Back - List of Pavilions

Canada Pavilion - Expo Vancouver 1986

Canada Pavilion at the Exhibition Expo Vancouver 1986
© Guide Officiel - Expo'86

The Canada Pavilion is the largest and most spectacular pavilion ever designed by the Canadian government for an International Exhibition. It looms like a huge ocean liner in the middle of Vancouver's bustling harbour. The host country pavilion, with its sleek, luxurious cruise ship silhouette, unfurled five majestic white sails.
Under the shadow of these sails, the world will discover a Canada it never knew existed. The pavilion invites you to discover new horizons. You will meet Canadian pioneers who solved the most difficult problems of transportation and communication on earth. You'll see a real flying saucer fly through the pavilion. You'll thrill to the giant screen of CN's IMAX® theatre as a goods train hurtles down a Rocky Mountain cannon. The theatre features the world premiere of the Canadian-designed IMAX process combined with the ever-exciting art of 3D film.

The pavilion offers a pleasure cruise to the most comprehensive cultural festival ever presented in Canada. You'll see why Canadian artists are making such a splash on the world stage. Dazzling technological innovations enhance the creativity of exceptional dancers, actors and musicians. One of the world's best documentary filmmakers reveals his vision of Canada in a super-realistic production that allows viewers to be part of the action.

The genius who invented multi-screen audio-visual presentations chronicles the history of communications, using his own revolutionary cinematic techniques. Located both indoors and outdoors,
the pavilion's stages are home to a variety of performers who will delight you with their folklore and other shows.

At the entrance, for example, a goose and a beaver dressed in flamboyant costumes perform satirical sketches by our best comic authors. Along the scenic promenades, the wonderful characters of a travelling theatre, a new Canadian version, appear here and there to recreate the spontaneous atmosphere of the fairground theatre. On the seaside, a veritable firework display of laser and light explodes and in the sky, hot-air balloons and hang-gliders pay tribute to the wind. In the harbour, a strange symphony is created, with the participation of tugs and boats of all kinds. Anchored alongside the pavilion, which is also a ferry terminal, magnificent cruise ships welcome passengers bound for Alaska.

Children can explore a marine world of dreams. The pavilion's shops sell typical Canadian souvenirs and you can relax in the cafés, in the large buffet where shows are presented at all hours, or in the attractive restaurant at the bow of the Canada Pavilion. From here you can look out over Stanley Park, the mountains of the Coast Range and the grandest harbour on the West Coast of the Americas.


This fabulous pavilion occupies a prime location in downtown Vancouver on Burrard Inlet where it reaches far out into the distance. You can take advantage of the Canada Pavilion's prime location and make it your very first stop. The Canada Gate, marked by a Canadian flag, marks the entrance to the pavilion at the north end of Howe Street.

Through this gate, you have access to the rest of the International Exhibition. It takes only four minutes to get to the site on the edge of False Creek. A thrilling experience awaits you aboard the SkyTrain, a state-of-the-art Canadian-made transportation system. The SkyTrain is a light, fast, single-rail transit system with cars powered by electromagnetic induction.

The shuttle service is free. At False Creek, the SkyTrain terminus overlooks the Canada Gateway, recognizable from afar by its gigantic, uniquely Canadian symbols: a hockey stick leaning against the world's tallest freestanding pole and a huge Canadian flag. Hosts and hostesses in stylish uniforms, created by Alfred Sung, an internationally renowned Canadian fashion designer, welcome visitors to the Gateway esplanade.


The pavilion presents a compelling vision of Canada in four dimensions. A time machine and spaceship will take you on a journey of discovery through the scientific, technological, cosmic, space, underwater and arctic fields in which Canadians have always been pioneers.

In the Terravision room, come and admire the country whose images have been captured by Canadian satellites such as the Radarsat super-transmitter. The Terravision story begins with images of the world's beginnings and then describes the determination of Canadians to meet the challenge of their geography.

Terravision derives its extraordinary originality from the Showscan process, which represents a major advance in filmmaking. Showscan creates super-realistic cinema by using very large 70 millimetre images projected at 60 per second, two and a half times faster than normal, and which are four times brighter and larger than a normal projection.

The New Worlds Theatre, an incredible combination of staging and trickery, takes the audience on a journey of discovery to unknown times and places. Shudder at the launch of the Space Shuttle. Admire the Canadarm, the first remote manipulator in space. Dive twenty thousand leagues under the sea in an underwater jeep, following your expedition leader in the futuristic Canadian "Newt suit", which shortens decompression time after a deep dive.

Canadians are involved in the conquest of space and the sea. These are no longer hostile domains and their exploration is a new challenge for humans.


