An exhibition to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Expo 67
In 2017, 50 years will have passed since Expo 67 and Montrealers of all origins have kept cherished memories of the event alive. Hundreds of thousands of them spent whole days exploring the dream city of Man and His World on “invented islands”, in the words of singer Stéphane Venne. Their sense of wonder has endured over the years, inspiring curiosity and envy in members of younger generations. Many of the visitors to Expo 67, its pavilions, its hosts and hostesses, and its magnificent exhibitions were young, and in this same period, they were discovering love and desire, political protest, the Beatles, a taste for smoking cigarettes, and many other new experiences.
As the people of Montreal, of Quebec, and of Canada welcomed the world with open arms, taking on a newly affirmative role, postwar society was undergoing radical change as young people everywhere began to contest their parents’ values and lifestyles. For many of the younger generation, Expo 67 was a turning point. They made the Expo site their home and did not leave it. 1968, 1969: amid memorable rock concerts and life-changing encounters, Man and His World (without excluding women!) was a place of freedom. From the sophisticated extravaganza of 1967 through the crazy days of 1968 to the revolutionary fervour of 1969, Quebec society closely followed its youth into a new era.
Youth and Their World: a different perspective
Several months ago, the Centre d’histoire de Montréal launched a search for people who frequented Expo 67 between the ages of 11 and 21 and were willing to contribute their memories of this experience. Dozens of people responded to our appeals in the media, in which we also called for souvenir items and other objects from the 1967 adventure. Whether from Montreal, from other regions of the province and the country, or from abroad, these memory volunteers were eager to talk about how Expo 67 and the atmosphere of the late ‘60s affected their lives. Their stories reveal a veritable movement of young people who, irrespective of their social backgrounds, shared the same dream of change.
An explosive exhibition
Arranged in evocative spaces, this immersive exhibition will recapture innovative, illuminating moments of Expo67 through memories of the event that are remarkably vivid and occasionally shatter our expectations – memories recounted by all sorts of people who took advantage of this formative experience during their youth. It will also be an opportunity for those who did not see Expo67 to get a feeling of what it was like to be there, and to be young in Montreal toward the end of an unforgettable decade.