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Dispatch From Montreal: Canada Is Turning 150. Oh, to Be 100 Again, for Expo 67.

Like many families, we were taken by a 360-degree movie about Canada sponsored by a consortium of telephone companies but made by the distinctly American Disney studios. Its building was among the few designed with moving crowds in mind. Labyrinth, a National Film Board of Canada movie theater with projections on giant, multiple screens, formed the basis for Imax.

Daunting lines took the British pavilion, with its fragmented, op-art Union Jack tower, off the list. Our only trip into the United States pavilion, a soaring geodesic dome designed by Buckminster Fuller and filled with space gear, was on a tiny monorail that snaked through the building.

I did get my space capsule fix, nevertheless, thanks to the Soviet Union, which had a pavilion with the added bonus of enameled pins depicting cosmonaut heroes.

Ultimately what mattered most then, and in my memory, was the excitement of just being there, a place that suddenly had made Canada the focus of the world, it seemed.

World fairs may well be outdated in the 21st century, and this year’s 150th anniversary celebrations offer nothing like the thrill of Expo 67. Not many 11-year-olds are likely to be all that excited about the red leather couch that is touring the country, one of the government’s “signature projects” for the anniversary.

Recently I went back to the Expo grounds, now a city park named for Jean Drapeau, the mayor during Expo. Half a century has both imposed and taken away. The largely treeless artificial islands are now thickly wooded in many areas.

Source: NYT > World

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