FOR 183 DAYS-SHOWPLACE OF THE WORLD: expo67
By 1968, Canada may have a worldwide reputation for doing things properly—and the main reason for this unaccustomed image will be Expo 67. This month, as landscapers manicure a site which carpers said couldn't be ready in time, it's at last possible to glimpse the Fair's final shape. And the news is not just that we're staging the biggest show the world's ever seen, but that it's being done with flair, efficiency and fantastic taste. Here, in forty-nine chapters, is a discursive report on what Expo visitors will do and see / Produced by Ian Adams and Desmond English
Expo opens on April 28... runs 183 days and closes on October 27, 1967.
This is Expo's site. It’s as big as downtown Toronto and most of it didn’t exist two years ago. It took more dirt fill than the pharaohs lavished on the pyramids to create these instant islands. If you spent an hour at each exhibit, it would take you about three months to see everything.
An armchair exhibition
No automobiles are allowed on Expo’s 1,000 acres, but you'll never have to walk more than 400 yards to find transportation to some other area on the site. “A visitor’s enthusiasm at New York’s fair was quickly killed by all the walking he had to do,” says Philippe de Gaspé Beaubien, director of operations, who carefully cased the N.Y. fair. “We’re making sure it won’t happen at Expo.”
Every 135 seconds one of Expo’s eight six-car trains leaves Place d’Accueil, the main entrance to the fair. Ten minutes later, after making three stops en route through Expo’s main areas, it arrives at La Ronde amusement park at the other end of the site. The Expo Express is free, and the system carries 30,000 passengers per hour in each direction along the 3Vá miles of track. The trains travel at 23 miles per hour and are fully automated. Just the same, Expo is hiring uniformed students to sit in the control cabins. “It’s to reassure the passengers," explains engineer N. R. Gore. The students do have to push a button to close the doors. But the three minirails are really automated—don’t even have students.
If the grips applauds Ws a hitt
That’s a showbiz maxim. And at Expo the construction workers jumped at the chance to be the first buyers of the $20 million worth of passports that have already been sold.
m m FLOWERS
There has never been a sculpture exhibit quite like it — but then it cost $100,000. The major works of 50 of the 20th century’s greatest sculptors overflow a
60.000 - square - foot landscaped terrace so that some pieces have to stand among the rose bushes that border the south side of the Parc Ile Ste. Hélène. Among the 30 living artists represented are Arp, Calder, Moore, Chillida, Heiliger, and Teshigahara. And from the dead — Rodin, Gonzales. Lehmbruck, Brancusi, and Giacometti. Over on Cité du Havre there’s another $100,000 show. But this one is of hundreds of photographs, culled from some
20.000 from all over the world.
COLOR NOBODY LOST
You have to work hard to get lost at Expo. The site is broken up into color-coded areas. If you find yourself standing on a corner where all the railings, signs, litter baskets, and walls — “anything that doesn’t breathe or walk" — are painted red, you turn to the red pages in your official one-dollar guide book to find out exactly where you are.
ADT0KA7ED PI7CBHEN FOE 0NTAB10
This is Mr. Sportsman. He cost $20,000 and he delivers platitudes in a mechanical tone of voice. He’s one of five robot pitchmen you’ll find in Ontario’s pavilion, delivering tape-recorded spiels about the glories of living and making a living in Ontario. He
also flashes a lot of lights.
Gull’s-eye view of Expo
The most adventurous way to cross La Ronde is by the Sky Ride. In a fibreglass gondola, you soar at a height of 120 feet above all the glitter of the 35-acre amusement park and get a sweeping view of Montreal’s skyline.
THE F AIMES A CITY
You have to think of Expo as a city of 40,000 inhabitants — but a city geared to receive 200,000 visitors a day. The 39 restaurants with their 23,000 seats can serve 400,000 meals a
day. If you want to stand, there are 50 snack bars.
You’re driving? There’s space for you
Expo planners expect most of the fair’s 10 million visitors to come from within a 600mile radius of Montreal — and that most of them will arrive by car. To solve the massive traffic problem, they’ve built two vast parking lots near the two main entrances. Each is about a half-mile long and together they’ll hold 23,000 cars — which makes it the world’s biggest parking operation. All-day parking costs $2, and free buses will ferry you to the entrances from the far end of the lots.
