In 1967 a world fair titled ‘Expo 67 - Man and his World’ was held in Montréal, Canada to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation. In March 1965 Sir Basil Spence was announced as the designer of the British Pavilion for the event as well as a general adviser on all visual aspects of the British participation.
Spence’s design took the form of a massive white pavilion made up of two cantilevered halls and a monumental 200ft tower set out on a stepped concourse. The tower acted as the entrance to the pavilion and was topped off with a 3D sculpture based on the Union Jack designed by Frederic Henri Kay Henrion. Spence himself described his pavilion as “craggy, tough and uncompromising.”
“Exhibitions are like hot houses, where new seeds are planted and forced: every good garden has a hot house.”
- Sir Basil Spence in his RIBA President’s address
The exhibitions inside were split into five sections tracing the history of Britain with a final section looking to its future. A sculpture by Henry Moore was located in a pool outside the pavilion.
“Witty and always attracting the eye,” the British Pavilion was hailed as one of the most popular at the event and received over 5 million visitors.