May 2nd, 1986 Vancouver opened itself up to the world. Kicking off a 5 month long party to celebrate the centennial year of the city, Expo 86 was a world exposition that saw 22 million people visit the area. It’s still widely acknowledged as the event that brought Vancouver into the world’s spotlight and started the transition to international metropolis.

Of the millions that visited, Diana, Princess of Wales and Prince Charles played a part in the opening ceremonies of the event, and certainly brought a level of glamour and prestige to Expo. Here’s Diana with local Vancouver rocker, Bryan Adams.

Flashback Photos Expo 86
(Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)


There were 65 pavilions showcased across the Expo site, each highlighting a different province, territory, country or corporation. Some of these pavilions can still be seen around the city today, like Science World’s dome, formerly known as the Expo Centre.

Flashback photos Expo 86
(Photo by Ben Martin/Getty Images)


The food scene was also a major draw, with Expo being the perfect opportunity to try cuisines from all over the world. Reportedly, about $94 million was spent on food during the fair, and one of the lasting legacies was the floating McDonald’s restaurant (affectionately referred to as the McBarge).


Flashback Photos Expo 86


Expo 86 was also a music festival designed to appeal to crowds from around the world, but notable performers like Ray Charles, Depeche Mode, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Bryan Adams and k.d. lang all took the stage during the fair.

The massive celebration went on for months, and remains an event that tourists and residents look back on fondly.

Have any memorabilia or photos from Expo 86? We’d love to see! Share them with us on Facebook or Twitter.



Filed under: bryan adams, Expo 86, Princess Diana, Vancouver