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Sketches of Canada for April 27th!

Canadian History for Kids: Expo '67

April 27, 1967 – Prime Minister Lester Pearson officially opens l’Exposition universelle de Montréal – Expo ’67.

This Canadian History for Kids exclusive, looks at Expo ’67.

This Canadian History for Kids tale starts with how Expo 67 was Canada’s main celebration during its centennial year. The fair was originally intended to be held in Moscow, however, for various reasons, the Soviets decided to cancel, and Canada was awarded it in late 1962.

Expo did not get off to a smooth start. In 1963, many top organizing officials resigned. One of the reasons for the resignations was that a computer program predicted that the event could not possibly be constructed in time.

This Canadian History for Kids article continues in May 1963, when a group of famous Canadian thinkers — including Alan Jarvis, director of the National Gallery of Canada and novelist Hugh MacLennan — met for three days at the Seigneury Club in Montebello, Quebec and decided the theme of the expo would be, “Man and His World”.

Construction started on August 13, 1963, when Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson pulled a lever that signaled a front-end loader to dump the first batch of fill to enlarge Île Sainte-Hélène. Expo’s initial period of construction mainly centered on enlarging Île Ste-Hélène and creating the artificial island of Île Notre-Dame.

Official opening ceremonies were held on Thursday afternoon, April 27, 1967. Prime Minister Pearson ignited the Expo flame. On hand were over 7,000 media and invited guests including 53 heads of state. Over 1,000 reporters covered the event, and it was broadcast live via satellite, to a worldwide audience of over 700 million viewers and listeners.

This Canadian History for Kids article continues with an estimated crowd of between 310,000 and 335,000 visitors showing up for opening day. Expo 67 closed on Sunday afternoon, October 29, 1967. On the final day 221,554 visitors added to the more than 50 million (50,306,648) that attended Expo 67 at a time when Canada’s population was only 20 million.

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.

And that’s this week’s Canadian History for Kids, exclusive!
 

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