Do not adjust your set. The Montreal Gazette’s front page on Friday is a flashback to the front page of this newspaper exactly 50 years ago, on the opening day of Expo 67.
The main headline of the April 28, 1967, front page says it all: “Mayor Calls For Eternal Expo As Greatest-Ever Fair Opens.”
For once, the hype was accurate. For the next six months, until Oct. 29, 1967, more than 50 million people flocked to the Expo site. Dignitaries. Celebrities. Families from all over Canada. And, of course, Montrealers.
I have not met a native Montrealer over the age of 55 who did not attend. If you grew up here in that era, you probably have fond memories of the minirail, the food and the colourful, multicultural thrum. Many of you even have your passports, stamped with the names of the pavilions you visited.
There seemed to be something in the air that made us believe Montreal was at the centre of the known universe. As the Gazette’s editorial said then:
Anyone who has been in Montreal in the last few days could not help being swept into the typhoon of excitement surrounding the opening of Expo. A joyful realization has seized the city.
We’ve posted a copy of the original page on our website, along with a couple of other pages from that day’s edition so you can enjoy some of the news stories and advertisements from 50 years ago.
One word about the Expo timeline: The 50-year-old front page talks about Gov.-Gen. Roland Michener “performing the honours” to open Expo. There was a launch for politicians and dignitaries April 27. The fair opened to the public on April 28.
We have also published a love letter to Expo written by longtime Gazette contributor Arthur Kaptainis. You can read his two-page article and enjoy some of our favourite Expo photographs.
That’s our salute to Expo. We’d like to hear yours.
Share your favourite Expo memories and photos and we’ll publish them in print and online later this spring. Please keep your anecdotes short — 400 words or less — and send them and your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org or our offices, Montreal Gazette, Suite 200, 1010 Ste-Catherine St. W., Montreal, H3B 5L1.
Please put the words “Expo 67” in the subject line of your email or on the outside of the envelope. And please do not mail us original photographs. We do not want to lose irreplaceable family memories.
I hope you will join us in the Expo 67 love-in. We’ll publish as many submissions as we can.
Fore more Expo content, click here.