Keeping The Memory Of Expo Alive

 “For Library and Archives Canada, Productions de la Ruelle’s project is a golden opportunity to make the collection available.”

By Julie Barlow (translated by Emilie Gosselin)

Having welcomed over 50 million visitors, Expo 67 was a shining moment in Canadian history, one that gave confidence to Canadians in their ability to organize a world-class event.

A few months before the opening day however, Americans, whom organizers were counting on, were still skeptical. So much so that Director of Public Relations Yves Jasmin takes a bold risk. In the very midst of the Cold War, he buys a full-page ad in LIFE magazine.

The image shows the Soviet Pavilion, and the message evokes a famous episode of the Cold War, the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962: “Look what the Russians are building just 40 miles from the U.S.A.”

“This shock-advertisement illustrates the phenomenal obstacles that the organizers of Expo 67 had to overcome,” says Guylaine Maroist, from Productions de la Ruelle, who made these challenges the theme of her film Expo 67 Mission Impossible. She can tell this story thanks to the resurgence of over 3000 documents that survived all these  years at Library and Archives of Canada.

“The film would not have been so rich without these documents thanks to the precision and depth they bring to the story.”

The story behind the “Expo Collection”, as it is nicknamed at Library and Archives of Canada, is an adventure itself. At the closing of Expo 67, the task of “closing the books” fell upon Public Relations Associate, Diana Nicholson.

Photo credit – Productions de la Ruelle and Jean-François Leblanc

Her team spent most of 1968 compiling press reviews, publicity materials, thousands of photos, films, press releases, copies of Expo Digest, scale models, pavilion designs and confidential documents.

A real-life treasure, these 80 000 documents and objects, stored in some hundred boxes, were taken to the federal archives in Ottawa. And it was as much work to split the material between two sites: the main building on Wellington in Ottawa, and the spectacular Preservation Center in Gatineau.

Photo credit – Productions de la Ruelle and Jean-François Leblanc

In spring of 2016, when Productions de la Ruelle approached Library and Archives of Canada to consult the documents, Guylaine Maroist learned that these boxes had not been opened since they’d first been stored. But boxes of archives are not to be opened like Christmas gifts. To make the documents available, they need to be classified, given a description and location symbol, then restored and digitized.

For Library and Archives Canada, Productions de la Ruelle’s project is a golden opportunity to make the collection available. “It was a occasion to remember the good times, see the pictures again and think back to that period where everything seemed possible,” says Robert Grandmaître, Director of the Reference Services Division.

Photo credit – Productions de la ruelle and Jean-François Leblanc

It took five months for the eight assigned employees to process 3,000 out of 80,000 documents and content. “We were only able to describe and make a small part of the photographic material available on our digital databases,” says archivist Emma Hamilton-Hobbs, still astonished by the number of candid photos that were taken.

The documents are not all of equal value: priority was given to the most important and fragile ones. “Many documents could have been lost forever,” says Paul Gordon, Senior Film Conservator.

Photo credit – Productions de la ruelle and Jean-François Leblanc

Thanks to the hard work of Library and Archives Canada, future generations of researchers and onlookers will be able to extensively study this major event in the history of Canada and its Centennial Celebrations.

“It’s truly the materialization of an adventure that we only knew about generally through testimonials of those who crafted and experienced it,” says Guylaine Maroist. “And we know memories are never as reliable as documents…”

To learn more about Expo 67, read this article!

  1. I love these areltics. How many words can a wordsmith smith?

  2. Ha Ha…seigneur et maitre…donc c’est la faute de Bush, et la loi…civile…je cherche maintenant pour voir si Laura a parler des femme qui doit conduire en Arabie Soudite…Il faut noter que bientot Proposition 19 en Californie va passe et je serais incapable a faire marcher le clavier de mon ordinateur…

  3. quelle chance ! ce sont les préférés de mon mari, je note cette recette pour lui faire une surprise !!!Merci beaucoup ! (tgoln site mets vraiment l’eau à la bouche c’est trops diabolique !!!)A+Fred

  4. Keep on writing and chugging away!


  6. I really did enjoy, as usual, most of your article! In my previous post, I focused on a narrow criticism. I also appreciate the many thoughtful comments that usually appear in response to your articles.

