Memories of Expo ’67

On the occasion of Canada’s 150th birthday I wanted to document my memories of Canada’s 100th birthday and of  Expo ’67.

The 100th birthday of Canada was a VERY big deal. I vividly remember the centennial money with different animals on each coin. A bird on the penny. Without looking it up, I think there was a rabbit on one coin (nickle?) and maybe a leopard on another (the quarter?) I can’t picture what was on the dime and don’t want to disturb my memories by looking it up. (P.S. after sleeping on it, I am pretty sure it was a fish on the dime.) Many many people collected the coins.

This 100th birthday occurring when I was just seven years old really shaped my sense of patriotism and being a Canadian. It was part of the reason that I had to be a Montreal Canadians fan even when the Boston Bruins became the popular team in the early 1970’s.

I attended Expo for a number of days that Summer. We were a family of two parents and five kids ranging in age from 3 to 11. We traveled by car from Cape Breton Nova Scotia to the Expo site pulling a travel trailer ans stayed in a trailer park. Traveling with us, in a separate car, towing their own trailer was my Mother’s sister and her husband with three kids aged about 5 to 10 as well as a grandmother.

I don’t have a lot of memories, but a few are quite vivid. There were two mono-rails to get around the site. I think us kids found the monorails to be a real high-light. One on these went through the American pavilion, the big silver and glass geodesic dome.

I remember it was crowded and we lined up to get into the various county pavilions.

I recall a souvenir shop where some carved wooden flutes were bought for the older boys. My Mother still has some drinking glasses with the centennial logo in her cabinet.

One day my family stopped at some tables and I kept going, following the grandmother’s grey bun of hair. She brought me back to the tables.

There was an amusement park and I recall riding on a giant Ferris Wheel where a whole family could sit in seats that were like bowls. It seems to me that for some reason there was not much of a line up which seems odd.

I clearly remember on our last day we were handed pamphlets about the next World Expo taking place in Japan in 1970. And what I recall is thinking how very far in the future that was!

I was briefly back to the Expo site with my parents and siblings in either 1971 or 1972 and the amusement park remained and I don’t think much else. The America Geodesic dome was still there.

I was again back to the site with my own kids around 2005. We rode the subway out to the site. I was extremely disappointed to see that, as far as I could tell, there was not a single sign in English to indicate I was at the old Expo site. I believe the amusement park was still there. Also I saw the remnants, a concrete floor, from a couple of the old pavilions. The Swedish one I believe.

I also recall that at age seven I thought it might be nice to come back for the 200th centennial a 100 years in the future at my age 107! That is probably extremely unlikely. But if I do make it, perhaps this documentation of my memories will come in handy.