The campus that never was

History of proposed architecture plans for McGill downtown campus

Each year, McGill holds its Convocation ceremonies in a giant tent on the Lower Downtown Campus. But what if we had our own hall, purpose-built for such activities? It nearly happened, in 1919.  And what if the Arts Building had a terrace above the current entrance, so people could step out and enjoy the view of the main avenue as it sweeps towards downtown? All part of the original design, in 1839.

Over the years, different architects have put forward a variety of plans and proposals for McGill’s lower campus, including a gym on Sherbrooke Street and an imposing tower in the Redpath Library. We present a small selection of big ideas from McGill’s early days that never made it off the drawing board. Join us as we tour an imaginary campus: the McGill that might have been.

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