La Ronde, Montreal 1967 Essay

1050 words - 4 pages

La Ronde, Montreal 1967

This map is taken from the Official Souvenir book of Expo '67, sold for one dollar at the fair grounds. This book advertises "three-dimensional maps in color", and depicts the various sections of the fair. Its dimensions are about eight and a half by eleven inches.

La Ronde constituted the easternmost part of the Montreal exposition site, and was devoted primarily to amusement. This section was designed by a team including Joe Baker, an architect, Norman Slater, an industrial designer and light specialist, Francois Dallegret, a special effects designer, and Leonard Levitan. They were given 135 acres of man made land that had been formed as an extension of the Ile Sainte-Hélène. They had only four years to design an amusement center that would be used both during and after the exposition. A small island of granite, rising ten feet above the St. Lawrence River, was actually destroyed so that La Ronde could be created. The granite was blasted away, leaving a perimeter of rock, which was than surrounded by fill. The crater made by the explosion became Dolphin Lake, the body of water towards the north and center of the map.

The main entrance to La Ronde was an Expo Express stop (number 513 on the map), which arrived at the Esplanade, an open area towards the left and center of the map. Expo Express was a monorail set up especially for the fair. From there crowds could either go north to get to the Dolphin pool (511), Aquarium (512), and Pioneerland (524). They could also travel south to Children's World (528) and the Youth Pavilion (529). To reach all the other activities, visitors would go east through the Mall, the narrow strip of land bisecting the map into two sections. In Pioneerland, there was also an exhibit sponsored by the province of Alberta, called Fort Edmonton, that showed a "traditional" western setting that included such stereotypical spectacles as action-packed saloons and barber shops. At the dolphin pool, trained dolphins performed tricks to a crowd of up to 900 people. The aquarium was designed by architect George F. Ever to exhibit marine life.

At the southwest corner of the map, in addition to Children's world and the Youth Pavilion, stood the Gyrotron (535). According to many architectural critics, this was the only building of even slight architectural interest in La Ronde. It was designed by the architect Sean Kinny, and was comprised of a large pyramid connected to a smaller one. The former showcased a simulated flight through space with planets, space ships, and astronauts, while the latter showed a descent into hell, where the visitor was swallowed by a mechanical monster.

Transportation was provided via pedicabs, the "Sky Ride", and the "Minirail,". a train circuit through all the major parts of La Ronde, and its major stations are marked on the map (515, 543). The Sky Ride (519) was a gondola traveling over Dolphin lake, as can be seen in the southeast corner of the lake on the map,...

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