Thrills! Spills! Astronauts
The focal point of La Ronde amusement park is the $2.5 million Gyratron. This spectacular ride, conceived by British stagedesigner Sean Kenny, begins when you step on a conveyor belt that takes you into the base of a pyramid 21 stories high. Inside, you transfer to a four-seater cabin that whirls you upward in a simulated space flight, past planets, stars, free-floating astronauts and plunging meteorites. After passing through a space station,
you shoot out into the open, and for a few seconds you hang 100 feet above the fair grounds. From there the cabin plummets into a volcano full of bubbling lava and steam. At the bottom, just before the seven-minute ride ends, a bugeyed metal monster reaches out with mechanical claws and swallows the cabin. "And right now,” says George Djurkovic, Kenny’s co-designer, “I’m dreaming up all kinds of frightful things to do to you while you're in the monster’s stomach.”
The Gyratron, like the other "big three" rides, costs one dollar for adults and 75 cents for children. All the others — altogether there are 26 of them — cost 50 cents for adults and 35 cents for children.
Expo’s smart fish
Alcan’s aquarium features educated porpoises. They’re
being trained in Florida.
Hoir about th\s for a tabor shortage: some Expo tradesmen are eomm ut in y from ttttaira
There you are, standing in line with 50 people ahead of you, all waiting to get into the Russian pavilion to see the space research planetarium. It's 3.30 in the afternoon and you’re beginning to feel a little gritty. You’re also bored and the kids are restless. Suddenly, four clowns roar up on a four-seater tandem. They all fall off this fantastic bike and for the next 10 minutes go through one of the funniest tumbling acts you’ve ever seen. Next thing you know, you’ve forgotten your sore feet and you’re at the head of the line. There’ll also be barbershop quartets pedaling around on this bike, providing the same kind of diversion. The bike itself isn't built yet: the CCM people in Hamilton are digging around in their basement trying to find the specifications for the last time they made such a machine — some 30 years ago. Don Haber, entertainment director, would prefer to use the singers in Expo's barber shops. But as he says, “It’s not difficult to find a singer who can pedal. But we're having a hard time finding barbers who can sing.”
YOU CAN SMELL EXPO
Simulation is the message at Expo: in the steel pavilion the floor vibrates, the "blast furnace" generates heat, and a smell machine emits fumes of molten steel. Another smell machine in the Ontario pavilion’s "coal mine" emits the dank odor of coal dust.
The wonderful silly machine
Expo’s oddest machine is in the Man The Producer pavilion. It's an automated factory that makes TV sets — then disassembles them and feeds the parts back into the hopper so they can be reassembled. Odd, what?
WHAT IT COSTS
Expo is still selling “passports.” They’re cut-rate admission passes that stay on sale until February 28, and they give you a week’s admission for $7.50 instead of $12, which will be the price when the fair opens. Teenagers pay $6.75, children under 12 pay $3.75. You can also buy bonus books that give you discounts on meals, drinks, scenic rides and the big guidebook. They’re on sale nearly everywhere — banks, department stores, United Cigar stores, company personnel offices and union offices.
Automated box office
As soon as you arrive at any one of the main Expo entrances you’ll see an electronic billboard 40 feet wide by 30 feet high. There are five others on the Expo site, all double-sided. Using a television roll-drum technique, they list the waiting times at each pavilion ("Seven minutes waiting in line to get into the Australian pavilion."} They also give the daily program, the weather, and the tickets still available for free shows put on at the pavilions of more than 70 nations. For instance: say you want to catch the 3 p.m. movie in the 600-seat theatre in the USSR pavilion. You walk over to an automatic ticket-vending machine and punch up the tickets you want for the show. As long as you arrive at the Russian pavilion 10 minutes ahead of time, those two free seats will be reserved for you. Plan, and you won’t have to wait anywhere.
What it’s all about
When you first saw the Expo symbol you probably thought it looked like a stylized maypole dance — so did John Diefenbaker. But now the design is internationally recognized as the symbol of Expo 67. It was created by Montrealer Julien Hébert to suggest brotherhood and friendship — and that’s what the Expo theme is all about.
it's all tlonv with— y vs !— mirrors
The chemical pavilion is really a huge kaleidoscope that you stroll through instead of looking through.
