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1986: Bon appetit at Vancouver’s Expo 86

The Story

Vancouver Expo 86 executive chef Emil Stauber leans over an enormous 800-litre cauldron of soup. Some 70 kilograms of diced onions, 130 kilograms of potatoes, and 500 bunches of chopped watercress bubble to the surface. Because of the huge crowds attending this world's fair, Stauber's menu must be prepared in colossal batches. Three hundred chefs and 1,200 support staff will supply six restaurants and 42 food carts. In this CBC Television clip, the hotdogs are too cold, the dishwasher is broken, and Stauber is working hard to keep the kitchen cooking.

Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: May 19, 1986
Guest: Emil Stauber
Reporter: Allen Garr
Duration: 4:06

Did You know?

• Expo 86 ran for five and a half months, opening on May 2, 1986, and closing Oct. 13. The fair celebrated Vancouver's centenary with a total of 54 countries participating. The theme of the fair was "World in Motion - World in Touch."

• The Toronto Star deemed the Expo 86 hotdogs "the world's worst hot dog." Reporter David Kingsmill complained that his was thin and the bun was both soggy and stale. "I ate only the end of the hot dog and thus have lived to tell this tale," he wrote. (Toronto Star, May 14, 1986)

• At Expo 86, visitors marvelled at the $26,000 sushi robot which yielded some 1,200 pieces per hour. Stauber estimated that a human sushi chef could only make on average 150 to 180 pieces per day.

• McDonald's, Expo 86's official fast food supplier, operated five restaurants on site. On hot days, they served an estimated 10,000 ice cream cones.

• At the Munich Festhaus, thirsty travellers happily chugged some 14,000 to 17,000 glasses of beer per day, yielding a whopping $28,000 to $33,000 in daily sales.

• The park was outfitted with high-tech transportation. A monorail, gondola skyrides and the sky train carried visitors to all site attractions.

• Also on display, the world's tallest freestanding flagpole rose some 86 metres by the Canada Portal.

• Organizers had expected attendance to run to 13.75 million but by the close of the fair, more than 22 million people had passed through the entrance gates.

• Expo 86 brought in direct revenue of $491 million but the fair's final deficit ran to $311 million.


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