The Media Tried To Sabotage Expo 67 Before It Even Began

Canadian media were not thrilled at the idea of Montreal hosting a Universal Exhibition, back in 1967…

By Carmen Desmeules (translated by Emilie Gosselin)

The media – especially Canadian anglophone media – were not thrilled about the possibility of Montreal hosting a Universal Exhibition back in 1967, given the limited amount of time and staggering costs that would inevitably entail. And what seemed even less acceptable was the fact that it would not be held in Toronto, where the National Exhibition was already being held annually for the past 100 years, and was always great success.

The duality between francophone and anglophone Canadians manifested itself vigorously at this time. Yves Jasmin, Director of Information, Advertising and Public Relations at Expo 67 recalls the lack of understanding of certain journalists and their confrontations.

“Bill Bantey, a reporter for the Montreal Gazette was particularly hostile towards us. He also wanted my job, which I can understand. Every day, he went around town with Drapeau, taking notes on the development of Montreal and the site of Expo.”

How much would it end up costing? And how long will it take? According to a computerized feasibility study conducted by a group of engineers at Stanford University, the deadlines would be too tight: two additional years would be necessary to complete Expo 67. There was great public debate when the information was leaked in the Gazette; Bill Bantey titled an article: Report World Fair – Plans Impossible.

According to Jasmin, there was resistance from the francophones as well. “Yves Margraff, a reporter for Le Devoir was rather firmly opposed to what we were doing. Why? I do not know. He was opposed to Expo, but he eventually moved back to France.”

In the end, the media was forced to accept the resounding success of Expo!

Source : Interview with Yves Jasmin, 2016

See La Ronde in 1967!