Memorial Hall

Dedicated 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