Urso Chappell’s ExpoMuseum Blog: August 2007

16 August 2007

Expo 2017 in Canada?

Regular readers of ExpoMuseum are by now undoubtedly familiar with the drought of world's fairs in North America since the mid-'80's. It is something I've certainly been disappointed to see as an expo advocate. The last United States world's fair was in 1984 and the last Canadian world's fair was in 1986.

Toronto had attempted bidding for 1998 and 2000 and Calgary had made an attempt for 2005. This year, we came very close to Toronto once again bidding, this time for Expo 2015, but the deadline was missed as city, provincial, and national leaders couldn't find agreement on financing.

Mexico has yet to host an international exposition, but Querétero bid for 2010.

It now looks like the next possible year a world's fair could be held in North America would be 2017, the 150th anniversary of Canadian confederation. The 2017-2018 slot would be of the smaller variety of expositions, limited in size and duration (3 months), similar to next year's Expo 2008 in Zaragoza, Spain. Four Canadian cities, so far, seem to be discussing the possibility of celebrating the anniversary with a world's fair.

Talk in Edmonton was spurred by this article in the Edmonton Journal in April.

The Hamilton Chamber of Commerce has discussed the possibility of hosting Expo 2017 as mentioned in this Hamilton Spectator article.

The most elaborate online presence is definitely the Montreal effort at Expo17.ca. It provides several compelling reasons for recapturing the magic of that city's Expo 67 50 years later.

Ottawa's mayor, Larry O'Brien, has come out in favor of his city hosting an exposition that same year as reported in the Ottawa Citizen

2017 seems a long way away. At this point, we're not even sure if we're going to be calling it "twenty-seventeen" or "two thousand seventeen" in the English-speaking world. I myself will be 50 years old (when I lived in Toronto, I discovered I was a "Centennial Baby") and will not have seen a North American world's fair since I was 19. From the perspective of a world's fair advocate in the United States, we will have had a 31-year gap in expositions on our continent, which makes it difficult in a country that's often unaware of events overseas. A whole generation has grown up not ever having known a world's fair and generations that do remember, don't know they still happen in Asia and Europe (and, perhaps soon, Africa!).

Let's hope one or all of these Canadian cities (or perhaps others) go forward with their plans to bid for 2017 and show us that world's fairs can live on in North America!

05 August 2007

Expo 2010 UK and US Pavilions

Expo 2010 begins in less than three years. With an expected 200 countries and 70 million visitors, it's not surprising that plans are well underway to develop impressive pavilions.

A fascinating example of what we have to look forward to comes in the form of the United Kingom Pavilion's plans which has already begun with a design competition. The six final designs (shown above) were announced in July.

The United States Department of State has yet to select the firm that will create its pavilion, but the expected price tag is $100 million. Under U.S. law, federal funds can't be used to for the pavilion's construction or staffing, so there is likely to be a race to collect the funds in time for planning and construction. Otherwise, the United States could suffer a repeat of its Expo 2000 experience, canceling participation at the last moment due to lack of funds.

Larger versions of the above illustrations are available here.

02 August 2007

25th Anniversary of the 1982 World's Fair, Part 2

Traveling to Knoxville last month for the Fair Day festivities on the
Fourth of July, I took a ton of photos of the event, exhibits, and
from the observation deck of the Sunsphere:

The 1982 World's Fair was my first world's fair. I was 15 years old and when we went, we didn't have time to go up in the Sunsphere itself. 25 years later, I finally got to go up!