“It (Lownsbrough 4-5; “Expo 67”). During the

“It was the world coming to us, in a joyous fashion.” This sentiment from Expo 67 attendee Paul Laurendeau truly exemplifies the nature of Montreal’s Expo 67, held from April 27th to October 29th in the midst of Canada’s centennial celebrations (Ha). The first Category One world exhibition to be held in North America, over 55 million attendees from around the world came to this bustling Canadian city to see Expo 67 present a captivating vision for the future (Lownsbrough 4-5; “Expo 67”). During the 186 days Expo 67 was held, not only did it highlight a vision of a cosmopolitan society, it also provoked a series of ethical discussions, and showcased a future of technological prowess and thriving cities for the world. Thus, it is safe to say that the vision presented at this world’s fair was ultimately one of unity and hope for the future – one that is especially relevant today, given the world’s current tensions.Amidst conflicts such as the Cold War and Korean War, Expo 67 crafted a cosmopolitan vision for the world, where Canada would serve as a welcoming place for all to call home. During the six months of Expo 67, a whopping 62 nations participated in the world fair’s celebrations (Bolotta et al. 225). With the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) designating Expo 67 as a Category One Expo, these participating nations were forced to build their own pavilions (Lownsbrough 4-5). One by one, nations from Thailand to Tunisia joined in, bringing with them pavilions that resulted in “a kaleidoscope of cultures and languages” (“Expo 67 – Main Index to Pavilions, Themes, etc.”; mtltv). These buildings came from all over the world – the Ethiopian pavilion alone travelled three continents to arrive at Montreal – and with these buildings came a plethora of foreign music, fashion and food (British Pathe). This explosion of culture, from exotic African dresses to grand symphonies and theatrical productions, was completely new to many Canadians and awed most who had the privilege to witness it (Ha; British Pathe). Unstable world conditions could not ruin the celebrations either – the Americans and Russians, despite being the two opposing superpowers in the most vicious war since WW2, managed to set aside their differences to share in the common experience of humanity (British Pathe). Even Vietnam War protesters at the U.S. pavilion were not met with divisive conflict but rather cans of Coke (“Anti-Vietnam protesters in U.S. pavilion at Expo 67 – CBC Archives”). Serving as a token of unity, this pure exchange of kinship showed at its essence how united and jubilant the world was at the time. Expo 67 allowed Canada to welcome others, open its eyes to the benefits of multiculturalism, and provide a warm hug of humanity in the face of numerous atrocities. According to current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, “diversity is Canada’s strength,” and a remarkable strength it is. To this day, Canada still stands as a welcoming nation, from accepting those dispossessed from post-war Europe to more recently accepting 25,000 Syrian refugees from war-torn Syria. While other nations turn their backs on refugees and immigrants, Canada prides itself on the exact opposite, electing to build bridges instead of walls. Ultimately, it is Expo 67’s vision of optimism and unity that people of all ages, including the Millennial generation, need to relearn and strive for – that when people and nations open themselves to the world, we all benefit.Although Expo 67 helped Canada and the world band together, it also presented hard societal questions and great technological advancements for the future. The site for the world’s fair was an incredible feat to construct, built with 28 million metric tons of rock taken from the St. Lawrence River, St. Lawrence Seaway project, and Montreal metro (Government of Canada). Many exciting new technologies were featured, such as space gadgets, automated minirails, experimental film technology (now known as IMAX), and interactive, choose-your-own-adventure-style movies – it was certainly a booming time for the sector (British Pathe; Banerjee and Bergeron; “An Expo 67 Kaleidoscope”). However, technology was not the sole focus of this expo. Straying from past Expos, most which served as vessels to flaunt nations’ accomplishments, Montreal chose to focus on humanity’s relationship with the Earth, an idea carried throughout the world’s fair (Lownsbrough 5). Particularly, they explored the relationships between humans and ideas such as the environment through their pavilions (Government of Canada). One such pavilion, Habitat 67, was an experimental housing project that provided an affordable solution to urban sprawl (Carter). Another two, Man the Producer and Man the Provider, together highlighted the need to use the natural resources on the Earth effectively and respectfully (“Expo 67 – Main Index to Pavilions, Themes, etc.”). Expo 67 presented a world where technology would increasingly influence humans’ lives, and cities would be designed in approaches similar to new urbanism, a concept promoting sustainable cities where people can live, work and thrive. While this ultimately had an impact on the cityscapes of Canada – as with Vancouver’s Granville Island and Winnipeg’s Forks – this vision for the future needs to be revisited (“An Expo 67 Kaleidoscope”). As life continues onto the 21st century and faces new problems, including overpopulation, automation, AI, and the environment, it is imperative that both the older generation and the generation of tomorrow reflect back on Expo for a hard look at the vision and ideas needed to solve the world’s problems today.With multiple thought-provoking discussions, technological feats, and a cosmopolitan atmosphere all filling the 1000 acres of Expo 67, this world exhibition’s vision of unity and hope for the future is certainly relevant today, and more so than ever before (British Pathe). With current issues (some just as serious in 1967 as they are now) from the Syrian refugee crisis to climate change presenting challenges for the world, Expo 67 serves as a reminder that when humans work together to advance for a higher standard of living, everyone wins. Today’s social climate provides prime opportunities in activism, and Millennials will definitely harness that to fight for the future they believe in. The generation of tomorrow will benefit from Expo 67’s vision for the future, and while the events of 1967 are different from the events of today, the basic struggle and vision for a better tomorrow still remains.

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