John Lennon, Yoko Ono and the Year Canada Was Cool

by Greg Marquis

While the Beatles were breaking up, John Lennon and Yoko Ono headed to Canada to stage a bed-in for peace, play a peace concert, and meet prime minister Trudeau.

Rockstars John Lennon and Yoko Ono touched down in Toronto in May 1969, setting off a media frenzy. Peace was the message, and to convey it they camped out in their bed at a swanky Montreal hotel, staging a "bed-in." Journalists flocked to see them, as did celebrities from Canada and the US. Some ended up singing along while the couple recorded the anthem "Give Peace A Chance" in their hotel room. Many Canadians were riding high on the success of Expo '67, and had just elected Pierre Elliott Trudeau, a seemingly hip bachelor, as prime minister. But there were simmering tensions that would soon boil over, particularly in Quebec, jolting the country. In the story of John and Yoko in Canada, you'll discover the spirit of a country wide open to new ideas and experiences.

About the Author

Greg Marquis

GREG MARQUIS is a Professor in the Department of History and Politics at University of New Brunswick at Saint John (UBNSJ), specializing in Canadian history and criminal justice history. Professor Marquis has researched the careers of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and has presented on Lennon and the rise of the celebrity activist. He has developed a number of courses in the area of law and society, and is on the editorial board of Acadiensis and the Social History of Alcohol and Drugs. In addition to criminal justice history, his research interests include urban history and urban policy, the history of popular culture and the history of alcohol and drugs. Greg Marquis lives in Quispamsis, New Brunswick.


"A fascinating overview of a remarkable time in western culture, and an even-handed overview of a cool - or 'cool' - period of Canadian history"
Hamilton Review of Books
"Marquis has caught the texture of the time, and his instinct to inspect it through the prism of Lennon and Ono is a good (and oddly revealing) one."
The Literary Review of Canada

"Captures a seminal moment in Canada’s socio-cultural development."

Canada's History

Subjects (BISAC)


Scroll to Top