Monday, June 13, 2011

Expo 86 ~ a retrospective

It was 25 years ago that Vancouver welcomed the world for Expo 86. The fair ran for more than five months, and 22 million people attended. It was the last world's fair to be held in North America.  And it was such a fun event to be a part of.  We have great memories!

We started with three day passes...and went from there!  We soon figured out that there was no way we could cover it all in three days.

Yes...I really did take this picture!  But since I was not invited to the opening ceremonies...where our premier and his wife and Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales, were doing their duty...I had to resort to taking a picture of the photo in my official Expo 86 Retrospective book.  The rest of the photos in today's post are copies of slides that I took 25 years ago.
On June 13, 1986...

...we visited Expo as a family for the first time.  That was exactly 25 years ago. 

Heidi, Jeremy and Kris were just young'uns...and had a fine time, as I recall.

We walked Highway 86...a four-lane boulevard loaded with more than 200 cars, bikes, planes and boats...along with other methods of transportation.  Everything was uniformly grey...sprayed with concrete...a monument to the transportation theme.

The idea was to use the the vehicles as places to rest.  I think the kiddos checked them all out!

UFO -H20 was the name of the water park...a favorite attraction for the kids on a hot day.  (I noticed that if you put the slide in backwards when scanning it becomes 02H-0FU...but it still means water, trust me!) 

It was the last of the great world they say.  And we are left with many good memories...and also with some great venues! 

That was how Science World looked 25 years ago.  It was called Expo Centre at the time and re-opened in 1990 as a science museum.

It was Expo that brought SkyTrain to advanced light rapid transit system that the city could not do without.

B.C. Place...a domed sports stadium...has been the main venue for sporting events and concerts these past 25 years.  It is presently undergoing an upgrade...and is scheduled to re-open later this year.

The sails of the Canada Pavilion are a most recognizable and welcoming part of the skyline.  Canada Place is now a major downtown convention center and cruise ship dock.  

Expo 86 really put Vancouver on the map.  And it was sure great to be a part of it!  If you were at Expo 86...or any other World Fair, for that matter...tell us about it in the comments today. 


  1. Oh Judy ..what a great post. It brought so many memories back. I loved all the photos and it makes me want to go explore if we were doing slides or snap shots at the time.
    We did the three day family pass and took along my mil since Hank was working in Sqaumish at the time.
    You made me smile with your subtle humor .. as you often do.

  2. Wow, your post brought back so many wonderful memories. We also started with 3 day passes but some exchanged them for seasons passes. We also have 3 kids(2 boys & 1 girl) and have many pics of our time there. We live in Langley so used the Sky Train to go in everytime.
    Yes, Expo did put us on the map.
    Just wanted to tell you, Judy, how much I enjoy, My Front Porch.I am a faithful reader. I have connections to MGCC thru Bev, my SIL.

  3. What fun memories you have and that you're so organized to be able to pull up photographs on the anniversary of the event...well, my awe knows no bounds.

    Yes, I remember attending EXPO 68 in Montreal as a family. My father, mother, and sister and I. We went at the end of October and it turned off hot and humid. I loved it, though. There's nothing like a World Fair for wonderful sights, sounds, and smells.

    I also loved hearing about my grandmother's New York World Fair experience and one of my favorite essays by E.B. White is about his experience with that fair.

    Thanks for sharing your fun. What a lovely photo of Princess Diana!

  4. We were living up in Cold Lake at the time, and flying into Vancouver for Expo was like going to Paris! We too did the three day pass and walked and walked. I had memories of being a girl at Expo 67 - a fantastic experience that really put our country on display for the world.

  5. Yup, Expo rememberer is broken!

  6. That brought back great memories......those bikes were a hit with our girls. Our favourite pavilion was Alberta......they did a super job of showing off their beautiful province. Thanks for the memory re-boot.

