As we prepare to welcome the world in just 15 days I thought I would take a look back at the last time Vancouver hosted an event of global proportions. I was recently sent a copy of the book, Vancouver’s Expo 86 to read and review.
Expo 86 was a multi-month world’s fair that took place across, over and through downtown Vancouver by land and sea welcoming over 22 million visitors. With the theme of “transportation” its nickname became “Transpo 86” with some of its legacies being the SkyTrain, Canada Place, Science World and the Coquihalla Highway.
The bulk of Expo took place along the vacant industrialized shores of north False Creek. Once the fair moved out the area lay restless and dormant until the City of Glass began to be developed and the shimmering towers of Yaletown emerged.
The book, “Vancouver’s Expo 86” features an amazing personal collection of photographs from author Bill Cotter and I love that it highlights that it was also timed around Vancouver’s 100th birthday. The way its laid out is pretty much like a photo essay, which helps tell a very detailed story of how Expo even came to be and what it grew into.
Seeing photos of pavilions coming together is almost eerie as Vancouverites can walk around today and see the same sort of thing happening in some of the same areas. You can also view the McBarge in all its floating burger-selling glory as well as profiles of every participating nation’s pavilion.
Each chapter represents a “zone”… Purple, Red, Blue, Pink, Green and Yellow. The first thing that pops into my head are those colour-coded benches that live on in some form scattered across the Lower Mainland. To date, I have spotted some down along the promenade in White Rock and also at Cultus Lake Park.
All of the pictures are in black and white, which I assume is for consistency, and the book does end rather abruptly after profiling the USA pavilion. Other than that, it’s a great virtual photo-walk through Vancouver in 1986. I would recommend Vancouver’s Expo 86 for long-time residents (to take that stroll down memory lane) or those newer to Vancouver as the maps and images tell a story of a not-so-different time in our city.
Disclosure: cmp.ly/1 – I was given a review copy of the book.