If You Want To Visit France, Come To Montreal!


By Carmen Desmeules (translated by Émilie Gosselin)

Tuesday, July 11 1967

On this day, Celine Bouthiller,  a student from Massachusetts, whose parents are originally from Quebec, becomes the 20 millionth person to visit Expo 67. Bastos, the agency that made the Expo 67 cigarettes, takes them under their wing on this memorable day.

The outdoor show Toutes voiles starring Maurice Chevalier is canceled due to torrential rain The famous French actor, singer and entertainer was also the first artist that advertiser Yves Jasmin asked to participate in an innovative advertising campaign.

What if we ask them to do it for free? “The organizers of Expo 67 didn’t have the necessary resources to put together an international-scale advertising campaign,” recalls Yves Jasmin. “A member of my team suggested that we ask celebrities to participate for free. Genius! Not only did Maurice Chevalier accept, but he said he would be honoured!

“We filmed him in South Africa, where he was performing. His message: “France is my home! It is a magnificent country. If you can’t come to France next summer, come to Montreal. We will be there, at the Exhibition!”

Nan-B, the wife of Philippe de Gaspé Beaubien, the “Mayor” of Expo, recalls walking on site with celebrities: “During the six months of Expo  67, because we were the center of the world at the time, everyone wanted to be with us. So we welcomed celebrities from Hollywood, Broadway and Europe!

Every time I went walked around with someone, I’d look left and right, and then I’d see another well-known, familiar face, and I’d say to myself: “Is that really Bing Crosby?” “Oh, there’s Maurice Chevalier!” I would be visiting the site with someone else.” Mrs. de Gaspé Beaubien accompanied many special guests during guided tours or official protocol receptions.

Also on this day, second millionth visitor at the Yugoslav pavilion, a McGill University student, is offered a case of wine from the cellars of the President of Yugoslavia, Marshal Tito.

Sources : Expo 67 — De jour en jour, interviews with Nan-b de Gaspé Beaubien & Yves Jasmin, 2016.

To learn more about Expo 67, read this article!


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