Gloria Macarenko on her time at Expo 86

Thirty years ago, on October 13, Expo 86 closed its gates for good. Van Mag spoke with three high-profile Vancouverites about their time at the world’s fair, and the legacy it left behind (hint: more patios). Here's what CBC's Gloria Macarenko had to say.

August 16, 2016

By Gloria Macarenko (as told to Eliot Escalona) / Photo: Carlo Ricci

Expo 86 showed us Vancouver’s true potential. We weren’t necessarily a sleepy backwoods, but it was pretty quiet, and as soon as we realized the eyes of the world were on us, we started sitting up a bit straighter and a bit prouder. It helped us realize that our city and our province were special. We knew it was beautiful, but we didn’t appreciate it to the fullest. Today, for example, it is very difficult to imagine beautiful False Creek as the dirty industrial site that it was back in ’86.

I certainly had a privileged position by working in radio at the time and having my roommate be the Expo reporter for CKWX. From a media perspective, we were very privileged to see everything. Still, though, for the people who came from abroad and for those who lived in the city, they could buy a three-day pass and see the whole world here in Vancouver at the edge of False Creek.

The entertainment and diversity of events was incredible. You think about the limited number of concerts and venues that are in the city today—that just wasn’t the case at the expo. There was amazing music every single night at multiple venues, ranging from jazz to Cuban to rock. And also, patios! Before Expo, patios were basically non-existent in Vancouver. Imagine that. In this beautiful city, you couldn’t sit outside sipping a beer because there were no patios.

>> Jim Pattison on how Expo 86 changed Vancouver

>> Stan Fuller on how Expo 86 invigorated Vancouver’s drinking culture

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