They have 240 smashinglooking girls who are the Expo hostesses. Some 3,000 girls applied. Each hostess has to speak at least English and French. Some, like Sonia Saumier, speak seven languages, including Russian and Japanese. Average age is 24. Their home phone numbers have been deleted from Expo's internal directory.
They need so much grass to land* scape the site that it’s being grown in Ontario. Quebec was unable to handle the order on its own.
If you want to know something, ask anyone wearing an Expo uniform — even the gardener standing there hosing the flower beds. He has been especially briefed to be helpful. And in the pocket of his uniform he has printed cards of what is going on today at Expo. Every time he goes off shift, his uniform — along with the others of his 3,000 fellow employees — will be hung on a rack to be cleaned. And when it comes out the other end, his pockets will be stuffed with cards for tomorrow’s program. “New York was very cold, impersonal," says one Expo man. “We’re making sure Expo will be a very personal fair."
Rent a guide—to wear in your ear
As you pass through any of Expo's main entrances, you can buy the official guide for one dollar and then you can rent a Teleguide for another dollar. It weighs about an ounce-and-a-half and fits inconspicuously over your ear. As soon as you step inside a “loop area" around a pavilion, your Teleguide starts receiving a taped message, giving you all the information about the structural complexi-
ties of the pavilion — who built it, what’s inside, and so on. There are some 200 “loops” at Expo. Some are installed on the minirails, so that you get your own private running commentary as you do a scenic tour of the Expo site. Others are in 25-foot radii around works of art. There’s also an exit loop that sets up a great shriek in the Teleguide if you've absent-mindedly slipped it into your pocket.
On lie Notre Dame, sampans, gondolas, Mexican flower boats, dhows — vessels from every nation in the world — ply the lagoons and canals of the island, each carrying from four to eight passengers. And all the time you’re serenaded with music from other boats. “If the transportation is used properly this will be a softies’ fair," says an Expo planner.
Lost-andfound TV show
Alexander, your six-yearold, has disappeared. Go to one of the closed-circuit TV screens scattered around the site. In a few minutes you’ll see him on the screen, holding "No. 38" and a message that’ll tell you exactly where he is.
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LOOK AT THEM MS ¡MANS!
You give your half-dollar to this character all dressed up like a voyageur, grab a paddle and step into the 24-foot war canoe with 15 other tourists. Then everyone starts paddling like mad across Lake Dolphin in La Ronde. Then, Holy White Missionaries! Here’s another war canoe full of yelling Indians, coming straight at you! Just when you’re about to be rammed, another canoe full of voyageurs intervenes. Then all these guys start throwing each other in the water. Lotsa fun.
Where to sleep?
You’ll need a place to stay when you come to see Expo. So write to Jacques Belanger of LOGEXPO, Montreal. Belanger and his staff of 60 are answering up to 350 requests every day. He has already made some 13,000 reservations for about 30,000 people, most of them from Ontario. Counting all the space being made available for next year, Belanger figures he will have beds for 160,000 people every day. The heaviest months are working out to be July, August, June — in that order. "You’ll always be able to get a bed,” Belanger insists. But if you leave your arrangements until you get to Montreal you may be billeted in the dormitory of a classical college. If you want to bring your tent, Belanger has information on 20,000 camp sites within a 75-mile radius of Montreal.
in Le Labyrinthe
Even from the outside the cube-shaped Labyrinth is mysterious, enticing. It’s supposed to be. It’s really a $4.5 million experiment in the controlled environment. And you are the white rat. Mazes, mirrors, music, lighting, and films on multiple screens combine to take you on a trip — without LSD. A special chest-high railing has been designed to stop those who might become disorientated enough to attempt suicide by leaping from the gallery that juts out 50 feet above a horizontal screen set in the floor of the first theatre. (If you’re only five feet tall, there are cut-away portions in the railing you can stick your head through.) Then there’s the maze through the giant translucent prisms. Film critic Wendy Michener ventured in for four minutes and was reduced to incoherence and tears.
The biggest funhouse in Canada
If La Ronde had a few more acres naturally attached, it could be called the biggest amusement park in the world. As it is, La Ronde is a 135-acre artificial extension of the Ile Ste. Hélène. It contains a 26acre marina, an 18-acre lake, park areas, and a 40-acre amusement area that will be going full blast 17 hours a day, providing 96 different attractions — ranging from the jazz strippers in Le Village to the 26 different rides in the Ride Centre.
