On this day in 1967, Expo 67, held in Montréal, Que. broke the attendance record of 42,973,561 visitors, set at the 1958 World’s Fair in Brussels.
The Canadian version of the World’s Fair was strategically planned to coincide with Canada’s centennial as a country, despite doubts from political and community leaders that it could or should take place in the province of Quebec. The international exposition lasted for six months, from April until October of that year.
With the theme “Man and His World,” most of the 62 participating countries in Expo 67 had their own national pavilions, while a few Canadian provinces and American states also had their own pavilions. Other pavilions represented particular industries or explored the relationships between human beings and universal themes such as health, the environment, and work.
After Expo 67 ended in October, the site and most of the pavilions continued on as an exhibition called “Man and His World,” open during the summer months from 1968 until 1981. By that time, most of the buildings – which had not been designed to last beyond the original exhibition – had deteriorated and were dismantled.
Today, the islands that hosted the world exhibition are mainly used as parkland and for recreational use, with only a few remaining structures from Expo 67 to show that the event was held there. The lands were renamed Parc Jean-Drapeau, in honour of the Montréal mayor who lobbied tirelessly to bring the World’s Fair to Canada.
While Canada did not release any official commemorative coins related to Expo 67 – the Mint was already busy producing Alex Colville’s Centennial designs – several medallions were produced as souvenirs, including one for the Canadian and Ontario pavilions.