Under the pavilion's canopy of fibreglass and Teflon, the vast enclosure of the Great Hall extends. Discover an unusual Canada, born from the fusion of art, science and fantasy.

The Hystar is certainly the most amazing thing to see in the Great Hall. This circular aircraft of the future performs unprecedented aerial feats. The huge reflective walls of the Great Hall reflect the acrobatic rotations of this new Canadian flying saucer. No other aircraft has such speed control, heading changes, hovering and flying low over the ground or water.

On the east side, a wall decoration of 108 video screens is constantly being created and recreated. The vivid images tell the story of how Canadians have imaginatively integrated transportation and communications into their country. This presentation is a first in Canada.

In this part of the pavilion, a model depicts the intricate structure and mechanics of an Arctic icebreaker that appears to rise from the ice. Another sculpture reveals the complexity of the blown wing, a Canadian invention that transforms conventional aircraft into short take-off and landing aircraft. A third model illustrates the Maglev, a new Canadian magnetic levitation train.
On the west wall, other Canadian technological innovations allow visitors to participate while having fun. For example, Listening in Space gives them the opportunity to try out the vococoder on an MSAT satellite. This device transforms the voice into digital data before playing it back at the frequency previously set by the visitor. The Hands consist of an industrial robot arm that makes paper aeroplanes and launches them across the hall.

Everywhere, young Canadian artists, the stars of tomorrow, exhibit works that express the myths, symbols and scientific and technological achievements of their country in surprising and sometimes amusing ways.

Toronto's Tim Jocelyn's New Dimensions mobile sculpture expresses the four dimensions of the physical world (space, atmosphere, land and sea floor). Patrick Amiot of Montreal and Vancouver created humorous clay sculptures of five Canadian inventors. Richard Prince of Vancouver's The Chemistry of Invention symbolizes the creative spirit.

Beau Dick of Alert Bay, B.C., created a large transformation mask that evokes the myth of the raven and the first human of the Northwest Coast Indians. Edward Poitras of Regina carved a half-man, half-eagle figure whose sexual desires, according to Prairie Indian legend, precipitated his demise.

Vancouver ceramist Katherine J McLean composed variations on the theme of Canada's fish with intriguing sounds, an unusual mode of expression, while Vancouver sculptor John Watts fashioned bird forms from moving pieces of polished steel.

In the Canada Pavilion, the perpetual motion of Canadian folk art is represented by Alex Wyse of Ottawa, who has made wacky contraptions such as fish carts and flying clouds; Stephen Denslow of Vancouver, who has embellished his cut-out silhouettes with extraordinary detail; and Rebecca Burke of Sackville, New Brunswick, who has drawn inspiration from Greek and Latin mythology to create larger-than-life, almost real-life animated figures.


Outside the Great Hall, an Arctic microcosm has been recreated, showing the transformations that satellite
satellite communications are transforming the desolate northern territories. Lasers serve as indicators and receiving ground stations become video screens. A large relief map gives visitors a new view of southern Canada from the North Pole. A satellite sends images of Inuit hunters on snowmobiles and artificial island builders in the Arctic Ocean to the receiving stations.

The Canada Pavilion offers a true cultural festival featuring the most original Canadian actors, dancers, singers and musicians.
The Amiga Studio Theatre features nine shows daily. The theatre is equipped with an automated lighting system. Remote-controlled video cameras produce visual effects of the performers on stage.

The stage has been designed so that it can be used for either the solo show of Toronto's fabulous Nion, or for Encore! Encore! a show by a major dance theatre company. Brian Macdonald, former Artistic Director of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, directed and choreographed this work written by John Gray who won the Governor General's Award for Billy Bishop Goes To War.

Other big names coming to the Studio-théâtre include
Toronto's Children's Chorus, with world-renowned contralto Maureen Forrester, Montreal's Théâtre Sans Fils and its 85 giant puppets, and Vancouver's Jumpstart troupe, in a multi-media choreography.

Montreal choreographer Michel Lemieux, whose wild imagination invents new forms of dance, the human puppets of Theatre Beyond Words, Winnipeg's Mimi Kuzyk and Luba Goy in Justa Kom-media, a comedy about Ukrainian immigrants, and Ballet Jazz de Montréal.

Toronto's Video Cabaret in Alan Bridle's The Last Man On Earth, a successful combination of video and theatre, Guelph, Ontario's Spring Festival in The Lighthouse, Montreal's La La La Human Steps, avant-garde dancers, and Vancouver's Leon Bibb in One More Stop On the Freedom Train.

You'll be thrilled by the diversity of talent on display at the Canada Pavilion.


