Marla McGivers Missions
Chapter 1: A Mirror onto man and his world
Historians log, first entry, Halloween 2020.
I have shed my diurnal dramatis persona for that of Lieutenant Marla McGivers, a fictional character from the man made Star Trek Universe, someone once described as "a superior woman". Like McGivers, I am of the opinion that modern men do not live up to the heroes of the past, so I pluck her from her natural timeline, and resuscitate her 300 years in the past... 1967 to be exact.
My mission? To escape the confines of Covid-19 quarantine, and investigate the remains of a faded cultural site: Expo '67. Themed "man and his world", Expo '67 is reputed to be the last time Montreal was cool.
You get there best by way of the subterranean metro system that runs under the island city, who’s stations all boast public art installations and incredible displays of what you can do with concrete. The debris from the digging of these tunnels became the island site where the exposition took place. From the Berri hub connecting to the yellow line that runs beneath the St-Lawrence river, follow the signs to “Man and his world” (Terre des Hommes) and you’ll find your way.
We arrive at the site and are met with the imposing skeletal remains of the geodesic dome, once the United States Pavilion a sculpture by Buckminster Fuller. Now The Biosphere, an environmental museum documenting the environmental impact of the fair, this sculptural spook speaks to the vision of the long gone monorails of yesterday they imagined would ferry us today.
Walking through this man made world of wonder; a world erected by 62 nations, against all odds and in defiance of computer predictions; one can feel the ghosts of its over 50 million visitors wandering this island park, part of an archipelago named Jean Drapeau for the man who drove the development of this site and project. Most of the Pavillions have deteriorated, and the few that survive have been preserved and reappropriated. The site itself is now a beautiful park, named in honor of its builder, but a shell of the dream and marvel that was the future Expo ‘67 represented. That vision drew record visitors, and set a per-capita record for World Exhibition attendance that still stands… though the site which now stands desolate and devoid of the population that once dreamed the future there. What happened to them? What happened to… man and his world?
Like all dreams, that go untended, Expo ‘67 faded into the backwater of our consciousness and became something else… a vestige perhaps of days gone by, or a testament to the realities that shape the future from fantasy. Though we do not travel on monorails or live in affordable sustainable housing (yet) these are still things we strive for, and maybe we will yet arrive there. I for one will continue to search and learn what the past contributes to shaping the future, and hope you will join me in the pursuit.
Marla McGivers signing out.