Interesting Sites

Few visitors to the city, as the Palace cars of the Canadian Pacific

Railway carry them into the mammoth station on Dalhousie Square, realize

the historic associations which cling around this spot. In the

magnificently equipped dining-room of the Company's Hotel, as delicacies

from the most distant parts of the earth are laid before the traveller,

he should call to remembrance the lives of deprivation and uncomplaining

endurance which have made the ground now crowned by the beautiful

edifice full of the most tragic interest, and filled with memories which

will be immortal as long as courage and stout-heartedness are honoured.

Two hundred and fifty years ago the sound of hammer and saw here awoke

the echoes of the forest. Workmen who had learned their craft in old

French towns, when Colbert, the great statesman and financier, was

developing the architecture and industries, revenues and resources of

the kingdom, here reared a wind-mill, the first industrial building in


The winds of these autumns long ago turned the fans and ground the seed

of harvests toilsomely gathered from corn-fields, among whose furrows

many a time the arrow and tomahawk spilt the blood of reaper and sower.

The old mill with its pastoral associations of peaceful toil in time

passed away, and was succeeded by a structure dedicated to the art of

war, for on the same spot stood la Citadelle. This stronghold, though

primitive in its appointments, was important during the French

occupation and evacuation of New France, being the last fortification

held by French troops on Canadian soil.

This old earthen Citadel, a relic of mediaeval defence, was, about

seventy years ago, removed, its material being used in the leveling and

enlargement of the Parade Ground, or, as it is called, the

"Champ-de-Mars." Its demolition might be regretted were it not that in

an age of progress even sentiment must give way before advance. The

grand Hotel Viger, although built to promote the comfort of the people

of the Dominion, has not destroyed the pathetic interest of the early

struggles and heroism which still clothes its site, and which heightens

the present appreciation of a civilization of which the old mill and

fort were the pioneers.

The hospitable hearth of James McGill, graced by his noble-minded

French-Canadian wife, has also long since disappeared; but through his

endowment, and the prince-like gifts of William Molson, Peter Redpath,

Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal, Sir Wm. Macdonald and many others, the

torch of education has been lighted here, which shall shine a beacon for

ages to come. Although but three-quarters of a century old, yet the

University of McGill compares favourably with older institutions, its

Mining Building being the most perfectly fitted up in the world. Its

sons take rank with the most cultured minds in Europe and America,

influencing to a most marked degree the educational thought of the day.

The year 1896 marked an epoch in its history, when a graduate of the

class of '68 was elected to the Presidency of the British Medical

Association, one of the most august and learned corporations in the

world. In calling a Canadian, Dr. T. G. Roddick, M.P., to this eminent

position, a signal honour was conferred, it being the first time the

office was held by a Colonial member. Thirty-five years ago, a

French-Canadian youth, slight in form, with broad brow and eyes full of

deep thoughtfulness, stood before the Faculty and friends as the

valedictorian of his class. That slender boy is to-day the great

Canadian Premier, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, the eloquent Statesman and the

honoured of Her Majesty the Queen.

Heroes Of The Past Le Seminaire facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail