Presenting the Golden Key of the New McGill Library to the University

Formal Opening of the Library by the
Governor-General––The Lieut.-Gov-
ernor, Sir. Adolphe, and Sir Wil-
liam Address the Convocation.

[…]Meanwhile the invited citizens and other guests filled the reading room and hall of the library. And to the new building Their Excellencies and the members of the convocation then repaired. Moving up the Hall the party took their places on the platform and on the seats reserved for them. Mr. Peter Redpath, the donor of the library, to whose beneficence this event was due, had spent all the forenoon in the building supervising the arrangements for the reception of the visitors and the guests of honor. After prayer by the [illegible] Cornish, and a song by the students, Mr. Redpath formally presented the library to the University. Mr. Watson, on behalf of the convocation formally accepted the gift. Mr. Redpath then presented the golden key to the Earl of Aberdeen, and the Governor declared the building open. Speeches by His Excellency, Sir William Dawson, Vice-Principal Johnson, Sir Adolphe Caron and Lieut.-Governor Chapleau, interspersed by songs and applause form the students, and the jubilation was unanimous and earnest to the point of the hackneyed “great enthusiasm.”

Much favorable comment was passed upon the decorations of the hall, the furnishings and all the equipments of the library. The carpet of cork, more elastic than corticine, deadened the sound of every footfall and the order was as nearly perfect as life permits. The volumes, almost filling the shelves of the reading room are also the gifts of Mr. Redpath. They are exclusive of the 80,000 volumes in the stack rooms.

The magnificent gift of Mr. Peter Redpath to McGill College was commenced about the first of May, 1892. It is built of Montreal stone and presents a handsome and imposing appearance. The architect was Mr. A.T. Taylor, of Taylor & Gordon. The outside of the building is in Romanesque style, as being dignified and at the same time pitcturesque[…].The main floor is entered through a vestibule with a marble dado and a marble mosaic floor. Through swinging oak doors is entered the vestibule floor, also of marble mosaic, and in which there is a niche for a statue. Passing through the staircase hall the large reading room is entered. This is 110 feet long, 43 feet wide and 44 feet high with an open timber roof, with hammered brass ornaments, carved heads, and some of them grotesques.


have octagonal bays, in the centre of the south side is an inglenook or fireplace, with a stone mantel, having the following inscription: “Cease not to learn until thou cease to live.”[…]

Source: Unknown, "Presenting the Golden Key of the New McGill Library to the University," The Montreal Daily Star, October 31, 1893. Notes: PG, 3

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