For the first time, CN's IMAX® theatre is showing the world a 3D film on giant IMAX film, with the audience participating in the action. This is a new and exciting era in film history!

This Canadian technique of the future uses a film that is three times larger than 70 millimetre film. This film is projected horizontally, which creates a much larger image. The clear and very faithful image is perfectly suited for 3D projection.

The film was made by Colin Low, a veteran director from the National Film Board. His team travelled all over the country, from Hovel Bay on the west coast, where they looked at the transportation of timber by helicopter, to the oil fields of Hibernia on the east coast, where they filmed underwater robots.


Teleglobe Canada Theatre presents the latest creation by Emil Radok, a pioneer of multi-screen blockbusters who amazed visitors to the Czechoslovakia pavilion at Expo 67.

Radok, now a Canadian, created the film Tamed Demons, which traces man's efforts to find effective means of communication from the Stone Age to the technological age. Nine free-standing rectangular screens and a hoop that rotates to form a sphere reflect the images transmitted by ten 35-millimetre projectors, and viewers mentally recompose these floating images.


Suddenly, the pavilion is alive with jugglers, musicians, actors, poets, clowns, dancers, Manitoba's one-man band, Inuit singers and sculptors, Calgary's strolling comedians, and New Brunswick's Calithumpians, a troupe of mimes.

Tabootenay is the name of this outdoor carnival, a unique Canadian travelling show. It began in British Columbia's Slocan Valley and has spread to Alberta and Ontario. Today, the festival takes over the parkways of the Canada Pavilion. The performers and entertainers are more numerous than ever and the shows are even more entertaining!

In addition to the three stages dedicated to the Tabootenay, visitors will be able to hear the Balkan Jam gypsy orchestra from Victoria, see Rahma, belly dancer from Vancouver, the Man of a Thousand Questions from Toronto or the Parminou theatre from Victoriaville, Quebec. Visitors will be able to meet mysterious characters whose unusual costumes evoke EXPO 86's theme of transport and communication. Perhaps it will be Draco Profundo, a horn-shaped creature that moves in a shoe, or Finétoile, whose starry hat is adorned with loudspeakers reproducing the sounds of space.


A thunderbird, inspired by a Kwakiutl legend, towers over the pavilion's amphitheatre at a height of 91 metres and covers the stage with its multicoloured wings, created by Alert Bay artist Simon Dick. Equally impressive stage shows feature some of Canada's most original artists.

The daytime events are organised by the renowned Vancouver Children's Festival. Among the whirlwind of performances on the program are the aptly named Circus Bizzaro from Toronto and two Winnipeg performers, pop singer Fred Penner and one-man band Al Simmons.

In the evening, the amphitheatre hosts Aboriginal dancers, the Cape Breton miners' choir, Men of the Deeps, and many other folk groups. Traditional and popular genres are also represented by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Band, Codco Comedy Troupe from Newfoundland, and Jazz Canada with the prestigious Guido Basso, Ed Bickert, Jim Galloway and Rob McConnell.


Proudly set in its grand surroundings, the Canada Pavilion is a wonderful venue for blockbuster performances to celebrate special occasions. On the weekend of May 2, following the opening of the Exhibition, Vancouver Harbour will be filled with boats and ships playing whistles, bells and horns in the Harbour Symphony conducted by composers from east and west. The concert will be crowned by fireworks in broad daylight.

Another spectacular ceremony will take place on July 1 to commemorate Canada Day and will be televised across the country.

Throughout Canada Week, from 1 to 7 July, a cutting-edge festival of fireworks and lasers will light up the night, with the Northern Lights in the background. At the end of July, an Old Time Fiddling Festival will showcase BC's regional champions. These artists will perform at the Food Court Cabaret.


At the bow of the pavilion is a fine dining restaurant with large picture windows, where you can relax with friends and family and enjoy the view of the park, sea and mountains. The nearby Gourmet Fair offers a family menu.

In the Gastronomic Fair, located on the floor above the Studio Theatre, near the bow, is the Inner Stage cabaret and its buffet. Sit back and relax to the music of Dixieland jazz bands and Bavarian orchestras.

At the Amiga Studio Theatre, sixty-one artists, under the direction of performance specialist Tom Graff, have created a delightful exhibition entitled At the Foot of the Letter. The first part of this exhibition is a nod to the basic means of transport, the human foot and its various accessories, shoes and socks. Together with renowned artist Gathie Falk, Graff has created a diorama, the marvellous "Tableau du Canada". The second part of the exhibition illustrates the theme of communications through fascinating samples of written notes and words. At the exit, the Oh! Canada Music Box plays for visitors. This Barbari organ has feet instead of wheels and animated figures representing the Canadian Mounties.

©Official Guide - Expo'86