  7. e’ semplicemente bellissimo, si vede che te lo meriti… ha un pelo meraviglioso, e uno sguardo … magnetico. vien voglia di strapazzarlo di coccole :)trattalo bene, e’ un onore essere adottai da un gatto, perche’ puoi dire cio’ che vuoi ma e’ stato lui a scegliervi.Cam

  8. That’s not just logic. That’s really sensible.

  9. Gee willikers, that’s such a great post!

  10. BS low – rationality high! Really good answer!

  11. I’ve been looking for a post like this for an age

  12. hey I’m 18 year old and I have a 2 year old I being with my partner for 4 year now he like couple year older then me ….but thing is we always aruging and I’m just so tried of it we really don’t under stand each other no more …..there some time that I feel ever I do is just my fault and that making me feel really depressing I have to much in me that just don’t know if should just live him or stay with him ……but I that come come in my mind I feel scared idk why….please can some one help me plz……

  13. dit :Pourquoi, tu n’aimes pas le sébum? c’est cool le sébum! ça fait briller la peau! c’est cool à dessiner ça nan? (bon ok, c’est moche) ;D

  14. Thanks Andi!I really appreciate the feedback. Money definitely doesn’t equal happiness. It is no fun being poor, but it doesn’t take much money to stop being poor. It is really easy to spend our lives focusing on things. Shopping for things, taking care of things, replacing things, upgrading things, worrying about things. I hate things. I want to spend my time on cool experiences. I am finished being a shopper.

  15. Smart thinking – a clever way of looking at it.

  16. Your collections share a special place next to my paperbacks of Peanuts collections I've had since I was a kid. Thank you for all the pleasure you've given me and take care.

  17. And I thought I was the sensible one. Thanks for setting me straight.

  18. That’s a subtle way of thinking about it.

  19. nurdan diyor ki:iyi günler sivasta oturmaktayım evliyim eşim çalışmamı dısarda ıstemıyor fakat benım ailemin cok ihtiyacı var annemin evinde haciz olduğu için onlara destek olmak için bu işe ihtiyacım var mail den ulaşabilirsiniz kolay gelsin

  20. OH, Dan . Voc~e é muito desatento. Me diga onde o sr leu ou ouviu eu dizer que o Corinthians foi prejudicado contra o Vitória. Lanço o desafio. Me apresente a verdade dessa sua afirmação e se eu estiver errado, tiro este blog do ar. Se não puder fazer isso, envergonhe-se do que afirmou, porque essa foi uma acusação barata, descabida, burra.

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  22. People normally pay me for this and you are giving it away!

  23. Wow, fantastic! I liked your travel show, very nice post. I’m exactly sitting in the web and searching good attractions for me and my family in Vegas, where we will come soon on vacation:) I will add to our planning list all the science city activities, my boys will love it!

  24. I’m not easily impressed but you’ve done it with that posting.

  25. “Yes”.;-)I imagined it causing some sort of neural discomposure to an American or Englishman, so opposed would the gesture be to the natural inclination of his body.I think much of the English spoken by native speakers here in the states could use a little more music, like the tonal variations of Mandarin seeping into Chinglish mentioned in the Wired article.

  26. That’s cleared my thoughts. Thanks for contributing.

  27. Hey!! Go to the app store and download the app Bamboo Wallet! You’ll earn $0.25 towards your first gift card just for downloading!! When they ask for a code enter “DX1094318″ )

  28. Son of a gun, this is so helpful!

  29. GREAT STUFF(Won Oh! Won…history we all need to know) thank YOU!…like the BELL its a NATIONAL TREASURE & we are going to treat it like one…LONG LIVE THE KING!!!….

  30. You can always tell an expert! Thanks for contributing.

  31. A good many valuables you’ve given me.

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  33. Wendy: I’m glad we’re in agreement. You are absolutely correct. If the sellers haven’t addressed the curb appeal issues then the MLS photos won’t compel buyers to come take a look. Once the buyers come to the house, it better look better than the other 10 houses they saw that day, or buyers might just drive on.

  34. Thanks Tam for keeping me honest – I didn't read the Wired article that he referenced in the fist sentence. I thought the 5 points where his response to it.This will teach me to not skim and pay more attention to what I am reading. You would think with the trouble I have with the written word I would be more careful. :-(Josh

  35. Watching him on the view just confirmed what I’ve been wondering/suspecting. He’s going to have a leg up on ALL the candidates because of what he did in Massachusetts, and for once his answers are resonating…this is going to be a very interesting space to watch. Having him under the microscope may actually prove to be a good thing, because, after all, BETTER health care coverage is NOT a bad thing, and his answers seem to be working.

  36. Jeden Talib, a potrafiłby na plecach 4000 kilogramów przetransportować do stolicy.Mocarz!Teraz trzy ostatnie ustawy podpisane na Krakowskim można wreszcie przetestować!11 listopada byliśmy jeszcze niedojrzali!Też pozdrawiam!

  37. Thought it wouldn’t to give it a shot. I was right.

  38. If you wrote an article about life we’d all reach enlightenment.

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  40. Just saw your link on Audio Jukebox! I thought this was great as an audiobook, too. I think I liked it better that way than reading it in print.Laurie C´s last post ..

  41. This article keeps it real, no doubt.

  42. I’m quite pleased with the information in this one. TY!

  43. Unbelievable how well-written and informative this was.

  44. Hey, that post leaves me feeling foolish. Kudos to you!

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