Presbyterian College, McGill University, Montreal - Historic Places Days

Presbyterian College, McGill University, Montreal

Montréal, Québec
Cultural Heritage Centre
3495 Boulevard Robert-Bourassa, Montreal, QC, Canada
Get directions
Summer Hours : Monday - Friday 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m
514 288-5256

The Presbyterian College – Seminary in Montreal

The Presbyterian College / Le Collège Presbytérien

Established:  c. 1865 – 158 years ago

Theological College of the Presbyterian Church of Canada and the Theological College in its affiliation with McGill University through its School of Religious Studies.

Classes began in the autumn of 1867 in the basement of Erskine Presbyterian Church in downtown Montreal, with Professor (later Principal) Donald Harvey MacVicar.  Lay leadership came from prominent Montrealer’s John Redpath and McGill Principal John Williams Dawson.

The college remained within the Presbyterian Church in Canada after church union.  The 1925-1926 academic year was held from the Anglican Diocesan College, until the provincial Quebec Courts awarded the College back to the “continuing” Presbyterian Church in Canada.

During World War II, Presbyterian College was used for soldier training, and temporarily moved to Toronto, Ontario, and joined with Knox College, from 1943-1946.

The first building was completed in 1873, and located on McTavish Street.

In 1882, the David Morrice Hall containing a large library, dining hall, convocation hall, offices, and residences was completed.

These building served the College until the 1950s.

By the 1950s, the older buildings were in need of repair; rather than embarking on lengthy renovations, Presbyterian College and McGill University transferred lands.

The university took the McTavish Street site, and Presbyterian College constructed a new building on the corner of University Avenue and Milton Street.

The building was dedicated on April 28, 1963. The chapel, was renovated in the 1980s, then rebuilt following a fire in November 1990. In recent years, the college has rented out two floors of its residences as dormitories for McGill University students.

History :

The Canadian roots of the Presbyterian Church in Canada can be traced to both Scottish settlers and French Huguenots, and the first Presbyterian churches formed in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, following such European Protestant Reformation theologians as John Calvin and John Knox.

Once the largest Christian denomination in English-speaking Canada, in 1925 some 70 percent of its congregations joined with the Methodist Church, Canada and the Congregational Union of Ontario and Quebec to form the United Church of Canada. The terms Continuing Presbyterians and Non-Concurring Presbyterians were then used by those who did not participate in the merger, until the legal right to use the name “Presbyterian Church in Canada” was regained in 1939. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that although the institutional Presbyterian Church in Canada may legally have merged with the Methodist Church, the United Church had effectively vacated the name and it remained available to the non-concurring Presbyterians. It also was a benefit to have support from Governor General Lord Tweedsmuir, and from Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King.


Reference :

Musée McCord Stewart MuseumP

Presbyterian College, McGill University, Montreal, QC, 1940-42


Presbyterian College, McGill University, Montreal, QC, 1940-42

Wm. Notman & Son

1940-1942, 20th century

Notman photographic Archives – McCord Museum

Collège Presbytérien, Université McGill, Montréal, QC, 1940-1942

Wm. Notman & Son

1940-1942, 20e siècle

Archives photographiques Notman – Musée McCord






  • Family-Friendly
  • Food and Beverages
  • Parking
  • Parkland
  • Washrooms
  • Wheelchair Access


3495 Boulevard Robert-Bourassa, Montreal, QC, Canada
Get directions

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