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Throwback Thursday: The 1967 Expo in Montreal

July 17, 2014

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the New York World’s Fair. And some publications, such as the New York Times, have done a wonderful job of commemorating the occasion with some unique feature stories.ExpoPostcard

Three years later, an event took place closer to Michigan’s borders that was equally momentous. Today, on Throwback Thursday, we’d like to commemorate it.

The 1967 International and Universal Exposition, more commonly known as Expo 67,  took place in Montreal, Canada, April 27 to October 29, 1967. More than 500,000 visitors showed up for its third day, which is still an all-time record for such an event.

It took place after four years of stormy political drama and ceaseless construction that included the formation of man-made islands in the St. Lawrence River. Given the theme “Man and His World,” it was a fair dotted with country pavilions – something Disney’s Epcot Center would attempt to duplicare several years later.

One of the fair’s most unique contributions was Habitat 67 (in the postcard at right), or simply Habitat, a new style of apartment construction pioneered by Israel-Canadian architect Moshe Safdie, who originally came up with the idea as part of a thesis project at Montreal’s McGill University. Now an internationally known architect whose work has included the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, Safdie is still widely credited  for pioneering a new concept in pre-fabricated and modular housing that – surprisingly, to some – never was fully embraced. “CBS Sunday Morning” recently did an interesting profile of Safdie.

So why are we highlighting Expo 67? Because in the course of our work over the last few years, we’ve come across slides, photos, postcards and even films of the event. So we thought it might be time to spotlight them.

First, let’s take a look at a few Kodachrome slides we scanned of the pavilions and other highlights.

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Finally, here are two movies that we converted: The first is the official 8mm Expo film, which could be purchased at the fair as a souvenir. Like many educational films of the day, it was made with cheap chemicals. Hence, the garish red tint to the print.

More interesting (at least to our eyes) is a Super 8 home movie filmed by a local family who happens to be one of our clients. It really captures the essence of Expo 67, we think. Enjoy!

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