Expo '86 could see a reunion next year for 30th anniversary

Dec 19 2017, 5:59 pm

Expo ’86 was one of the most iconic events in Vancouver’s history and helped put our fair city on the map – now with the 30th anniversary just around the corner, one Vancouver city councillor wants to bring a bit of that flair back.

Councillor George Affleck is planning to put forth a motion next week to celebrate the milestone by having a reunion of some sort, although he’s not sure what it would look like or how much it would cost.

“I haven’t defined that. Obviously Expo itself was a huge celebration, and so some kind of celebration would be nice and I would say I’ll leave that to the experts,” Affleck told Vancity Buzz.

Affleck said the city would consult with potential partners on keeping costs reasonable, but the ultimate goal is to try and kill Vancouver’s image as a “no-fun city.”


The obvious locations for the reunion would be one of the remaining Expo ’86 sites: Science World, the Plaza of Nations, or BC Place Stadium, depending on how big the event ends up being.

“The celebrations could be anywhere in the city, really – or anywhere in the province since this was not only a Vancouver event, it was also a province event and a pivotal moment for our city and our province.”

So far, Affleck said the response from the city has been pretty positive. Although concerns remain about costs, a report would be formulated to hash out the details, should the motion pass. He said he’s hopeful that private partners would step in to at least partially fund the event.

“Jimmy Pattison himself was the head of Expo and he is still going strong and he’s even wealthier than he was at Expo, so maybe he can step up along with other corporate partners,” said Affleck.

“This is just the beginning of what I hope will lead to a celebration fitting for what was an important event that put British Columbia and Vancouver on the map internationally.”

When asked if it it would be a resurrection of the event, Affleck thought the word “reunion” was more apt for what he had in mind.

McBarge, the floating McDonald’s Restaurant that is sitting dilapidated in Burrard Inlet, likely won’t be making a comeback for the reunion, said Affleck.

“It’s definitely on its last legs, I think.”

He said they would likely aim for May of 2016, since it’s the start of tourist season in Vancouver and was the start of Expo 86, but it’s not set in stone just yet. Affleck thinks it would be a great source of revenue for the city.

“If we draw people to Vancouver, attract attention to the city, and we improve our ‘no fun city’ image, then it’s all good for the city of Vancouver.”

Expo ’86 was opened by Prince Charles, Princess Diana, and Prime Minister Brian Mulroney on May 2, 1986 and featured pavilions from 54 countries. Each pavilion was two and a half storeys high.

Many people considered the event a massive success, despite the $311 million deficit stuck onto the city and represents the moment Vancouver became known as a global city. In addition to BC Place Stadium, the Plaza of Nations and Science World, Vancouver also gained the SkyTrain and Canada Place as a result of Expo ’86.

DH Vancouver StaffDH Vancouver Staff

+ News