James McGill came back to campus in the form of a robust bronze likeness as part of the celebrations of the University's 175th Anniversary. The slightly-larger-than-life-sized statue was unveiled at the June 6 Garden Party, which this year was combined with the annual Town and Gown reception marking convocation.
Dignitaries were dressed in costumes from the 1820s, arriving on campus in horse-drawn carriages and led by members of the Grenadier Guards and pipers from the Black Watch. The theme for the day was intended to recreate the spirit of James McGill's era. The weather was beautiful and the atmosphere was lighthearted as thousands of staff, graduates and alumni, along with their friends and families, roamed the campus taking in the cricket match, the croquet competitions, and entertainment both traditional and contemporary in the forms of juggling and jazz.
Capping the day was the unveiling of the founder's statue, presided over by federal heritage minister Lucienne Robillard. A gift from the McGill Associates, a group of Montreal-area professional and business people, the statue is the work of sculptor David Roper Curzon. Now firmly installed adjacent to Burnside Hall, named for James McGill's farm property, he appears to be striding towards downtown "to do good in Montreal" in the words of University historian Stanley Frost. Frost called the sculpture's installation a "splendid resurrection" of the man who fulfilled the roles of voyageur, merchant, magistrate, public servant and university founder.
|Photos clockwise from top left:
Photos by Nicolas Morin and Jack Sullivan