Monday, December 25, 2017

Then and Now: Christmas at The Ledge

There are few things that liven up the holidays more than seeing the The Legislature building in Victoria lit up in Christmas colours. Dad took this shot in 1974. IMG_0016

Here's a Christmas shot of The Ledge I took in 2012. IMG_5613

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Expo 67 - Closed

50 years ago today, Expo 67 closed. The site continued on for a few more years as the Man and His World exhibition, but by the mid-seventies portions of the site were falling into ruin and were being dismantled.

The  American pavilion is one of the few structures left, but it almost didn't survive. In 1976, it was almost destroyed by fire. Today, it's now known as the Montreal Biosphere, and has been turned into an environmental museum. I visited the Expo site in 1979. Here's my two shots of the burnt-out buckyball, before it was repaired. F1060005 F1060015
In late 1978 or early 1979, a small second unit crew went to Montréal and filmed some scenes for the episode "Greetings From Earth" of the original Battlestar Galactica series. While many of the scenes were just establishing shots of a decayed futuristic landscape, series star Dirk Benedict and guest star Bobby Van did travel to Montréal to film a couple of scenes near the ruins of various pavilions. You can see the Man the Provider Pavilion in the background of this scene. By the time of my visit in 1979, Île Notre Dame was closed, and we could see the pavilions across the river being dismantled. I took two last pictures.... F1060008 F1060007

Friday, October 27, 2017

Expo 67 - Dad

Dad didn't take all the family pictures at Expo 67. Here's a shot of him on the site probably taken by mom. IMG_0076

Friday, October 20, 2017

Expo 67 - American Pavilion

The iconic American Pavilion, Buckminster Fuller's geodesic dome. Or a Buckyball, if you prefer. This seems to be the only picture dad took of it.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Expo 67 - La Ronde 5

I might be cheating a bit here. These undated photos are the only colour photos of me that Dad took on the Expo grounds -- the La Ronde amusement park area, to be precise -- but I'm wondering if they really were taken during 1967. The grounds and pavilions at Expo 67 continued for a number of years after 1967 as an exhibition entitled Man and His World. I seem to be a year or two older than in the other Expo pictures I've found, so I suspect that these are technically not Expo 67 pictures, but perhaps taken in 1968 or 1969. Of course, the clincher is the hats -- the Montréal Expos didn't start playing until 1969. The franchise was not even awarded until 1968, so this picture must be from 1969, maybe even 1970. Interestingly, these were the only Expo (or Man and His World) pictures on the roll of film. My Dad took his camera, with colour(!) film in it on this particular trip, all the way to the Expo site and only took these two shots. 1967 John Rene Expo 1967 John Rene Expo 2

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Expo 67 - Canadian Pavilion

The iconic Canadian Pavilion, probably the second-most famous pavilion after the giant golf ball that was the American pavilion.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Expo 67 - Fountains

Just what it says. Fountains. I'm thinking this shot was taken from one of the mini-monorails. I remember we were at Expo one evening and were riding one of them out over the water....when it stopped. We were stuck. I'm not sure how long we were stuck over the river. It was probably only minutes, but I recall it seemed liked hours. All's well that ends well, the monorail started up again and we disembarked at the next station.
Expo 1967 (23)

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Expo 67 - La Ronde 4

Clearly, I was born to be a train engineer. Dad took this photo of me tearing down the track at La Ronde. This appears to be the same ride as the one I was on in the August 17 photo I posted. And I'm wearing the same clothes, too. Clearly, it was a favourite of mine. Expo 1967 (6)

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Expo 67 - British Pavilion 2

Here's another angle of the British Pavilion as the Expo train zips along beside it. Expo 1967 (7)

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Expo 67 - Algerian Pavilion

This photo is starting to convince me that maybe some of my dad's Expo 67 photos weren't taken in 1967 at all. Combing through Dad's negatives can be a frustrating experience. Some are recorded meticulously; others are the proverbial negatives in a box.
 The white building in front is the Algerian pavilion. The green things that look like abstract trees is the Canadian Pulp and Paper Industry Pavilion, standing in front of the green Toblerone-shaped Steel Pavilion. However, our crack research team (me and Google) has found evidence that the Steel Pavilion had signs along its apex that spelled out "STEEL" in 1967, signs that are noticeably absent in this photo. So perhaps some of his pictures, particularly the colour ones, date from the years after 1967, when the site was run as an exhibition called Man and His World. IMG_0383

You can see the STEEL signs above the pavilion in this photo he took in 1967 (and probably taken from a monorail). IMG_0048

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Expo 67 - La Ronde 3

I loved riding in these cars. I probably would have spent half a day in them if I had my way. I have no idea who's driving the cars. Yes, my parents put me on an amusement park ride with total strangers. Hey, it was the 60s. Expo 1967 (5)

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Expo 67 - British Pavilion at Night

Last week's picture was the British Pavilion. This week's picture, the British Pavilion -- at night! Exciting, eh? IMG_0066

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Expo 67 - British Pavilion

Here's a shot of the stately British Pavilion. You can see the Expo train just entering on the left side. I loved riding the trains and the monorails. Dad clearly has some elevation for this picture -- perhaps he was riding a monorail when he took it...? IMG_0382

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Expo 67 - La Ronde 2

Here I am at La Ronde, riding something called....Toonerville? I have no memory of this at all. And what the heck is a Toonerville? It may be a reference to Toonerville Folks, an American newspaper comic strip that ran from 1908 until the mid-1950s. The strip often centered around a trolley called, naturally enough, the Toonerville Trolley. Expo 1967 (3)

