Expo 67 friendships lead to a Glendon scholarship


Above: Ontario Pavilion, Expo 67

No one could have predicted that friendships formed in the long-ago 1960s among workers at Expo 67, the Montreal World’s Fair, would endure and lead to help for York’s Glendon College students today.

More than 35 years after the outstanding success of the fair, several former members of Expo 67’s Ontario Pavilion have made a gift to the host province, Quebec, via York’s Glendon College. Presented in the spirit of cultural unity, the gift provides one annual endowed scholarship to a student from Quebec pursuing undergraduate studies at York’s bilingual liberal arts faculty.

The aptly titled Ontario 67 Scholarship celebrates the hospitality and friendship shown to the rest of Canada and the world during Expo 67, while noting its success. The Ontario 67 Scholarship aims to help students conquer financial barriers to their own success.

“The college is grateful for the group’s generosity, commitment and enthusiasm,” said Kenneth McRoberts (right), principal and dean of Glendon College. “Their contribution will go a long way in encouraging talented Québécois students to attend Glendon, and learn more about Canada – and Toronto in particular – while improving our understanding of Quebec.”

The Ontario Pavilion group consists of 30 highly successful Ontarians with visions of a strongly united Canada. The group meets regularly to celebrate lifelong friendships, share fond memories, and rejoice in the spirit of determination and achievement that both inspired Expo 67, and followed them throughout their lives.

“We have such wonderful memories of those days we experienced firsthand, and of the fair’s phenomenal success,” said Gary Smith (left), an Expo 67 group spokesperson, a Glendon College alumnus and a former Canadian ambassador to Indonesia. “This is our way of saying ‘thank you’ and of extending a hand to deserving Québécois students who have a truly Canadian perspective.”

Glendon College, a meeting place for anglophone, francophone and allophone students from across Canada and around the world, is the perfect setting to honour the legacy of Expo 67. It provides a solid baccalaureate education that includes a thorough knowledge of French and English languages and culture.

Expo 67 drew some 50 million visitors and featured more than 90 provincial, international, industrial and theme pavilions, many of which were declared architectural wonders. In the years that followed, the world fair became an important symbol of Quebec and Canadian culture and history.

Right: aerial view of the Expo 67 site, located on two islands on the St. Lawrence River