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The World's Fair and Exposition
Information and Reference Guide

1986 Vancouver Exposition - Expo 86




  • 79 facts and trivia nuggets with 26 links to additional resources.

  • The World's Fair and Exposition Information and Reference Guide is now on CD.
    11,216 facts and 1,362 web links covering 24 World's Fair's and Exposition's.
    Further information can be found here.

  • Expo '86 will not be covered on this CD. But will be included in Volume II.

  • To Convert Dollar Amounts to the Year 2003: divide the amount by .609



This Fair will be on the World's Fair CD Volume II with:
High Resolution Images (10-12) Bonus: 1986 Timeline (18+)


  • The World's Fair Guidebook Volume II will not be released until Summer, 2005.





  • Dates: May 2 - October 13, 1986.

  • Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

  • Theme: "Transportation and Communication".

  • Slogan: "A World in Movement, A World in Touch".

  • Mascot: Expo Ernie.

  • Type of Exposition: Category 2.

  • Commissioner General: Patrick Reid.

  • President, Chairman of the Board: Jim Pattison.

  • Area: 70 hectares (173 acres).

  • Cost: $??.??.

  • Revenue: Lost $311,000,000 (Canadian).

  • Attendance: 22,111,578.

  • Projected Attendance: 13,700,000.

  • Daily Admission: All Ages (6 and up): $20.00.

  • Day Pass: $20.00 (ages 6 and up).

  • 3 Day Pass: Adults: $45.00, Seniors and Children $22.50.

  • Season Passport: Adults: $99.00 - $160.00. Children/Seniors: $49.50 - $80.00.

  • 3 Day Passes could be exchanged for a Season Pass by paying off the difference.

  • Hours: 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM, seven days a week. 10:00 AM - 12:00 AM for Clubs and Dining Facilities. 9:00 AM - 1:00 AM during crowded summer days.

  • Entrances: Canada Pavilion Gate, East Gate, Stadium Gate, West Gate

  • Participating Nations (54): Antigua & Barbuda, Australia, Barbados, Belgium, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, China, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Dominica, European Community, Fiji, France, Great Britain, Grenada, Hong Kong, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Montserrat, Nauru, Norway, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Soviet Union, Spain, Sri Lanka, St Kits/Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Switzerland, Thailand, Tonga, United States, Vanuatu, West Germany, Western Samoa, Yugoslavia.

  • Participating US States (3): California, Oregon and Washington.

  • Participating Canadian Territories/Provinces (9): Alberta, British Columbia, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Yukon Territory.

  • Kodak Camera Rental (disc, 100, 120): $5.00 a day (free with credit card imprint).

  • Strollers Rentals: $5.00 a day.

  • Three Wheel Electric Scooter Rental - $25.00 a day ($20.00 deposit).

  • Wheel Chairs Rentals: $7.00 a day.

  • Official Guide Book: $5.00.

  • Transportation: Sky Train, Monorail, Ferry.

  • Rides (5): Antique Carousel, Cariboo Log Shoot, Challenger, Scream Machine, Space Tower.

  • Skyrides: 2.

  • Participating Nations: 54 (including the US).

  • National Pavilions: 54.

  • Concessions: 100+.

  • Expo Theatre: 4,100 seats.

  • Xerox International Theatre: 1,500 seats.

  • First Aid Clinics: 4.

  • Emergency Telephone Number: 6666.

  • Official Silver Dollar (uncirculated): $12.25.

  • Construction was completed on time and $3,000,000 under budget.

  • The Expo also celebrated Vancouver's 100th Anniversary as well as the 100th Anniversary of the Transcontinental Railway's first arrival in Vancouver.

  • Stated monetary values are in Canadian Dollars.


Facts and Trivia



  • April 26th and 27th was Family Day. It was open only to construction workers and their families. And with only 12 Pavilions actually "open".

  • The Exposition was approved in 1980 and took 3 1/2 years to construct. 

  • Princess Di and Prince Charles officially opened Expo 86 on May 2, 1986 before a crowd of 54,000 people in BC Place Stadium. 

  • The overall theme for Expo 86 was Transportation.

  • The date of '86' on the Expo 86 logo is actually three circles and a diagonal line. The overlapping circles signify man's mutual dependence on land, air and water. The diagonal line represents man and his strive for progress.

  • Canadian Pavilion Theme: "Canada in Motion - A Canada in Touch".

  • The Expo area was divided into two areas. A larger area (67 acres) was located on the North Shore of False Creek. The smaller area  (3 acres) was located in the bay area of Burrand Inlet ... 1.2 miles away. They were connected by the "Sky Train".



  • Many participating countries chose to build their own pavilions using prefabricated modules. Each module was approximately 2 1/2 stories tall and covered an area equivalent to 1/3 a city block. The modules were an inexpensive way to create exhibit areas and disassemble afterwards.

  • No onsite public parking was available, however you could park your bicycle outside the east and west gates.

  • It rained on only 42 days during the Expo.

  • There were five full-size McDonald's Restaurants, including one "floating" restaurant, and they were the only vendor who could sell 'hamburgers". A clause in their sponsorship agreement granted them exclusive rights to the word "hamburger" on the Expo grounds.  Through a loophole in the contract, vendors in other venues could sell hamburgers, but they couldn't call them that.

  • The SkyTrain cost $60 million.



  • A Hong Kong development company bought the 175 acre site after the Exposition and divided the area into uniquely different neighborhoods. The 30 year urban housing plan will be completed in 2016.

  • Due to the Pacific National Exhibition being held that summer, a Midway was not built. Only a few traditional rides were placed throughout the grounds.

  • The computerized strobe lights of the Expo Centre were suppose to flash in unison giving the impression that the eight story structure was rotating. However, the computer system continually crashed. It  was considered too expensive to fix and to this day the lights still flash randomly.

  • Expo Centre became Science World.

  • The OMNIMAX Theatre became the Alcan OMNIMAX Theatre in 1996.

  • Was the Last World's Fair in North America.


Official Sponsors



  • Official Airline: CP Air.

  • Official Cups: Lily.

  • Official Distiller: Hiram Walker.

  • Official Helicopter: BK 117.

  • Official Hotel: Delta.

  • Official Petroleum Supplier: Esso.

  • Official Soft Drink: Coca-Cola.

  • Official Supplier of Copiers: Xerox.

  • Official Supplier of Data Processing Equipment: IBM .

  • Official Supplier of Film and Videotape: Kodak.

  • Official Supplier of Paper Products: Scott.

  • Official Supplier of Pizza and Pasta: Boston Pizza International.

  • Official 35mm Camera: Minolta.


The Sea Lion


  • A wandering sea lion was befriended by workers at the British Pavilion. 

  • Lured by the fish and chips the men fed it, the animal became tame and a local celebrity.

  • Information booths were updated regularly with local sightings, local news stations would broadcast stories about him, and the public adopted him as an unofficial ambassador.

  • One day someone reported a sea lion on a public beach. 

  • Fearing the sea lion was sick, a wildlife officer shot him in the head with a low caliber gun. He struggled for almost two hours before he died.

  • Of all the stories, this is the one that locals remember the most.


Links, Online Resources



Books, Sources


  • Official Souvenir Guide. Expo 86 Corporation, Beautiful British Columbia Magazine. First Edition. 136 pages.

  • Orientation Handbook. 32 pages.

  • What Your World is Coming to in 1986. Expo 86 Marketing Division.14 pages.



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