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Strathcona Hall

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by Dick Nieuwendyk

 

Strathcona Hall was designed and constructed in 1904 by Montreal architects Samuel Arnold Finley and David Jerome Spence.

Buildings from left to right:  McCord Museum (1905), a row of greystones (1872) and Stratcona Hall (1905) (Photo: ©2013 Dick Nieuwendyk)
Buildings from left to right:
McCord Museum (1905), a row of greystones (1872) and Stratcona Hall (1905)
(Photo: ©2013 Dick Nieuwendyk)

The funds for this building was a gift from Donald Alexander Smith, 1st Baron Strathcona and Mount Royal, a wealthy Scottish-born Canadian, who was a fur trader, railroad financier, and a politician.

He was one of the leading philanthropists in Canada who widely supported education and medical services, and who gave generously to McGill University.

In 1899, Lord Strathcona became the Chancellor of McGill and held this position until his death in 1914.

 

Strathcona Hall, on Sherbrooke Street across from McGill University became the McGill chapter of the YMCA, and its only residence for men (women had the Royal Victoria College, a self-contained complex, also on Sherbrooke Street, that served as both school and dormitory for female students).

Besides three floors of bedrooms, Strathcona Hall features a reading room, auditorium, and club rooms.

 

Donald Smith, 1st Baron Strathcona and Mount Royal (National Archives of Canada)
Donald Smith, 1st Baron Strathcona and Mount Royal
(National Archives of Canada)

In 1982, during the construction of Place Mercantile, a 24-floor aluminum and glass high rise complex, part of the Strathcona Hall building collapsed, but was entirely rebuilt. When McGill sold the building, it was stipulated that the hall be preserved.

 

Today the building houses the offices of Cacades Inc., Cascades Etcan Inc., and Etcan International Inc.

 

Strathcona Hall is located at 772 Sherbrooke St. West, Montreal

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