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McGill University: Canada's oldest institution of higher education

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McGill University: Canada's oldest institution of higher education

Montreal is rich in historical and cultural attractions, and one of them is McGill University. Today it is the oldest and most successful university in Canada, annually graduates 30 thousand students, whose studying takes place at 21 faculties. McGill University is surprising in its history: the emergence of the university was made possible thanks to one person who was concerned about the lack of education in Montreal - the merchant McGill. Dozens of famous people received education at the university: politicians, scientists, businessmen, stars of show business.


James McGill is an English merchant who moved to Canada at the end of the 18th century. He did not hide the flaws of Montreal: in 1787 he prepared a petition calling for better education. “We practically do not know any schools in any part of the district for teaching boys,” he wrote. "Only one out of five boys can read and write." Grateful for his own education at the University of Glasgow in the midst of the Scottish Enlightenment, James McGill bequeathed trust in 10,000 £ and his 46 acres Burnside Place estate on the side of Mount Royal to the Royal Institution for Better Learning after his death. There were two conditions: the resources had to be used to create a college in the name of McGill - and the school had to be created within ten years after his death.

James McGill died on December 19, in 1813, less than two years after writing his will. But with all his foresight, the origin of the college bearing his name was a difficult, lengthy affair. One of his heirs, a nephew named Francis Desriviver, sought to declare Burnside Place his own. He dragged on the process in the hope that the Royal Institution would not meet the 10-year deadline.

Thanks to the joining efforts of John McGill's former associate John Strachan, the Royal Institution gathered and received permission from King George IV in the spring of 1821. Three years later, the director, Rev. George Iosophatus Horus (later the Anglican Bishop of Quebec) was appointed and hired four professors. Now all the royal institute needed was the school itself, and on June 24, 1829, Burnside Place was officially opened as McGill College.

University Feature

McGill University occupies the largest area among all universities in Canada. Research conducted by teachers and students covers almost all fields of science, which attracts investors and employers. The main areas are:

  • Telecommunications
  • Nanotechnology
  • Genetics
  • Climate
  • Aerospace medicine
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Artificial Materials
  • Food technology and so on.

The university includes:

  • 73 research centers
  • 6 hospitals
  • 17 libraries
  • 4 mobile research stations.

Interesting Facts

  • This university developed the McGill App, which allowed students to quickly access contacts, schedules, calendar, events
  • Many researchers are sure that Canadian hockey was born here.
  • Some students live on campus, which is a 4-star hotel
  • At McGill University, Ernest Rutherford taught the “father” of atomic nucleus physics.



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