Thursday, February 11, 2010

Do you remember Expo 67?

The place was Montréal, in the Canadian province of Québec and the time was the summer of 1967, the centenary year of Canada's creation by an act of British Parliament, the British North America Act of 1867, if my memory serves me correctly.

Ken, the pastor's son and my best friend, and I had flown out of the Yellowknife, in the Northwest Territories to Edmonton in Alberta where we picked up a Canadian National Railways cross-Canada ride to Montreal. My brother Bryan, who was working for the summer as a guide at a fishing lodge on Great Bear Lake, was due to join us en route in Winnipeg next day.

The train waited in the station but Bryan never showed up. Finally with minutes to spare we had him paged. He ran up and we all ran for the train. For some reason he'd just showed up at the station thinking he had lots of time!

He was dressed in thick parka and boots and told us how the plane wouldn't start on the runway because of all the snow and ice that was blowing around them that day! Finally they got it going but the few passengers had to get out and push the plane to line it up right on the frozen runway.

As it taxied across the lake for take-off he and two or three others who'd been pushing the plane scrambled through the gaping door in the side of the plane, and it was off and up!

When he got to his hotel in Winnipeg he was so tired he overslept and that's why we had to have him paged and why it was a small miracle that we met in time.

Meanwhile, in Montréal our new friends Pierre and Chantal were expecting us — we'd put them up that spring in a cultural exchange organized by the high schools — and they insisted on returning the favour to put us up at the occasion of the World's Fair, known to all as Expo 67.

Simpler days bring memories for you and me. All this — and more — comes back to me when I see this old picture I took that summer with my new Polaroid camera. It show Bryan, Chantal, and Pierre at the exposition. Strange twist of circumstance: the changing signboard of lights at the back right reads,

++ 11 AM and 3 PM ++

Why strange you might say? It's just that Bryan has been a faithful employee of the Du Pont Company for the past thirty-odd years.


  1. Well, I certainly remember the time even though I didn't go to Expo but I remember seeing all your photos and hearing about it...

    Love Bryan's hat...ha ha...

  2. I've heard Daddy tell about it before, but never in as much detail. This is really interesting.