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Expo 67 - Pavilion of Thailand

The Pavilion of Thailand was clearly one of Dad's favourite Expo subjects. Maybe he liked the funky spires or the little pool with the boat in it. Whatever the reason, it caught his attention. IMG_0381

He photographed it a number of times, and on different trips to Expo. IMG_0062 IMG_0050

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Expo 67 - The French and the Brits

This nice shot of Dad's shows the round French Pavilion and the towering British Pavilion. The French Pavilion is one of the few remaining pavilions. These days, it's a casino. IMG_0056

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Expo 67 - Île Notre Dame

Dad at some point either owned or borrowed a 2x3 film camera, as this shot is scanned from a 2x3 negative. I think it's borrowed because all the 2x3 negatives in his collection seem to in quick bursts -- a quick bunch of photos at one event, then none, then a quick bunch there. We can only find six 2x3 Expo negatives in the collection, all taken at the same time and at more or less the same place. This one is a wide view of Île Notre Dame, the Canadian Pavilion on the right, to the tower of the British Pavilion on the left. IMG_0003

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Expo 67 - La Ronde 1

My favourite place at Expo? Well, duh. Every four year-old's favourite place, La Ronde, the amusement park area. Here I am riding a water ride.

Expo 1967 (4)

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Expo 67 - Hovercraft

The Expo Hovercraft. Why there was an Expo hovercraft, I'm not sure. But I remember lining up and going for a ride in it. IMG_9984(2)

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Expo 67 - Panorama

I took a couple of dad's old Expo photos and made a panorama. We visted the Expo site at least once at night. I remember distinctly because we were riding around on one of the little monorails as it was getting dark and it suddenly stopped while were traveling out over the water. We had a long wait in the cool evening air before the monorail system was restarted. Untitled_Panorama2

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Expo 67 - Shoreline

So this is...I think...from the south shore of Île Sainte-Hélèn looking across towards the rest of the Expo site on Île Notre Dame. You can clearly see the inverted pyramid of the Canadian Pavilion, the tower of the British Pavilion, and what I believe is also the Man the Producer Pavilion. Off at the far left is the Soviet Pavilion. This appeared to be a favourite place for Dad to take his photos from, as quite a few of his shots are from this vantage point. IMG_0052

Friday, May 26, 2017

Expo 67 - Soviet Pavilion - Colourized

I found an online colourizer and ran my dad's Soviet Pavilion photos through it. The results are somewht mixed. But interesting.
Most of my dad's Expo photos were black and white, but some were colour and you'll see some of those soon. But I'll post more colourized versions of his black and whites as we move through the summer.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Expo 67 - Soviet Pavilion 2

Another angle Dad took of the Soviet Pavilion, probably from one of the monorails. You can see just how big a building this was by the size of the people inside. IMG_0047

Friday, May 12, 2017

Expo 67- Soviet Pavilion

My dad's photos of the statue in front of the Soviet Pavilion. I'm photobombing in the first one. IMG_0061 IMG_0060

The two images above are scanned from the negatives. Dad only made a print of the second negative, which scanned below. You can see he cropped it a bit for printing. Expo 1967 (10)

In the background, you can see the American Pavilion, Buckminster Fuller's iconic Geodesic Dome, as well as an elevated monorail track. The Dome is one of the few relics of Expo 67 that still stands, as most of the other pavilions were demolished in the 1980s. My memories of the Soviet Pavilion are not happy ones. I got separated from my parents and spent quite a while wondering around looking for them. One man yelled at me that he wasn't my father and told me to go away. That's when a guard found me just seconds before my parents did.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Expo 67 - Tractors

Last week, we started our Expo 67 retrospective with a view of a large EXPO 67 sign. Clearly, I must have loved hanging around that sign, as here as some of dad's shots of me playing on some tractors that were parked near the sign. They must have chased us off the first tractor, as you can see it being put to use in the second and third photos. Next week, I promise...some slightly less tractory photos! Expo 1967 IMG_0058 IMG_0059

Friday, April 28, 2017

Expo 67

50 years ago today, Expo 67 opened in Montreal. A bus ride, then a quick trip on the spanking new Metro, and my family and myself were enjoying the biggest cultural event in the world that year. I believe this picture actually predates Expo's opening. I have a vague recollection of visiting the site with mom and dad, maybe even in late 1966, to see what there was to see. Turns out, not much. That's me standing in the "O." IMG_0057

Thursday, March 23, 2017


Dad is trying his hand at a close-up. But what exactly has he photographed here?
Turns out it's a 1964 silver dollar commemorating the 1864 Charlottetown and Québec Confederation conferences.


Thursday, February 23, 2017


Fifty-three years ago tonight, The Beatles made their final of their first three appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show. This appearance was actually pre-recorded two weeks earlier; they were already back home in England when the show was broadcast. They played Twist and Shout, Please Please Me and I Want To Hold Your Hand. And in those days, of course, there were no VCRs or PVRs. There was no taping of tv broadcasts. The only thing you could was tape the audio out of the earphone jack if you had the right equipment, or take pictures of your tv. And fifty-three years ago tonight, that's what my dad was doing, no doubt encouraged by my older sisters. Apparently, there was more than just the thought of having a memento of Beatlemania that prompted my sisters to enlist dad and his camera on this long-ago evening. One sister told me recently that she sold prints at school during the weeks after the show at 25 cents each. And yes, her sales results proved that Paul was the most popular. IMG_0114 IMG_0109 IMG_0112 IMG_0107