Chancellor Day Hall – McGill University
Named after one of the University’s first Chancellors, this 19th-century French Château style mansion was designed by Bruce Price, an American architect famous for his work on the Château Frontenac in Quebec City.
Old Chancellor Day Hall and New Chancellor Day Hall are the names of two joined building at McGill University’s downtown campus that house the Faculty of Law. Old Chancellor Day Hall was designed by noted architect Bruce Price for businessman James Ross. New Chancellor Day Hall was completed in 1967 by architecture firm Bland, Lemoyne, Edwards, and Shine. The Old and New Chancellor Day buildings are connected by an underground passage and by an atrium, which also connects to the Nahum Gelber Law Library. Today, Old Chancellor Day Hall is used for administrative and faculty offices. New Chancellor Day Hall includes all classrooms, a moot court room, student spaces, law student services, and administrative and faculty offices.
Old Chancellor Day Hall
In 1892, Canadian civil engineer, businessman, and philanthropist James Ross hired architect Bruce Price ( Architect – Windsor Station & Château Frontenac) to design a château-style mansion in Montreal’s Golden Square Mile, on Peel Street. Built largely of yellow sandstone from New Brunswick, the James Ross House was one of the most expensive private homes built in Canada during the nineteenth century in the Golden Square Mile.
His son John Kenneth Leveson Ross, a noted bon vivant and sportsman, inherited both the house and the Ross fortune. In the 1919, J.K.L. Ross hired architects Trowbridge and Livingstone to undertake $600,000 of renovations that affected every room in the house. The renovation included adding a private bathroom to each bedroom, covering up a skylight, and putting in windows to create a library reading room in what is now the Common Room. John Ross declared bankruptcy in 1928, and the James Ross House was sold at auction in 1929 for a mere $51,000. The mansion was subsequently purchased by J.W. McConnell in 1948 as a gift to McGill University.
While the university may have initially planned to use it for a student residence, the Faculty of Law officially moved into the mansion in a ceremony attended by many members of the judiciary and the Montreal Bar on 9 February 1950. At the ceremony, McGill’s Chancellor, Orville S. Tyndale, declared on behalf of the Board of Governors that the mansion would be named Chancellor Day Hall in honour of McGill’s first Chancellor, Charles Dewey Day. The opening ceremony was held in the students’ handsomely furnished common room, a gift from Maurice Pollack.
In December 2017, representatives of the Clan Ross Association of Canada and members of the Faculty of Law unveiled a plaque commemorating James Ross. The plaque is located near the main entrance.