Who Is This Man?

For Venezuela, Expo 67 was a series of tragic events

By Carmen Desmeules (translated by Emilie Gosselin)

August 2, 1967

A day of mourning for the Latin country: an earthquake in Caracas has resulted in 200 deaths. The national flag is at half-mast at the Universal Exhibition in Montreal.

During the ceremony held in honour of Venezuela, a soldier collapses and lies sprawled on the ground, though he doesn’t break the stoicism of his comrades on guard…

Diana Nicholson, PR liaison officer, comments on the search for participating countries for Expo 67: “Unfortunately, there was little interest in Latin America. There weren’t very many Latin American participants, which I personally thought was very sad.”

Venezuela was one of the countries that did participate at Expo 67, but they had their share of obstacles – including a story fraud, as told by Yves Jasmin:

“The Venezuela Pavilion was comprised three beautiful and sculptural blocks. A man showed up, the General Commissioner of Venezuela, with the plans for the pavilion and 35 million dollars to put it all together. Then he decided he’d rather keep to money for himself and left with the 35 million.

The country didn’t have the resources to start over, so Canada came to the rescue. It was a contribution from an extraordinary young man, an architect and engineer named Gilles Gagnon. He would attend every important meeting concerning Expo and write out the reports. He had all this information.”

Sources: Expo 67 Collection, Library and Archives Canada

How did they sell the idea of Expo 67 to the rest of Canada?