The Montreal World Exposition 1967
A festival for Canada's independence
Year: || 1967|
|Duration: ||28th April - 27th October 1967
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Copyright: Baumeister, Bd. 64, Juli 1967, S. 851
As so often the case with world exhibitions, a jubilee was also the appropriate reason for Expo '67 in Montreal, since at the end of the fifties Canada was looking for a fitting means of celebrating the centennial of the nation's existence as a federal state. Following the visit of the Canadian president Marc Drouin to Expo 1958 in Brussels and his euphoric report, politicians in the city, the state of Quebec and the whole country, as well as the business community of Montreal, were soon won over to the plan to stage a world exhibition. The political aim was to present the fragile confederation of Canada to the world as a unified nation. The mayor of Montreal was meanwhile also convinced that the exhibition would give decisive impetuses to the city's development.
Following the promise of financial assistance from the federal government, the government of the state of Quebec and the city in 1959, Montreal's application for a first-category world exhibition was submitted to the B.I.E. at the end of the year. At the next general assembly of the B.I.E. in May 1960, however, the choice fell on the candidature of Moscow issued by the Soviet Union, with which the fiftieth anniversary of the October revolution was to be celebrated. Yet Montreal was lucky: when the USSR withdrew its application in April 1962, the city ran again and was registered in November 1962 as the stager of Expo '67 with the B.I.E.
A law passed by the Second Chamber of the Federal Parliament in Ottawa formed the legal foundation for the "Compagnie canadienne de l'Exposition universelle et internationale de 1967", which was established in December 1962. The Montreal businessman Paul Bienvenu was appointed general secretary. As early as January 1963, invitations were sent out to 150 foreign nations; soon after, two islands in the middle of the Saint Lawrence river were chosen as the exhibition site and first construction work initiated. Following the resignation of Paul Bienvenu in September 1963, the office of general secretary was taken over by Pierre Dupuy, Canada's ambassador in Paris. During several trips to all continents, he successfully kindled a campaign for the world exhibition: by mid 1965, fifty-two nations had promised to take part in Expo '67.