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Considerable effort went into constructing Expo 67. First the site itself needed to be built and access improved. In order to co-ordinate this work, an efficient management system was adopted in 1963. Colonel Edward Churchill, an engineer, was named Director of Installations, and was responsible for the construction.

Îles Sainte-Hélène and Notre-Dame were officially handed over to Expo by the City of Montreal, which was in charge of the work, on June 30, 1964. The site was created from the existing islands, rock removed during the excavations for the Montreal metro, material left over from the St. Lawrence Seaway project, and material from the bottom of the river bed. Twenty-eight million metric tons of rock were needed for fill.

The next step was to plan and construct 850 pavilions and buildings, many of which were designed by architects and engineers from all over the world. They also needed to take care of the landscape design by laying grass, planting flowers and even different species of mature trees. Most of the pavilions were to be torn down after Expo so some features required in permanent buildings, such as heating systems, were not a concern for designers. However, right from the start, the decision was made that some of the buildings, such as the administration building, would be permanent. A number of the national pavilions, given by their representatives to the City of Montreal, are still standing today.

It is amazing that only two pavilions were behind schedule. Just six months before Expo opened, approximately 6000 workers were hard at work on the site. On April 27, 1967, with great jubilation, Expo 67 was declared officially open and its magnificent islands "came out of the water like Botticelli's Venus," as Yves Jasmin (Director of Public Relations, Information and Advertising for Expo) so aptly put it, to welcome the world.


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