[ Robert Harris portrait of Peter Redpath ]

Robert Harris, McGill University Archives, McGill University, Peter Redpath, J. Clifford Redpath's uncle and Ada Maria Mills Redpath's brother-in-law, was a major donor to McGill University. He remained close to his Montreal-based niece and nephews, despite living in England. Like his niece Amy, nephew Peter and wife Grace, he was painted by society artist Robert Harris

Peter Redpath was the brother of John James Repath, and uncle to Amy, Clifford and their siblings. The eldest son of John Redpath and Janet McPhee, he was educated at St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church School until the age of 13 when his father sent him to Manchester to continue his studies in business practice. It was there that he met his future wife Grace Wood, the daughter of businessman and philanthropist William Wood, and Peter’s employer. Grace accompanied Peter back to Montreal after their nuptials where they lived until 1881. Returning to England, they purchased the Manor House in Chislehurst, Kent, where they hosted Canada’s political and business elite as well as members of their families. Amy and her siblings were especially close to their Uncle Peter and Aunt Grace, and visited them regularly.

Peter Redpath played an important role in helping his father set up the sugar refinery as well as managing it along with his step-mother’s brother George Drummond, so much so that John Redpath renamed the business, John Redpath & Son, Canada Sugar Refinery. A wealthy man, Peter was a close friend of Sir William Dawson the principal of McGill University. In addition to sitting on McGill’s Board of Governors, Peter financed the building of the Redpath Museum and Redpath Library. He and Grace also donated book and tract collections, as well as provided funding to establish a chair of Natural Philosophy. After his death in 1894, Grace maintained her husband’s interest in McGill and continued to be a generous benefactor.


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