Montreal Mayor Jean Drapeau gazes at a gift from florists to mark Expo 67’s opening day, April 27, 1967.
“Hey, World! This Is THE Day!” shouted our exuberant April 27, 1967 Page 1 headline. After years of planning and construction, Montreal’s world’s fair, at which 62 nations were represented, was at last to open.Also on the front page was this photo of Mayor Jean Drapeau, “father of Expo,” accepting a floral tribute bearing the Expo symbol.Some 7,000 dignitaries were to attend the ceremonies at the Place des Nations amphitheatre, we reported, including Governor General Roland Michener, who would have the honour of declaring the fair open.Our April 28 edition included souvenir sections as well as detailed coverage of the “spectacular” opening.In his speech, Commissioner-General Pierre Dupuy had “called Expo ‘an act of faith in the creative genius of man’ and reiterated his oft-expressed view that the exhibition shows that what separates men is less important than that which unites them,” we reported. Other dignitaries were similarly eloquent.After the speeches, “A fanfare of trumpets sounded, a torch was lit, the flags of the participating nations were unfurled, fountains soared, aircraft screamed overhead, and fireworks burst in the sunny blue skied, unleashing flags of the participating nations attached to ‘parachutes’,” we reported.“The Expo Band made its first public appearance, its first selection being “Hey Friend, Say Friend,” the official theme song of the exhibition.”Canada was celebrating its centennial year, and, we reported, this was a chance for Canadians “to throw off nagging doubts of inferiority.”For Montrealers, it was also a chance to broaden their horizons, taste new foods, meet new people — in short, to travel the world without leaving home.Life would never be the same again. In a good way.
The full photo.