[ Roddick Gates, McGill University ]

Annmarie Adams, A. Adams, The Roddick Gates are the main entrance to McGill University from busy Sherbrooke Street West. The gates were commissioned by Amy Redpath Roddick in memory of her husband, Thomas George Roddick, Dean of Medicine from 1901-1908

Like wealthy families today, the Redpath family endowed monumental public architecture in Montreal. Two significant buildings at McGill University bear the family name: the Redpath Library and the Redpath Museum. Why do people donate funds to build university buildings?

Redpath Library, designed by Andrew Taylor, opened in 1893 as a gift from Peter and Grace Redpath, Clifford’s uncle and aunt. Today the heavily renovated Redpath Library functions only as a ceremonial hall for McGill University.

Nearby Redpath Museum, however, is still a natural sciences museum. Described as the first purpose-built museum in Canada, the Redpath Museum was designed by Montreal architects Hutchison and Steele in 1882.

A third structure at McGill University endowed by the Redpaths is the Roddick Gates. Amy Redpath Roddick commissioned architect Gratton Thompson to design the gates in 1924 as a memorial to her late husband, Dr. Thomas Roddick, who had served as Dean of Medicine from 1901-08. The story goes that Dr Roddick was extremely punctual, so Amy Redpath Roddick included clocks on the gate. Gratton Thompson, the architect of the Roddick Gates, also designed the Redpath family tombstone in Mount Royal Cemetery.

John Ostell was the favoured architect of John Redpath, Amy’s grandfather. Ostell subdivided the substantial landholdings that included the site of John Redpath’s house Terrace Banks, and also designed the Redpath Sugar Factory in 1854.

Do these Redpath buildings look alike? How and why did the Redpaths choose these architects?

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