The international World’s Fair held in Montreal during Canada’s Centennial Summer of 1967.1 Expo 67 became an immediate symbol of a new, modern, hip, confident and youthful Canada, marking, both at the time and in retrospect, Canada’s “coming of age”. As in so many cases, a good deal of Canadian pride regarding Expo stemmed from the international media affirmation it received, toasted on the covers of publications such as Life and Paris Match. And the global flavour of the fair, with pavilions from 59 nations, was an early expression of Canada’s unique attachment to diverse world cultures.
Most of all, though, Expo was a generational demarcation point – from the stodgy, British, conservative Canada of the country’s first 100 years, to a new, bilingual, cosmopolitan, savvy and – above all – confident nation. This mood foretold, and was essential to, the Trudeaumania that infected Canadian voters a year later.
Through Canada’s various unity crises and political and economic ups and downs over the succeeding five decades, Expo 67 has been held up, especially by those baby-boomers who enjoyed their own personal coming of age during that same period, as a bright, fleeting, golden moment for Canada, when all good things seemed possible.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons