Canada 67

Directed by Robert Barclay
Nine screens in Circle-Vision 360°, twenty-two minutes,
35mm, colour, English/French
Telephone Pavilion

The film Canada 67 was created for the Telephone Pavilion at Expo 67 and sponsored by the Telephone Association of Canada. The film was the pavilion’s main attraction and, although it was screened every half hour in a theatre that could hold twelve hundred people, the wait to get inside sometimes took hours. Directed by Robert Barclay and produced by Walt Disney Productions, Canada 67 was a twenty-two-minute colour soliloquy to Canada. It was shot over a period of nine months in Circle-Vision 360°, a film technique developed by Disney using nine synchronized 35mm cameras arranged in a circle. The film is then projected onto nine large screens for a 360° surround effect. As the Expo 67 Information Manual describes it, “A 15- speaker stereophonic sound system and nine projectors, each covering a 40° arc of the circular screen, are used for the presentation of Circle-Vision 360°. The screen itself is 23-feet high and 273-feet in circumference. With the bottom edge of the screen only seven feet from the floor, the audience has the thrilling experience of being caught in the action.”

Once the film was over, the theatre doors opened into the pavilion’s exhibition hall, which disclosed the history of the Canadian telecommunication industry through a variety of activities and displays. There was a logic and memory game, a telequiz, an enchanted forest for children where they could use touch-tone phones to listen to favourite Disney characters, and a live demonstration of the future of telephones, including novelties such as call-waiting and videophone. Although call-waiting is now standard, and videophone is no longer a novelty, Circle-Vision 360° films continue to charm viewers. Due to the enormous popularity of Canada 67, a similar Circle-Vision 360° film titled O Canada! was made in 1982 to screen at the Canada Pavilion at the Walt Disney’s Epcot Centre, where yet another new version of the film is still screening today. The Circle-Vision 360° technology made the film and the Telephone Pavilion among the most popular at Expo. (Ann Danilevich)

Robert Barclay is a Toronto filmmaker who wrote, directed and edited over 250 documentary films since the 1960s. He was a founding member of the Director’s Guild of Canada in 1961, where he contributed in various capacities. His numerous film biographies include portraits of Walt Disney, Mary Quant and k.d. lang. His films have won some twenty-five national and international awards.