La Ronde is intended for nothing else but fun and relaxation. It is the Gallic balance to the serious educational and cultural overtones of Expo’s Man-And-His-World theme. La Ronde is permanent and after Expo will be run by the city of Montreal. “It’s the east’s answer to Disneyland,’’ says La Ronde director Maurice Dubois with certain pride. But the fact is that Walt Disney had a big hand in the organization of La Ronde. He had breakfast with Expo’s big boss, Robert Shaw, at the Calgary Stampede. Disney, who has this soft spot for Canada, offered his advice free. Ever since his men have been on tap.
Everyone’s a star
In Swift Current, Saskatchewan, the 12-member Golden Prairie String Ensemble is busy practising. In St. Hyacinthe, Que., the 55-member Clique Maska marching band is marching. On Toronto’s Astor Street, the After Fours are rehearsing. In Kitimat, BC, the Mount Elizabeth High School choir is brushing up on its medley from My Fair Lady. In Cape Breton, miners are forming a choir. They’re all part of the 300 amateur groups that are on Expo’s entertainment program. Some 190 groups are already booked to play two or three shows each in Expo’s six bandshells. Another 100 are needed. "The message,’’ says Expo’s Glay Spurling, "is we need more pop groups.”
Expo 67 weather: from 40F. in spring and fall to 80F. in midsummer. Sunshine: 50%.
Among the six spectaculars staged in Expo’s 25,000-seat stadium: 700 men of
France’s historic military police force; with 110 performing horses, 32 dogs, 40 stunt-riding motorcyclists, and 18 trick Jeep drivers.
The quiet sound of Expo
Expo is going to be easy on the ears. That young man you bumped into, dressed in green overalls and carrying a little black meter, is a public-safety officer checking on the noise level. There are no blaring PA systems. No barkers (except, of course, in La Ronde amusement park). No whining machinery. Even the exhaust fans in restaurants must not exceed a sound level of 45 decibels, which is little more than a gentle hush.
WRAPAROUND VIEW OF CANADA
In the Telephone Association of Canada pavilion there is surprisingly little of the touchtelephone-wizardry jazz. Instead, there’s this fantastic 360-degree screen that shows a 30minute movie, directed by Torontonian Bob Barclay for Walt Disney Productions and filmed at a cost of $1 million. Nine projectors spaced at 40-degree intervals give the wraparound effect. The film is about this country and our way of life: stunning 360-degree views of the Rockies, a construction job in downtown Toronto. The screen is 21 feet high. And when the Mounties finish their musical ride with a charge, there’s no place to run.
An electronic tom-tom pulls the crowds to the Man-ln-The-Community exhibit and a future Enchanted City.
Whirled in space, plunged into a volcano, gulped by a monster — all in seven minutes on the Gyratron.
Architect Bucky Fuller calls the U.S. pavilion a "sky-break bubble.” For $9 million it screens out dust, heat.
Britain’s 200-foot tower is unfinished because, says Sir Basil Spence, so is the nation’s contribution to the world.
The pavilions: a steel-and-concrete Soretaste of tomorrow
Canada’s $21-million inverted pyramid — the idea came from an ash tray — is the most lavish pavilion.
You can try the weightlessness of space in the USSR’s $15-million pavilion. After, it will go back to Russia.
Habitat’s cantilevered apartments of precast concrete and one-piece fibreglass bathrooms cost $10.5 million.
Ontario’s “little pyramids,” built from vinyl and fibreglass, cover 50,000 square feet of the “modern life.”
Le Village — open until 2.30 a.m. every night — is the “forbidden” area of La Ronde where nothing is quite sin but everything is fun. There are dance halls, French boîtes à chansons, and Lucifer's Den where the strip show will be on par with Paris’ famous Crazy Horse, “We are looking now,” says an Expo man, "for good jazz musicians who can play soul music. When we've got them we'll look for the right strippers to go with the music.”
There are no hidden costs at Expo. Every restaurant must have its menu posted outside with the complete price list. And the more than 100 eating places range from stand-up snack bars to exclusive restaurants of haute cuisine. Prices and portions are controlled. Right now an Expo dietitian is deciding on the exact percentage of fat allowable in a hamburger.
