed in the early autumn of 1981.

Basin did not affect Britain and French Pavillion - French Pavilion is now the Casino

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