Series GR-1986 - Expo 86 records

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Expo 86 records

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  • textual record

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Dates of creation area


  • 1980-1986 (Creation)
    Expo 86 Corporation

Physical description area

Physical description

Originals, 111.51 m

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Biographical history

The idea for a World's Fair for Vancouver was first presented in 1978. It was considered an exceptional way to celebrate two centenaries: that of the City of Vancouver, and the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway's trans-Canada line, both in 1886. By December 13, 1978, plans had begun to be made for a proposal to the Bureau International des Expositions (B.I.E.) in Paris. A formal application to the B.I.E. was made on June 10, 1979. Final approval for the fair was made November 26, 1980. The B.I.E. sanctions two types of expositions: the universal and the specialized fair. The only other world exposition to be held in Canada, Montreal 1967, was a universal fair. This type occurs only once a decade. The specialized fair is much more frequent, and is the type of Expo '86. This level of fair is smaller than the universal sort, and is dedicated to a specific theme. The 1986 World Exposition had a theme of transportation, and facilities were ready for five and a half months of operation. In order to produce the fair, the Provincial Government set up the Expo 86 Corporation. By the time of the fair, the corporation was organized into the following divisions: Commissioner General’s Suite, Board of Director’s, Executive Division, Communications and Marketing Division, Construction Division, Corporate Sponsorship Division, Entertainment Division, Finance and Administration Division, Operations Division and Participant’s Division. The 1986 World Exposition was the most successful specialized exposition that had been held. The response to the invitation to participate was unprecedented - 54 international participants, seven provinces, two territories, three states and nine corporate exhibitors. There were more than 43,000 live performances on the site. The fair had a staggering 22,111,578 visitors. Expo '86 created such an atmosphere and quality of production that it has set the standard by which all future specialized fairs will be compared.

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Scope and content

Records - including posters, drawings, sketches, photographs, slides, audio-visual material, and construction plans -
relating to the 1986 World Exposition, specifically the Expo 86 Corporation, held in Vancouver in 1986. Includes files from all of the divisions and departments within the Corporation, reflecting the planning, coordination, development and execution of the World's Fair.

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Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition


The total collection measures 111.51 meters in length. All the records have been placed in chronological order. All original file titles have been retained. With no retention of original box order, the files were arranged according to the corporate structure as of October 1986. The Expo '86 corporation as a whole has been treated as a group. Therefore, there are ten sub-groups, including the Commissioner General's Suite, the Board of Directors, and the eight corporate divisions. Each of these sub-groups then breaks down into series - based on departments and services within each division. In many cases, there were multiple sequences of files within each sub-group and series. In all cases, these somewhat repetitive sequences have been put together.

Commissioner General's Suite 1980-1986
Board of Directors 1981-1986
Communications and Marketing Division 1979-1986
Construction Division 1980-1986
Corporate Sponsorship Division 1983-1986
Entertainment Division 1981-1986
Finance and Administration Division 1980-1986
Operations Division 1982-1986
Participants Division 1979-1986

Between October 3, 1988, and August 25, 1989, the records were appraised and transferred to 838 acid-free document storage boxes.

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Restrictions on access

These records are subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act or other acts and access may be restricted. Please contact the BC Archives to determine the access status of these records.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

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General note

Accession number(s): 87-0563; 90-2571; G87-039; G89-005

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Archives code(s): previously known as AAAA1271

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