Marvin & Tammi at Expo ’67

Yesterday in my blog, I mentioned the Centennial celebrations that were happening across Canada in 1967.  Nearly every community in the country celebrated the 100th birthday of Canada in some special way.  Most of these were the building of a lasting monument of some sorts.  With developments and social changes, I find it interesting to note which communities still have their Centennial tribute after all these years.

I was attending an elementary school called King Edward during those days.  For our Centennial project, the school administration chose an interesting project.  Every one of the students, and all of the teachers spent a day out on the playground.  The black asphalt area was chosen to be the spot to paint a map of Canada.  The outline of Canada was painted on the playground area first, then each province was coloured in and marked.  For myself, I was chosen to paint in the area of Lake Superior in a dark shade of blue, which I felt very proud to see when I completed the task.

Canada’s biggest Centennial party was held in Montreal, which held the World’s Fair, known as Expo ’67.  From April to October, every day was yet another milestone at the fair.  This sensational modernistic fair was a huge success worldwide.  Millions of people came to see this event, with its futuristic buildings, people-friendly grounds, and modern monorail snaking through the entire fairgrounds.

Throughout the entire run of the fair, one of the biggest draws was the various acts that appeared at the main presentation stage.  World class musical acts from all musical styles and genres was represented, including giants of jazz, opera, classical and country music.  For myself, most importantly though were the various rock and soul acts that performed over the summer of love.

Among the biggest names of the era were the soul music acts that performed, including Motown stars Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell.  At one point before their evening stage performance, the couple were quietly escorted to a undisclosed location.  During a rainy afternoon at the fair, Marvin and Tammi were filmed together singing to their monster hit, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” while huddled together under one of the fair’s modernistic telephone booths that featured a plastic umbrella above.  Today, this 1967 video is considered one of the very first promotional music videos that was ever produced.

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Tammi Terrell and Marvin Gaye appear together signing their hit record “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, huddled under an umbrella-topped phone booth at Expo ’67 in Montreal, in the summer of 1967.  This film is one of the first music promotional videos ever done.

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