Expo Memorabilia

After yesterday’s post about my plan to write a Master’s thesis about public space at Expo 86 and Century 21, I decided to inspire some nostalgia for vintage objects from Expos ’67 and ’86. As an expression of my quirky obsession with World’s Fairs, I’ve posted some pictures of memorabilia from the beginning of a possible collection. I haven’t taken the time to critically examine these images, but there’s plenty of material here to do so!

First here’s an Coca-Cola branded Expo ’86 serving tray:

Expo '86 Coca-Cola Tray. Photo by Vincent Gornall.

Looks like Coke took the branding opportunity provided by Expo to distort space and create something laughably quirky, emphasizing sugary fun.

This image shows the “map” a little better:

Expo '86: Coke Compresses BC. Photo by Vincent Gornall.

It’s amazing how big the two main cities seem compared to the rest of the province, and how close everything else seems to them. Since I’m thinking about public space in cities after writing my grad application, here are details of Victoria and Vancouver:

Expo '86: Coke Distorts Victoria. Photo by Vincent Gornall.

Expo '86: Coke Distorts Vancouver

Expo '86: Coke Distorts Vancouver. Photo by Vincent Gornall.

These complex cities are summed up, simplified and distorted by an interesting medley of iconic buildings, while others are depicted as brown smudges with black street grids (note Duncan and Richmond in the first detail, for instance). Yet they’re still easily recognizable. I guess that shows the power of iconic architecture!

The next image is of an Expo ’67 tray, which features some fascinating details of six country pavilions. Here’s a picture of the whole thing:

Expo '67 Tray. Photo by Vincent Gornall.

Here’s a detail of Canada’s Pavilion:

Expo '67: Canada Pavillion. Photo by Vincent Gornall.

According to this page, the “huge inverted pyramid” was Canada’s main building at its Pavilion, and was called “the Katimavik,” “which means ‘meeting place’ in Inuktitut, the language of the Inuit.” The author claims that “The pyramidal roofs of the principal building give a crystalline effect symbolic of the minerals and metals of Canada.” I’m having trouble sorting out the cultural implications, since I wasn’t aware the Inuit built pyramids, inverted or otherwise. Still, it’s kind of a cool looking building and I wish I had been around then to experience the outpouring of national (and architectural) hope that Expo ’67 represented.

This detail shows the American Pavilion, one of Buckminster Fuller’s Geodesic Domes:

Expo '67: US Pavillion. Photo by Vincent Gornall.

At the bottom right, you can just see the monorail track that snaked through the building during the fair. As a transit geek, I find this really cool!

The final item in my Expo collection is this Expo ’86 lapel pin:

Expo '86 Pin. Photo by Vincent Gornall.

I haven’t had an opportunity to wear it anywhere yet. I guess I kind of missed the party!

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This entry was posted in Advertising, Architecture, Art, Downtown, Duncan, Education, Events, Expo, Historic Sites, Land Use, Photographs, Public Art, Public Space, Public Transit, Rail, Research, Richmond, Vancouver, Victoria, World's Fair. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Expo Memorabilia

  1. Pingback: Canadiana Discovery Portal | Vincent's Victoria

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