James McGill’s bequest

In 1813, James McGill, a Montreal merchant born in Scotland, died. 

 He left £10,000 and his 46-acre Burnside Place estate in trust to the Royal Institute for the Advancement of Learning (RIAL), which was established by the government of Lower Canada in 1801 to advance elementary and secondary school education. 

The bequest was made to found a college that would bear McGill’s name. The Burnside estate at the foot of Mount Royal became the heart of what is now McGill University’s downtown campus.