Expo 86


EXPO 86 was an international transportation and communications exposition in VANCOUVER timed to celebrate the city's centennial. It opened 2 May 1986 and ran 165 days to 13 Oct, attracting 22,111,577 visitors. The single-day attendance record was 341,806. Criticized as a giant make-work project that diverted public money from much-needed social programs, it was promoted by its boosters as a way of putting Vancouver on the map as a world-class city; it was also touted as a source of economic spin-offs. The main site on the north shore of FALSE CREEK contained 65 pavilions, along with theatres, restaurants, rides, plazas and a 5.4-km monorail. Canada Place, the federal government pavilion, was built across town from the main site on BURRARD INLET. It later became a convention centre and CRUISE SHIP terminal. Other prominent facilities that stayed in place after the fair include BC PLACE STADIUM, SCIENCE WORLD BC and the SKYTRAIN. A total of 54 countries participated, along with 7 provinces, 2 territories, 3 American states and 41 corporations, making it the largest special-category exposition ever held. It was managed by Expo 86 Corp, a non-profit agency chaired by the entrepreneur Jim PATTISON. The fair's commissioner general was Patrick Reid, a diplomat. The total cost of $1.5 billion was shared by federal and provincial governments and corporate participants. The $311-million deficit was picked up by provincial lottery revenues. In 1988, the provincial government sold the 82.5-ha site on False Creek to Concord Pacific Developments, a company owned by the Hong Kong billionaire LI KA-SHING, which began building a vast commercial–residential complex known as Concord Pacific Place.