Mount Royal, A Territory to Discover

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Fifteen libraries to discover

A university—from the Latin universus or “whole”—is a teaching institution whose objective is the production of knowledge (research), conserving it, and transmitting it.

A library—from the Latin librarium “bookcase”—is an organized collection of books, generally accessible to the public.

Fifteen of McGill University’s libraries are open to the general public. In total, you may peruse over six million books, electronic journals, microfilms and other articles within their walls.

In addition to their collections, the libraries’ architectural diversity and interior design make them places that should not be missed on a visit to the campus.

To learn more:

Blackader-Lauterman Library of Architecture and Art

Blacker-Wood Library of Biology

Nahum Gelber Law Library

Howard Ross Management Library

McGill Library

Schulich Library of Science and Engineering

Humanities and Social Sciences Library

Islamic Studies Library

Neurological Library [MNI]

Marvin Duchow Music Library

Osler Library (History of Medicine)

Polish Institute and Library

Edward Rosenthall Mathematics and Statistics Library

Life Sciences Library

Education Library & Curriculum Resources Centre


Photo credit:

© Les amis de la montagne's collection

Questions :

(1) The founder of McGill University, James McGill was the mayor of Montreal.

Answer False

(2) McGill University was the first non-religious university in Canada.

Answer True


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Tour of the McGill Campus

Oh, my hat! What a wind!
Greetings to you all. I am the statue of James McGill. Welcome to his former estate.
James McGill arrived from Scotland in the seventeen-sixties at the age of twenty. With time, he built up a thriving fur-trading business and had a property he called Burnside built on the side of this magnificent mountain.
In 1811, when he was seventy one, he willed his entire eighteen-hectare estate and ten thousand pounds sterling to the Royal Institute for the Advancement of Learning.

After his death in 1813, the Royal Institute rose to the challenge of founding an institute of higher learning on this site. Thus it was that in 1821, McGill College was established. Classes began in 1829 and were held in his former home.

Ten years later, the Royal Institute launched work on the noble structure you see behind me on my right, the Arts Building.

Since then, so much has been built in the service of knowledge! Come, let me show you the campus of today.
To my left, a tall, modern concrete building. It was built in 1970 and carries the name of James McGill’s residence: Burnside. There you will find the Welcome Centre, where you can get information about the University and even sign up for a guided tour of the campus.
Just beyond it is the Macdonald-Stewart Library. It was built in 1893 to house the faculty of physics and it was there that Sir Ernest Rutherford made his surprising discoveries about radioactivity, which earned him the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1908.

Further on, two imposing stone structures, the Macdonald-Harrington Building, and the Macdonald Engineering Building.
To my right, the biggest libraries at McGill. The McLennan Library, built in 1969 and beside it, the Redpath Library. Next to it is Redpath Hall. Built in 1839, it was to be a reading room, but its exceptional acoustics soon led to it being transformed into a concert hall, a vocation that it maintains today.

Beside it is the Gothic-style Morrice Hall, and just beyond that, the majestic Redpath Museum, proudly displaying two red banners. The Redpath Museum is one of the oldest museums in Canada, and among its exhibits is the fossilized skeleton of a dinosaur.

Well now I shall let you take your leave…
You still have many buildings to discover on the campus.