Are world’s fairs obsolete? This is the eight-hundred-million-dollar question posed by Expo 67, the “universal and international exhibition” being held in Montreal from April 28 to October 27. It is too early to expect a definitive answer. The fair seems to be an immediate popular, financial, and critical success, but any enterprise involving the expenditure of such immense resources of talent and capital must obviously be judged in the light of its long-range impact either upon world culture or the creative vitality of the sponsoring community.
Expo 67 has been greeted with such universal enthusiasm (except, strangely, among British critics) that cynics may feel the fair must be doing something wrong. Can the nightmares bred by science fiction really be assuaged by this carnival vision of technological humanism? Are all those articles about Montreal, the swinging bilingual metropolis, really about the city we know, with its slums, rising crime rate, and smoldering racial animosities? Is the whole exotic complex no more than a huge delightful irrelevance?
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