On this day, 50 years ago, Alexander Calder’s sculpture was officially given to the City of Montreal for Expo 67
By Carmen Desmeules (translated by Emilie Gosselin)
Photo credit – Library and Archives Canada
On Wednesday, May 17 1967, the City of Montreal received same honour reserved for heads of state, as a Canadian metropolis celebrating its 325th anniversary. The ceremony, presided by the mayor of Montreal, Jean Drapeau, was held at the Place des Nations, followed by a ceremony at the International Nickel Company Place, where Alexander Calder’s “Man” was handed over to the City of Montreal, a donation from the International Nickel Co. of Canada.
Photo credit – City of Montreal Archives
The “Calder” still stands on the Expo site at Parc Jean-Drapeau and under the stone on which it stands lies a cassette holding various documents, which is to be opened in 2067 by the future Mayor of Montreal.
On another issue, a small fire is quickly extinguished at a chip stand, near the USSR pavilion. Security Services keep a watchful eye. Director of Operations, Philippe de Gaspé Beaubien, remembers fondly: “Oh! There are some things we don’t talk about. My security guys admitted that there were 27 threats against heads of states that were prevented, which we’ve never spoken about with anyone. Luckily, nothing happened. But you know, when you host an event like this, you have to expect to face problems. Serious problems. Luckily, it went well.”
Yves Jasmin, Director of Public Relations, Information and Advertising at Expo 67, put things into perspective: “Of course, for a king or queen, security problems are inevitable.”
A reassuring statistic: since the opening day of Expo, medical services have treated 1407 visitors for a variety of small health issues.
Sources: Expo 67 Journal: De jour en jour, and interviews with M. de Gaspé Beaubien et M. Jasmin, May 2016.