And by December every food concessionaire will have his bids in. Win or lose, those are the prices he must stick with during the fair.
$10,000 Is yours It you produce the very best SO•second film on the Expo ManAnd.HtsWorld theme.
The fly in Expo’s ointment
Scientists are tinkering with an electronic beam that they hope inhibits breeding. If not, shadflies will bug you by the billions.
Booze and brawls are free
You're strolling through the 35 acres of Expo’s La Ronde amusement park, minding your own business. Suddenly a wild unshaven character with rolling, bloodshot eyeballs grabs you by the lapels and yells down your ear, “I’ve made a strike! I’ve found gold . . . !’m rich!” Don’t lose your cool. Don’t protest as he drags you and a bunch of other people into the nearby Golden Goddess Honky-Tonk Saloon to buy everyone a drink. Once you’re inside you won’t want to leave. Because there are can-can girls dancing behind the bar, who finish their act on the bar itself. Staged brawls of the old west. Gun fights. Hold-ups. Melodramas done straight, the way the Kansas City actors used to do them in the Klondike. Villains in black, clean-cut heroes like Morgan of the Mounted, fainting heroines — some 17 hours a day of nonstop entertainment. “And,” admits Don Haber, Expo’s Entertainment Director, “there’s nothing to stop a customer from sitting there all day, quietly getting sloshed, watching the fun. Although he may see a few repeats."
The “pavilion” you will never see
The White Elephant Award goes to a building that will be knocked down even before Expo opens. Starting with $15,000, the Lumbermen’s Association built a temporary observation tower. “But things sort of escalated,” says a lumberman. Final cost: $125,000.
WHERE TO GO
These are the symbols for Expo’s washrooms. Just be sure you remember them.
Great new way to live in a city
The Expo engineer wrenches the Jeep to a grinding stop in a cloud of dust. “Isn’t it fantastic!” he exclaims. It is. With all those square cement blockhouses piled precariously on top of one another, it at first looks like a Tel Aviv suburb after an earthquake. But it is Habitat 67. Located on the MacKay Pier area, the $10.5 million housing project especially built for Expo is a brilliant breakthrough in urban living. Designed by Moshe Safdie, the 158 dwellings are made up of 354 precast concrete units. Habitat 67 forms a pyramidic shape 950 feet in length, 300 feet wide and 120 feet high. The degree of privacy is astonishing. One enjoyable novelty is that your neighbor’s roof be-
comes your roof garden. Safdie planned it as a low-rental housing project. But the number of units was cut back so much that unit costs soared. So have the rents — $300 a month for one bedroom to $680 for four bedrooms. There are 122 apartments being rented to ambassadors, large corporations, and businessmen for the 180 days of Expo. But 36 will be kept open for viewing. Construction on Habitat is behind schedule, so if you get to the fair early you’ll see the finishing touches being made. No one knows exactly what will happen to Habitat 67 after Expo. “It will probably remain,” says one architect, "as a classic example of how pleasant it could be to live in an overcrowded city."
THE FUN HIDES
Among La Ronde’s spectacular rides: La Spirale — a tube of glass that carries 40 people at a time in a slow corkscrew motion to the top of a 312-foot tower, from where they’ll have a 360-degree view of Expo, and then unwinds down again.
Then there’s the Flume, a sort of roller coaster on water. You get into a log-shaped boat and the water, which is pumped under pressure, carries you along over a spaghettilike circuit that finally ends with a 35-foot slide into the lake.
Don’t walk —ride!
At Expo’s express stations you can transfer to any one of the three minirail loops that wind their way through the Ile Ste. Hélène pavilion area, the lie Notre Dame pavilion area, and La Ronde amusement park at the north end of Ste. Hélène.
EXPO ON ONLY $7.24 A DAY
Expo doesn’t have to be an expensive blowout. Say you buy your one-week “passport" now for $7.50. You can eat, take in some of the paid entertainment, and try out the rides, all for an average of $7.24 per day.
What happens to all those buildings after the fair’s over? Actually, nobody knows. The U.S. has hinted that it might give its pavilion to Montreal — but so far the city hasn’t decided what it could possibly do with it.