There’s been some big-time reminiscing going on this month in the Vancouver media about Expo 86. Yup, it’s been 30 years since the World’s Fair came to town.
More than 22 million people checked out Expo 86 between May 2 and October 13, 1986. That’s an awful lot of people and Expo has long been considered a turning point in our city’s history. According to Wikipedia, Vancouver went from being “a sleepy provincial backwater to a city with global clout.” A tad excessive on both counts, I’d say, but that’s Wikipedia for you. At any rate, you get the idea. Expo 86 was a really, really big deal for Vancouver.
I wasn’t living here at the time, so my Expo experience was limited to three days at the height of summer when I made a visit home to my parents. I remember some phenomenal pavilions and, yes, a lot of time spent standing in line to get into those pavilions.
The Canada Pavilion was located at what is today known as Canada Place. One of the better legacies of Expo 86 and now an iconic Vancouver landmark, Canada Place is home to the Vancouver Convention Centre, the Pan Pacific Hotel, and Vancouver’s cruise ship terminal.
One other fun bit are the Heritage Horns located on the roof of the Pan Pacific Hotel. Every day at noon, the ten horns sound the first four notes of “O Canada.”
Depending on which way the wind is blowing, I can hear them from my place, more than two kilometres away.