Expo 67

 

Today, July 1st, is Canada Day! This year, Canada turns 150 years old. I’ve been blessed that I was born in the 1950’s and have been able to participate in our country’s two milestone anniversaries: the Centennial (100 years) and now the 150th birthday. I’m not going to write or debate today about the way we, as a nation, arrived here. I simply want to write about my experience during the Centennial year when I attended Expo 67, the highlight of that year.

Expo Postcard WM

My Expo 67 Postcard

 

I remember very well when Canada celebrated it’s centennial in 1967. I want to take you back 50 years ago to share my experience when our family attended the Expo 67 World’s Fair in Montreal, Quebec, Canada in July of 1967 when Canada was 100 years young. “Man and His World” was the theme of Expo.

1967 was a memorable year for me. I was 14 years old and living at home with my parents and two sisters. We planned to go down home to the Gaspé coast to see my relatives that summer. We’d have to drive right through Montreal so my parents decided that we should take in Expo 67 to celebrate Canada’s 100th birthday, along with 55 million other people – pretty impressive since our country only had 20 million citizens. We camped near Montreal at Mont Ste. Hilaire, I think, and my Dad drove us into the city bright and early to experience Expo for an entire day! I think my poor Mom stayed at the campsite with our dog that day (she probably preferred it and had a lovely, quiet day).

Expo67logo2

Expo 67 logo

 

Expo was exhilarating, exciting, amazing and SO futuristic! It was built in the St. Lawrence River on several existing islands as well as some reclaimed land. Ninety participating countries built pavilions and I specifically remember the U.S. Pavilion looking like a giant ball of glass – actually a 250 foot diameter (76 meters) geodesic dome 200 feet high (62 meters). Currently, it’s the home of the Montreal Biosphere, which I had the pleasure of re-visiting with my youngest son a few years ago during a class trip.

There was also a Minirail – an elevated, open-air ‘train’ that took people all around the sprawling site. It seemed SO futuristic! But the best of all was La Ronde! This area was like an amusement park full of rides and games – we spent most of our day there.

La Ronde boasted rides like no other amusement park we’d ever seen before. Some of them, like the sensational, pyramid-shaped Gyrotron, were made of shiny metal and were VERY impressive: from the ground level, a rail car transported ‘travellers’ through the pyramid which attempted to reproduce space travel in a rocket. The ride suddenly ‘dropped’ into a hissing, spitting ‘volcano’ to be swallowed by a huge monster living within in it. Futuristic for 1967.

Gyrotron from Minirail WM

Gyrotron from the Minirail

 

Like any other fair, there were games galore. One particular game was a 10 cent coin toss into a plate to win a prize. I can’t figure out, to this day, what the point was of that game! My sister spent about $3.00 in dimes to win a twenty-five cent bowl or something. Hahaha!  La Ronde, still exists today as an amusement park owned and operated by Six Flags.

La Ronde WM

La Ronde

 

Fifty years have clouded my detailed memories of Expo 67 but I still feel an intense fondness for having celebrated Canada’s centennial year at Expo 67.

What do you remember?

HAPPY CANADA DAY!

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Family Treasures

This morning I dusted off the top of my wood cookstove’s warming oven where I keep important collectibles.  I had a good time, believe it or not.  Every time I picked up something which needed dusting, I was sent down memory lane.

This hard piece of fungus was brought home by my son Marty in 1997.  He skillfully scratched his name and date into it’s surface at that time.  I’ve kept it ever since as a tribute to Marty’s love of nature.

fungusWM

Driftwood.  I love collecting driftwood from the shores of both eastern and western Canada.  I’ve brought home hunks of driftwood sticking out of my carry-on luggage on an airliner or on top of my vehicle.  This wee piece was picked up on Vancouver Island and rests between a large chunk of redwood bark and a small twig covered in moss and lichens.

driftwoodWM

All over my house, I have artwork created by my children when they were young.  This funky mug was made by my daughter Nellie.

MugWM

Along with collecting driftwood, I like to walk along beaches and collect rocks and shells.  I have baskets of shells and sea glass on my front porch.  When my granddaughters Kalia and Livi were small, they used to love inspecting each and every shell over and over again.  This sliver of rock had fallen off the sheer rock face along the shore beside Percé Rock in the Gaspe where we visited with some of my grown children and grandchildren in 2008.

Perce

In low tide, you can walk on the sand bar out to the magnificent Percé Rock.  Years ago, I picked up a small piece of the rock which had falled off into a large heap at the base of the rock.

PerceRockrockWM

My daughter-in-law Nici painted this seagull in flight on a slice of granite.  Beautiful.

SeagullWM

When I was a little girl, we used to visit my grandparents’ farm on the Gaspé.  We would always go on little day trips to Hull’s River or Percé or down the Line Road to old family farmsteads to pick berries.  This old iron was found by my Mother in an old falling-down farm house which used to be home to a long-gone relative.  For years, my Mother used it as a door stop.

