"Caa-naa-daa, we love thee!" If those opening words from Bobby Gimby’s 1967 song bring back fond memories, you were probably a youthful visitor to Expo ’67, the event that announced Canada’s coming of age to the world during the country’s centenary.
York University was also a youthful presence on the global stage. Having been founded in 1959, the University was located on the Glendon estate until it was moved to the Keele campus in 1965. And the following year marked the official opening of York’s Glendon College, offering university-level courses in English and French. Former students and alumni of York who took classes at Glendon during 1966 and 1967 are invited to participate in a double celebration by contributing stories and memorabilia from their time at Glendon to a cultural project which is in the works.
Right: The United States pavilion at Expo ’67
A committee of Glendon professors and staff members is working to put together a year-long "show" that will display souvenirs and highlight memories and cultural icons relating to Expo ’67 and York’s Glendon College of that year.
"It was a magical moment in Canada’s history," says Professor Rafael Gomez of Glendon’s Economics Department, the idea man behind this project. "It was a time of great optimism, when everything seemed possible for the country. Expo brought futuristic ideas, new technology and the world in a nutshell to Montreal." Expo ’67 took place before Gomez was born, but his parents had recently emigrated from Spain and for them, Expo ’67 was a defining event, giving them the opportunity to be part of something special which provided them with a Canadian identity.
That magic was present at Glendon as well. York’s bilingual liberal arts college had just been officially opened during the previous summer by then prime minister Lester B. Pearson, and that optimism – the feeling that everything was within reach, those discussions about the future and the hope for a better world – was very much part of being at Glendon.
Left: A postcard image from the fair
"We are hoping to collect artifacts from members of staff, current and retired colleagues, as well as alumni," explains Gomez, who is also a Glendon alumnus, having received his BA in economics in 1995. "This is a particularly appropriate time to celebrate and to remember, since Glendon’s 40th anniversary year is just drawing to a close as the 40th anniversary of Expo is getting underway."
"As the plans are for integrating the two histories, of Expo ’67 and of Glendon, memorabilia from 1967 about Expo and Glendon are all very much wanted for this project," adds Kirsten Greer, Gomez’ research assistant and collaborator on the project.
Right: An early image of the Glendon estate
Whether you are a current or former member of the faculty or staff, or among Glendon’s alumni, you are invited to contribute your stories, reminiscences, souvenir items, photos or other related objects to this show. Contact the organizers, Rafael Gomez or Kirsten Greer by phone at ext. 88149, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
For those who want to remember those heady days in Montreal in 1967, visit a comprehensive Expo ‘67 Web site created by the National Archives of Canada.
This story was submitted to YFile by Marika Kemeny, Glendon communications officer.