By Carmen Desmeules (Translated by Emilie Gosselin)
July 3, 1967
On this day, 50 years ago, Queen Elizabeth II visited Canada’s Universal Exhibition in Montreal. An emotional day, to say the least! Her Majesty arrived at Expo 67 with Prince Phillippe on a yacht named Britannia, via the Saint-Lawrence river.
Yves Jasmin, Director of Public Relations for Expo 67, shared his first impressions: “[…] She came down with an umbrella because it was pouring rain […] but she was all smiles. She was a very beautiful woman. We welcomed her, and the General in charge of security suggested closing the Exhibition to allow the Queen to visit. Uhm… No! We can’t do that. But we can’t say no to the Queen of England. They told us to close everything, but that was out of the question. So we closed only part of the exhibition: Canada, Great Britain, France and a few other pavilions, so that the Queen could visit these areas.”
Later, while eating at a restaurant named La Toundra in the Canadian pavilion, she sees the minirail go by. It’s nice and sunny outside…
“She said: Oh! Wouldn’t that be fun?” Jasmin continues. “The same General that wanted to close down the entire Expo then said: “Listen, Your Majesty, this is unthinkable!” And Kniewasser, a born liar, retorted: “It isn’t a problem. We have security guards all along the track.” “But what about the American pavilion?” the General asked. “Yes, the marines have been warned, that’s also covered.”
“Conscious of the dangers she faced, the Queen then declared: “Yes, but my entire life is a risk. I know very well that someone could try to attack me. My job comes with many risks, but it’s just part of the job. I can’t run away from it!” So she got to take a ride on the minirail, a great success. People cheered. Everything went well.”