Breaking New Ground—Stories from Defence Construction Breaking_new_ground - Page 54

Project: Centennial Celebrations Although DCL’s role in the 1967 World’s Fair—also known as Expo 67—isn’t well known, it proved crucial to the success of the project. Official sanction for Canada as host wasn’t granted until November 13, 1962, leaving less than five years to plan and build the fair—which required the construction of a site in the middle of the St. Lawrence River, where Ile Ste-Helene would double in size and a new island, Ile Notre Dame, would be created. This alone would require 25 million tons of fill—there were also various national, regional and industrial display pavilions, transportation links to Montreal, and the Habitat 67 demonstration housing project. The early days of the project brought significant delays, resulting from the 1963 federal election, the debate over the fair’s location in Montreal and political disagreements between various levels of government (which led to the resignation of Expo’s first top managers). In the summer of 1963, Robert Shaw was appointed the Deputy Commissioner General of the Canadian Corporation for the 1967 World Exhibition (CCWE), and within weeks requested DCL’s support. This was a natural step: Shaw was also President of the Foundation Company, which had been the contractor for the EASE project (the Diefenbunker) in Carp, and Shaw himself had earlier served as DCL’s first Chief Engineer, so he was fully aware of DCL’s capabilities and strengths. Cabinet approved DCL running the contracting system on December 9, 1963. Four days later, Terry Kelly was sent to Montreal to get things started: he would remain there almost four years. DCL eventually provided engineering and administrative assistance to Expo, including setting up the administrative procedures, and aiding negotiations with professional consultants for building and services designs. But DCL’s most substantial and long-term assistance involved handling the tender calls and the subsequent stages of contracts. Many DCL personnel, including the entire management staff, were involved in Expo 67 on an occasional basis, but the company also provided three senior staff members for the project on a full-time basis: 44 BREAKING NEW GROUND DEFENCE CONSTRUCTION CANADA