N-0000.193.10.1 | McGill College, Sherbrooke Street,, Montreal, QC, about 1859

McGill College, Sherbrooke Street,, Montreal, QC, about 1859
William Notman (1826-1891)
About 1859, 19th century
Silver salts on paper mounted on card - Albumen process
7.3 x 7 cm
Gift of Mr. James Geoffrey Notman
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Architecture (8646) , educational (709) , Photograph (77678)
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In 1860, the intersection of Sherbrooke and McGill College Streets was not as busy as it is today. Sherbrooke Street, which was bordered by farms and orchards, was still somewhat rustic.

McGill College was made up of just two buildings, the central and east wings of the Arts Building. Sir William Dawson, who had been appointed principal of the college in 1855, stated that upon his arrival the campus was nothing to be proud of. The buildings were in disrepair, the grounds were being used as pastures by adjacent farms and the roads leading to it were often impassable.

Nevertheless, by 1860 the area surrounding McGill College was being transformed into the chic residential neighbourhood known as the Golden Square Mile. And Sherbrooke Street ran right through the area. That same year, workers digging near the southern edge of the McGill campus while constructing the new student residences discovered artifacts and fossils. Advised of the discovery, Dawson organized one of the first archeological rescue missions in Canada and convinced the owner of the property, Edmond Dorion, to donate the artifacts and fossils to the Natural History Society of Montreal.