A Centennial Scrapbook: Remembering the Magic of Expo 67

With 62 nations attending, Expo 67 is considered the most successful World’s Fair of the 20th century. Kathy McAlpine looks back on her brief but thrilling visit—and the treasured memories it created.

Expo 67 biosphere in MontrealPhoto: Meunierd/Shutterstock

Fifty years later, Expo 67 is still unforgettable

As we begin to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, I still remember 1967—Canada’s 100th birthday. There were parades and Bobby Gimby’s song “CA-NA-DA,” and people and towns were encouraged to create a Centennial Project.

I collected Centennial coins and still have one of the dollar bills that doesn’t have the flag on top of the Parliament Buildings. One of the other things I kept from that year was a scrapbook.

In January 1967, I was in Grade 6. My teacher, Mrs. Peever, handed me a scrapbook. I am sure that scrapbooks were given out to many schoolchildren in Canada in an effort to get them involved in the Centennial celebrations. It contained maps and historical facts about Canada and, of course, empty pages to be filled. This scrapbook was a project to be completed and graded at the end of the year.

In July, my parents, older brother and I took a bus trip to Expo 67 in Montreal. It was a very quick trip. Early one morning, we boarded Fowlers Bus in Bancroft, Ont., and off we went to Montreal, where we stayed overnight and then came back very late the next day. Basically we only had parts of two days to enjoy the spectacle that was Expo 67.

We visited the British, Russian and Canadian pavilions, among others. We also rode the monorail and walked and walked and walked. I remember my father wore a suit—he must have been so hot! Mom had wisely brought an insulated bag full of drinks and snacks and my brother had to carry the bag all over Expo. I collected any and all things that were Centennial related.

When I got home, I pasted the brochures and picture books that I’d picked up into my scrapbook. The blurry black-and-white photos that I took at Expo 67 made the book feel a bit more personal. I then filled it out with articles that I cut from newspapers and anything that I thought was interesting and pertained to Canada’s 100th birthday.

Back at school, late in the fall and now in Grade 7, I handed my scrapbook in. For my year-long efforts, Mrs. Peever graded my project as “good.”

I hadn’t looked at that scrapbook for more than 45 years, but when I dug it out of the trunk and started flipping through it, memories of a wonderful year flooded back—really good memories!

Originally Published in Our Canada