today | current | recent | random ... categories | search ... who ... syndication

The Bucky Ball began life as the U.S. pavillion for the 1967 World's Fair.


Expo 67 is, apparently, the only thing that a certain segment of Americans know about Montréal.

Bucky Balls were all the rage in architecture circles until 1974, if you believe the guy I used to work for, when everyone gave up the dream and decided to make money instead.

The painter Barnett Newman was commissioned to create the eighteen foot tall Voice of Fire for the pavillion. Twenty years later the National Gallery of Canada acquired the painting to hang in Ottawa. To the shock of the lay-folk they paid two million dollars for the purchase prompting a farmer in rural Canada to reproduce the work on the side of his barn for a grand total of twenty bucks.

A few years after the Fair, a local kite maker was in the Bucky Ball finalizing arrangements to create an permanent installation when the building's exterior shell caught fire. It burned for two days and was never replaced.

Expo 67 was held on St. Helen's Island which is also where the International Fireworks Festival takes place. One year, in high school, after watching the event under Dangerous and Other Circumstances my friends and I were wandering around the Island. We heard the sound of beer bottles being tossed from a lookout in the distance so we scampered up the side of the hill and stuck our heads over the top of the stone wall. When the gaggle of head-bangers saw us they yelled Ahhh! Extraterrestrials!! and ran away leaving standing near the two-four of empty beer bottles. At which point, we ran away.

Later that same evening as I was climbing over a metal fence I impaled my palm on the twisted wires at the top. My first reaction was to pull away which only caused the puncture to be torn laterally and I spent the rest of the evening walking around looking as though I was offering people my stigmata. As was often the case in those days I drew the short end of the stick and was forced to sleep sitting upright in a chair with my up-turned hand resting uncomfortably on its arm.

The Bucky Ball lay empty until 1995 when it was re-christened as Environment Canada's Biosphere, the only museum of water in America dedicated to the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes .

refers to


Me : 0.5 ←  → Just listen to the rhythm of a gentle bossa nova