Macdonald College is born

In the early 1900s, Sir William Macdonald purchased hundreds of acres of farmland in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, near the western tip of the Island of Montreal, donating this as one of the most important gifts in McGill history: Macdonald College.

Macdonald was a wealthy industrialist, but he shunned the spotlight. James W. Robertson, the federal government’s commissioner of agriculture and dairying in the 1890s, was much more outgoing, however, and served as Principal of Macdonald College during its first three years, assembling a team of prominent professors. Together, this odd couple created what is now known as McGill’s Macdonald Campus — and revolutionized agricultural education in Canada.