IronWM

I have other treasures that my children made for me or I picked up along the way of my life’s journey – they are scattered around the house where I can see or touch them and think.

Wild Raspberries

Sorry, but I won’t be making wild raspberry jam this summer.  Or pie.  The rain has been favourable for my wild raspberries – there’s a good area just before the lawn swing along the side of the backyard where they’ve totally taken off this year.  Every time I walk down to the garden, I pause and pick a berry or two……actually a handful or two.  They are perfect with no bugs, mold, or rot.  Better than the cultivated raspberry patch.  In fact, they are so perfect that I can’t seem to get them into the house.  I just keep eating them!  When my hand gets full of raspberries, I just pop them in my mouth and eat while picking another hand full.

WildRaspberriesWM

When I was a young girl in the 1950’s, I used to pick wild raspberries at my Grandparent’s farm on the Gaspe coast when we visited.  My Grandma, Mom, would tell us that if we picked a potful, she would make a pie.  So my cousins, Maureen and Verna, and I along with my sisters Betty and Faye would walk along the back road and pick wild raspberries along the fence lines.  We’d talk and play while we walked and picked a pot full.  Sure enough, Mom had a pie or two ready later that afternoon.

I wish that now I could resist eating all the berries that I pick.

So, again, I apologize in advance for NOT making jam.  Or pie.

handfulWM

Cinnamon Buns

One of my favourite memories of visiting my grandparent’s farm on the Gaspé is my Grandmother’s (‘Mom’ as we affectionately called her) cinnamon buns.  The smell of them baking was heavenly!  As a young woman, I never even attempted to bake these delicious rolls because I knew I’d never match those of Moms.  I’ve now accepted the fact that I cannot reproduce those specific buns or that smell of cinnamon mixed with the farm scents of manure and the ocean’s salty air in my grandmother’s kitchen.

doneWM

About 15 years ago, I got a bread making machine for Christmas.  I use it these days to make my own cinnamon roll dough.  The Basic Sweet Dough recipe calls for the ingredients to be added to the bread maker and the setting set on ‘Dough’.  After 90 minutes, the dough is ready to be rolled out on a floured countertop.  Last time I made these, I was outside during the machine-making phase and was so busy in the garden that I forgot about it until 2 hours past the time it was done.  When I got inside, the dough  completely  filled the entire bread machine right to the top!  It was the best dough ever!  I gently rolled it out being careful to maintain all the air bubble which make it rise.

doughWM

Once the dough is rolled out to approximately 12 inches by 18 inches, I butter it generously over the entire surface.  Then I spoon or shake on LOTS of cinnamon all over which I cover completely with brown sugar.  I roll it up into a long ‘log’ and cut one inch ‘rolls’ – about 12-15 of them.  Sometimes I put them in a glass pan but usually I bake them on a large cookie sheet.  I move my oven rack up one level so it’s not too close to the heat.  Preheat the oven to 325F degrees   and bake for 12-15 minutes.  I have a ‘hot’ oven so I usually take them out after about 14 minutes when they are just starting to brown.  We usually can’t wait for them to cool, so I carefully pull one apart to ‘taste-test’ it…….. well that’s my excuse anyway.

rolled out WM

Here’s the Cinnamon Buns recipe:

Basic Sweet Dough

Put all these ingredients into your bread-maker in order:

1 Cup Water

2 large eggs

¼ cup Butter, softened

2 teaspoons salt

4 cups flour

½ cup sugar

3 tablespoons Skim Milk Powder

2 teaspoons quick-rise Yeast

As I mentioned, select the ‘Dough’ setting on your bread-maker and start.

ingedientsWM

Once the dough is done, in 90 minutes (like I said, I’m letting mine sit in the bread-maker for another 2 hours from now on), lightly flour a countertop.  Dump the dough onto the flour.  Use a floured rolling pin to roll it out.  Check to see if it’s sticking to the counter and if it is, add more flour to the counter.  Completely butter it, add the cinnamon and sprinkle on the brown sugar with your hand, roll up, and cut into pieces.  Grease the baking pan with butter and ‘very lightly’ sprinkle a little bit of flour.  Place the round buns on your pan and cover with a linen cloth, waxed paper, or plastic wrap.  Put in the oven and turn the light on (which will add a bit of heat).  Let rise for one hour.  Remove from the oven after an hour, preheat to 325F and then bake for 12-15 minutes.

bakedWM

You can add icing if you want – I don’t usually.  Mix icing sugar with a wee bit of milk so it’s thick enough to gently spread.  AFTER the buns have cooled completely, drizzle with icing.

Store at room temperature in a container with a tight fitting lid.  I use a cookie tin.  It takes the two of us about 3 days to eat 15 cinnamon buns and the last one is as fresh as the first one.

Enjoy!

For my cousin Bruce, in honour of Andrea

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The Ottawa Peace and Environment Resource Centre (PERC) is an incorporated, registered charity. It is primarily a volunteer-run, grassroots organization with a Board of Directors to govern its operations.

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