on October 6, 1946, the Memorial Hall and adjoining Memorial Pool were
the most substantial gestures of remembrance on the McGill University
campus. The project was approved by the Board of Governors on October
23, 1944 and the Chancellor, Morris Wilson served as Honorary Chair.
Fund raising was chaired by Air Vice
Marshall Frank McGill and involved 1,500 campaign workers. By the
completion of the capaign $752,395 had been contributed by over 11,,000
subscribers. Although the original target was $200,000 over $500,000
was raised in the first year alone and plans were expanded to include a
memorial archway at Macdonald College,two additional floors added to
the existing gymnasium, a hockey rink and funding for an annual
Memorial Assembly. Alumni and families from outside of Montreal
contributed $303,000 of the cost led by Ontario ($70,000) and
South Africa ($41,000). By the official end of the campaign on January
19, 1948 alumni had contributed $489,000 of the total including gifts
from 27 pre-1890 graduates.
The central element of the Hall is the Book of Remembrance which contains the names of those lost in both World Wars.
At the dedication ceremony the cornerstone was laid by the Governor
General of Canada (Viscount of Tunis) and the following passage
from Rupert Brooke's poem 1914 was read;
IV. The Dead
These hearts were woven of human joys and cares,
Washed marvellously with sorrow, swift to mirth.
The years had given them kindness. Dawn was theirs,
And sunset, and the colours of the earth.
These had seen movement, and heard music; known
Slumber and waking; loved; gone proudly friended;
Felt the quick stir of wonder; sat alone;
Touched flowers and furs and cheeks. All this is ended.
There are waters blown by changing winds to laughter
And lit by the rich skies, all day. And after,
Frost, with a gesture, stays the waves that dance
And wandering loveliness. He leaves a white
Unbroken glory, a gathered radiance,
A width, a shining peace, under the night.
Read complete poem