Mod Design: Vintage Postcards of Expo 67

Forest Pavilion

Canada Forestry and Paper Pavilion

With the Rio Summer Olympics being just around the corner this prompted me to ponder the differences between the Olympics and the World Fairs.  While both are cultural showcases that bring together people of many nations to good-naturedly preen about their countries, World Fairs seem more ad hoc than the more structured, media spectacle of the Olympics.

Coinciding with Canada’s centennial in 1967, Montreal hosted what is considered to be one of the most successful World Fairs, which was the first to adopt the “Expo” moniker by which all subsequent World’s Fairs have been named.  As attested by these postcards, the various national pavilions at Expo 67 served as grand displays for then cutting-edge, very “mod” design and innovation.

40 responses

  1. Thanks for digging up these awesome pics, Brett. I was a young 4 year old boy when my family visited Expo. It’s among my earliest childhood memories.

  2. Wow, the memories this brings back. Where do you find this stuff Brett?
    I believe that the French and U.S. pavilions are the only ones still standing today, plus Habitat of course.

    • Retro images are good for that! 🙂

      Yes, most of the buildings fell into disrepair and were then demolished. That must happen to some extent after each World Fair or Expo eventually.

    • wow these are incredible. Was going to ask which if any remain and of course the wonderful Norm has answered that. What is Habitat like inside? Is it now residential or something else? Clearly I need to travel to Montreal!

  3. Reblogged this on Norm 2.0 and commented:
    Looking back into the future from almost 50 years ago. Great post that brings back some of my earliest childhood memories.
    FYI This is also how the Montreal Expos baseball team got their name.

  4. Thanks for the walk down memory lane Brett. I grew up in Montreal and I was 8 when Expo 67 became a national celebration of our centennial year. I had a season “passport” and I was given a stamp for every pavillion I visited and I saw them all. I was too young to notice the separatist rumblings that began to rumble after President Charles De Gaulle of France delivered his “vive le Quebec libre” speech that summer. I was too busy riding the roller coaster at La Ronde which was the amusement park at Expo 67. Good times!

    • What a fun time for an 8 year old! As to de Gaulle’s speech, which took place at the Expo that year, it seems still to be reverberating all these many years later.

  5. Very nostalgic. I lived too far from Montreal to get a chance to go to Expo in 1967 but Pierre went almost everyday as he lived in Montreal. He also has a complete collection of the pavilion poscards and some souvenir booklets. Next year there will be a number of exhibitions celebrating Expo 67…(Suzanne)

  6. I remember it quite well, I was only 11 at the time, Expo67 was nothing short of fantastic and all of it built for a world still full of hope and possibilities. The Olympic Games in Montreal in 1976 were quite a different affair and I really do not see links between World Fairs and Olympic Games with all of its scandals of drugs and corrupt officials. The post cards of Expo67 are superb.

  7. wow… this just popped into my head “come on, come all, to Expo 67 Montreal” jingle. It must have been a promotional ad because I lived down on Long Island then. I went there in 1972 when I was in school in Potsdam, NY, and it was still open. Amusement park with rides and several of the pavilions were there, For some reason, there was a ride called the Tampon. Red China’s building stands out in my mind. And a building with lots of small pyramids that had a movie about Erich Von Daniken’s theories about aliens having come to earth. Thanks for this.

  8. These are wonderful and bring back many memories! I was very young, but have vague recollections of being taken to Expo 67 by my parents. One thing that stands out was how cool i thought it was that the elevated train ran right through the American pavilion!

    It was such an optimistic and hopeful time for this country and Montreal, my home town, was at its height in prominence among Canadian cities.

    Thank you for posting these, Brett, and for the trip down memory lane.

  9. It was a great event by that time. I did not live in Canada in 1967 but I remember how impressive was the catalog with color pictures from this huge exhibition. Now I can go and see this place and I did it many times while in Montreal.

  10. I have seen the remains of the Olympics but not the Expo much. Maybe two things. Wish they’d left more. Seems such a waste. Interesting era.

  11. WOW! I can’t believe it’s been that long. Thanks for the trip back in time. I was 12 and two memories stay with me from that Expo summer: standing in line for one of the pavilions with hundreds of people and realizing I could get trampled in the crowd and seeing that iconic scene from Gone With the Wind in the American Pavilion. I bought the book the next day 🙂

    • Well, Canadian arts and culture is a fairly broad topic so it provides lots of latitude for directions in which to go. Thanks for your nice comment. 🙂

  12. I went to the World’s Fair Expo in 1964. It was certainly a delightful memory at age 9. It’s a Small World ride was my favorite but the space age and dinosaurs also showed where the world had been and where it was going into the future. . . Thank you for showing what a few years later in 1967 looked like, Brett. 😊

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