#tbt ‘Impressions of Expo 67’

By Pat Mullen

As the dog and pony show of Canada 150 approaches, it’s worth looking back to another milestone in Canadian history. Expo ’67 marked Canada’s centennial with an international showcase of the Maple Leaf’s scope and legacy with pavilions and exhibitions celebrating Canadian culture on the world stage. The Montreal event was the most successful World’s Fair of the 20th century with over 50 million visitors, although, like Canada 150, it had its controversies including Vietnam War protests, threats from the FLQ and cries of ‘ Vive le Qu├ębec libre!’ aimed at Charles De Gaulle.

The NFB short Impressions of Expo 67 captures the sunnier sides of this celebration of Canada’s centennial. This film by William Brind offers a silent walking tour of the Expo seen through an all-seeing eye that boasts impressive vantage points and aerial views for its time. Footsteps scurry around the pavilions while guests ride the futuristic roller coasters and nuns chow down on refreshments and international flavours. Set to a funky score and cut with a hip rhythm that evokes the swinging spirit of the 60s. Impressions could easily be an extended montage from a caper starring Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant that uses Montreal as an exotic local or it could serve as a groovy interlude in an Austin Powers flick. It’s as much a snapshot of style as it is one of cultural expression. Either way, it’s an energetic time capsule of a major Canadian milestone.

Watch Impressions of Expo 67 below:

Impressions of Expo 67, William Brind, provided by the National Film Board of Canada