Designing Britain Home Page esd graphic title
  Exhibiting Britain
  Britain Can Make It
  BCMI Introduction
What Industrial Design Means
BCMI Response & Critique
BCMI Conclusion
  Expo '67
  Expo Introduction
The British Pavilion
Expo Britain Today
Expo Response & Critique
Expo Conclusion
  BCMI Sources
Expo '67 Sources
  Image Archive

Designing Britain 1945 - 1975 > Exhibiting Britain > Expo '67 > Expo Introduction

Expo ’67, the 85th world fair, was held between 28th April and 29th October 1967 in the Canadian city of Montreal. It was organised by the Canadian Corporation of the 1967 World Expo and held under the auspices of the Bureau of International Expositions. The Bureau regulated the holding of world fairs and laid down the standard format which they should take. This meant that the Corporation in arranging Expo ‘67 had to work to three guiding principles:

- to promote communication amongst nations
- to provide a location in which trade links might be fostered, something which reflected the fairs’ origins in the international trade exhibitions of the nineteenth century
- to provide a context for cultural and artistic exchange, this was usually facilitated by giving each fair a particular theme

Expo ’67 was located in the newly regenerated dockland area of Montreal and was built on the dockside and on two islands - the Ile St Helene and the Ile Notre Dame - in the St Lawrence River. The site was reached by a specially constructed electric transit system. The Corporation spent three years planning the event. After a specially convened conference, it was decided that Expo ‘67’s theme should be ‘Man and his World’ (‘man’ at this date tended to imply ‘woman’) with particular emphasis on urban design.

The 988 acre site comprised a series of pavilions devoted to the Expo’s theme. These were all sited on either the Ile St Helene or Ile Notre Dame and were intermingled with the national pavilions. The content and design of the national pavilions was decided by each participating country, rather than the host country, and thus tended to be used for propaganda purposes as much as, if not more, than the ostensible purposes of the world fairs. The Ile St Helene also contained an amusement park, La Ronde. Reflecting the interest in urban design, much attention was placed on the layout of the exhibition; pedestrian routes were carefully planned and signed. There was also a mini-rail system to convey visitors across the sites and through the interiors of some of the pavilions. The culmination of this interest was the construction of Habitat ’67, a model housing estate designed by Moshe Safdie and David Barott, on the dockside.

The total cost of Expo ’67 was approximately three-quarters of a billion Canadian dollars. The highest attendance in one day was 530, 000 people. In all, 50, 306, 648 visitors attended the exhibition over six months. As the visitor numbers suggest, the Expo was well received by the general public. It was also widely praised by the architecture and design press.
View of Expo '67 ESD00654 View of Expo '67

Click to view larger image View larger image
View of Expo '67 ESD00655 View of Expo '67

Click to view larger image View larger image
View of Expo '67 ESD00659 View of Expo '67

Click to view larger image View larger image
See next section - The British Pavilion