Roger D. Landry, Assistant Director of Public Relations, responsible for the reception of heads of state, special guests and hostess services at Expo 67
By Carmen Desmeules (translated by Emilie Gosselin)
“When you set a goal and deadline, you do whatever it takes to accomplish it, and it was between the moment there was talk of delay and those who said “No, we’ll meet deadline, we can do it,” that it got done.
The critical path. There’s an example of how it got done, with men of will. People who wanted to make it happen. People who told themselves: “We will succeed. We will do this. Yes, we can.” And so it goes. It’s what they believed, and it happened, there were 55 million visitors.”
This is how Roger D. Landry describes the spirit of the Department Heads at the time of Expo 67. Absolute faith in their grand project.
Originally from Montreal, Roger D. Landry was Assistant Director of Public Relations at the 1967 World’s Fair, and then responsible for the reception of heads of state, special guests and for hostess services at Expo 67. Director of Operations, Philippe de Gaspé Beaubien, speaks highly of his former colleague: “Roger was an interesting guy… He didn’t always do as he was told, but he was full of enthusiasm. I really liked Roger.” (pre-interview, May 10 2016)
During the finest days of Expo, during a concert, Landry discovers a young tenor named Luciano Pavarotti, with whom he will become friends, having put him up for some time in his home. A great friendship ensues from this encounter. “I met him for the first time in 1967, when the Scala came to Montreal for Expo. I was in charge of distinguished guests. He had asked me to find a better place to stay because he did not like his hotel. He came to my place in the country. We stayed in touch.” (La Presse, September 2007)
He is best known as President and Editor of La Presse, from 1980 to 2000. And at the start of 2000s, he becomes political assistant for public affairs at the Mayor’s office in Trois-Rivières
A philanthropist and lover of lyrical arts, Roger D. Landry volunteers for a number of cultural, charity or social institutions, including the General Presidency of the Annual Centraide campaign in 1986, and contributes to the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Les petis chanteurs du Mont-Royal, as well as to Jeunesses musicales du Canada. In 1989, he accepts Presidency of the Administrative Council of the Montreal Opera. He is a member of the Advisory Council of the Order of Canada, for which he is an officer, and is an honorary colonel of les Fusiliers Mont-Royal.
*Source : Ordre national du Québec and interview reports, May 2016
Photo credit – Laurent Guérin, Productions de la ruelle