Foundation: 1st Montreal Presbyterian College (1865-1873)

INTRODUCTION | FOUNDATION (1865-1873) | EXPANSION (1874-1882) | INTERRUPTION (1918-1946) | DEMOLITION & RENOVATION (1961-1983)


“Foundation” page of the touch table exhibit

1865
A year after the initial meeting to discuss its formation, the Presbyterian College of Montreal, first Protestant theological college established in this city, obtained its charter from the Government of Quebec. Participants at that first meeting included John Redpath, A. F. Kemp, D. H. McVicar, and McGill Principal John William Dawson, all prominent names in the history of Montreal, McGill, and the College. The Presbyterian College set out with the mission to serve Quebec and Eastern Ontario in the hopes of supporting and growing congregations in the region. Classes at the Presbyterian College began in 1867, taught in the basement of Erskine Presbyterian Church which was then at the corner of Peel Street and Ste. Catherine Street. Training was also offered to French-speaking students in order to prepare them for missionary work among the majority Roman Catholic Quebec population, the only college in the Dominion offering this service at the time. The College had a close affiliation with the McGill University from early on, and the first students had access to the McGill library, museum, lectures, as well as consideration for scholarships and medals.

1872-1873
After deciding in 1871 on the construction of a new building to house the Presbyterian College, the College’s Board of Management purchased a piece of land on McTavish St., to the west of McGill’s Arts Building (itself built in 1843). An announcement of the newly founded College was made in the British American Presbyterian Journal on January 17th, 1873. Financed by donations, the new Presbyterian College was completed in 1873.

Photographs:

Publications:

British American Presbyterian. British American Presbyterian: volume 1, number 49, January 17th, 1873.
On page 5, announcement of the foundation of Montreal’s Presbyterian College, drawing and description of the College building to be constructed on McTavish St. 1873.

Alma Mater Society of the Presbyterian College of Montreal. Presbyterian College Journal: volume 1, number 1, January 1st, 1881.
First volume of the Presbyterian College Journal, including image of the two College buildings and of the first Principal, D.H. MacVicar on page 3.

Alma Mater Society of the Presbyterian College of Montreal. Presbyterian College Journal: volume 1, number 4, April 9th, 1881.
Fourth edition of the Presbyterian College Journal with descriptions of the soon to be completed extension, Morrice Hall.

Alma Mater Society of the Presbyterian College of Montreal. Presbyterian College Journal: volume 2, number 1, October 1881.
Description of the laying of the corner stone of Morrice Hall by Mrs. Morrice on page 7.