Expo 67: A sharp turn for Canada.

It was 50 years ago that the wife and I went to Montreal and camped for a week at my brother’s house while we spent our days at Expo 67. It was in glorious summer weather and we had a wonderful time in line at exhibits with people from all over the world. We met fascinating people. We laughed with them. We joked with them. We learned from them.

This was the real experience of Expo 67. We learned from others’ view of the event. It heightened perceptions and the enjoyment. It was in itself a conversation with our world.

It was also in many ways an intensification of the experience at that time of Toronto. In the years since the hiatus of the Second World War, Toronto had grown. It was not just our fathers and older siblings who came home but the rapidly growing streams of people from the rest of the world choosing Canada. So many of them came to Toronto. They were builders and entrepreneurs, artists and entertainers, engineers and accountants. They came to grow with us.

It was fascinating seeing how quickly Toronto lost its reputation as a city of churches and bigotry. We watched the new business leaders challenge the enclaves of the rich along the ridges of the valleys cutting the city. And we saw urbanization triumph over the farms of the Golden Horseshoe.

But it all seemed to spin from the vortex of Expo 67. It was a platform launch for both Pierre Trudeau and the Quebec liberation movement. It intensified and changed Canada and we had to deal with different kinds of nationalism. We certainly became more aware of our responsibilities to our aboriginal people. We learned but we also stumbled. Platitudes do not suffice.

From the black and white beginnings of television to the intense color of today’s screens, it has helped us to grow and learn together as a nation. It made the Internet familiar as social media grew to encompass the millions.

Canada has grown since the happening of Expo 67. We bear witness.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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