  7. What a wonderful occasion that must have been.Such a lovely photo of the late Princess.

  8. Loved seeing all these great photos from the 80's. I don't think I've been to an expo or World's Fair...

  9. Looks like a great time. Do your children remember going? We went to Washington, D.C. when our boys were 7 and 9 and they don't remember much about it. We have pictures, too. That helps them remember. Oh, and I love your shorts! :-)

  10. What a fun post! We were living in Ecuador at the time and CBC ran a contest in which families could enter on behalf of someone living out of the area and CBC would bring them to Expo 86. My parents entered us, but alas, we didn't win and enjoyed the fair only from others' reports.
    I love the sails in Vancouver.

  11. I thought that the photo after the photo of the Royals was Diana again... Hmm has anyone else ever mentioned the resemblance?

    I have no memories of the expo. My daughter had the privilege of attending Tokyo's when she was 15!

    Blessings, Debbie

  12. I thought there was a resemblance too!! (between thephoto of Diana and you)
    I'd forgotten about Hway 86 ...I can't remember what kind of passes we had ... but it sure was fun to go in for the evenings. One of my favorites was the 3D ride/film that took us for a ride in a red ball. Was it the BC Pavilion? another vague memory is one of the rainbow war show.

  13. I enjoyed seeing your photos from Expo 86, Judy! Didn't those 25 years go by quickly?

    I went to the 1964 New York World's Fair many times with my Mom and Dad. I was eleven at the time and the memory of it is very clear. I think I was most amazed to see the sculpture of Michelangelo's "Pieta" that came all the way from St. Peter's in Rome, Italy. There was a blue light shining down on it and the walkway in front of it moved so a person got only a quick glimpse before it moved on.

  14. What wonderful memories !!! I enjoyed walking down memory lane and remembering similar pictures that we took with our three children.

  15. I remember Expo 67 - I didn't get to go but all the other members of my family did :( - with Scouts and other youth groups.

    My boys had the opportunity to go to Expo 2010 in China!

    One of these times I'll have to go myself!

  16. Judy, I remember attending the Montreal World's Fair with my family in 1967. My dad had bought us three day passes. This brought back so many memories. I enjoyed all the pictures. I too, am so thankful that I had that privilege.

  17. I was there Judy on our 10th anniversary. The first time I stayed in a B&B as the city was opening up their homes because hotels were in such short supply.

    Interesting you posted this today. My daughter just told me she is going to take her family to Vancouver for a weeks vacation while she does four photo shoots there.

    I am wishing I could go along=] If you have any quick suggestions for some fun easy things to do with a two and three year old shoot me a quick e-mail when you get a chance.

    Thanks for the fond memories!

  18. I still have our Expo passes - it really was a party and I wonder if it was what taught Vancouver how to throw a good one. We and our children have lots of good memories from Expo 86. I was also at Expo 67 in Montreal when I was a teenager and our visit there recently brought back some fun memories.
    To "a woman who is" be sure to suggest Granville Island, the Vancouver Aquarium and the Science Centre (the shiny dome in Judy's photos)to your daughter.

  19. Hi Judy, this post sure brings back memories! We got season's passes, and I went 9 times! Sometimes with hubby and 4 kids, aged 2-8, with just hubby, with just daughter (I recall that we went to see Anne of Green Gables that evening), with just my parents, and with all of the above! It was SO much fun, and we sometimes topped it off with the fireworks, accompanied by music by Rita McNeil. Dairymary

  20. I've never been to a World's Fair but have walked around the Canada Pavilion there in Vancouver while visiting many years ago. My brother got to go to Expo 67 twice with Scouts and something else. I wonder whatever happened to that vintage cement covered Mustang!!

  21. Makes me want to dig out my old pics! Mom & Dad gave all of us (you too?) 3 day passes for Christmas the previous year. I made 2 trips out from in June & went with Kathryn (6) & Joan. Then came back in Aug with Terry....took baby Eric too & Jim & Kathy. So much fun....but sure didn't see everything in 3 days😎. And it was hot & sunny each time!! Dot

  22. Lots of fun memories. We also enjoyed taking the kids to these events. Little do I remember except that it was an event like the Olympics that could not be missed. Great shot of Lady Di. I love to ride my bike around those grounds and it always brings back some of those special moments. Great review.


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