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    A visit to Montreal’s annual bookworms gathering at traditional McGill Book Fair


    Redpath Hall - Mc Gill University - Montreal

    Mc Gill University Book Fair - Montreal

    I’m sure you know where I was last week Mairiuna ;-).  You’ve guessed! That’s right, in the Redpath Hall of Montreal’s oldest university, the McGill University, toting my own box in which I’ve managed to haul almost fifty books on mainly Scottish related subjects.

    Wow…you can imagine how happy I was of finding these fascinating books. 🙂

    McGill-Book-Fair-The Scottish WorldThis gathering is one that I “religiously” attend each year since I discovered the Book Fair back in 2006.

    Co-sponsored, since 1971, and organized by the McGill Women’s Alumnae Association and the Women Associates of McGill, the proceeds are used to fund scholarships for McGill students.

    At the McGill Book Fair, there is something for everyone: students, bargain hunters and bibliophiles alike. It is just amazing…tens of thousands of used books, French and English, are available! Starting from as low as $1.00 to others, in the Old and Rare book  room, with higher tag prices.

    Hard to find a spot to park your car, but nevertheless, it is worth the trip. I spent almost five hours going through all the different sections of the fair. All books are neatly arranged into topical sections ranging from Architecture to Zoology.

    Children’s literature, English literature, Arts, Old and Rare volumes, Music (including sheet music), Comic Books, Text Books, Reference books, Travel, Physics, Religion & Spirituality, Politics, Best Sellers …just to name a few. They also have a smaller section with CD’s, LPs and DVDs.

    Here’s a picture of the books I proudly and happily brought back home:


    Just to give you an idea of the great atmosphere in which you can bookhaunt for two days in a row, take a look at these photos published on

    By the way, let me take this opportunity to mention some historical facts about the University, founded in 1821 by James McGill, a prominent Scottish merchant.

    Who was James McGill?

    James McGill, the man whose vision would lead to the creation of the University that bears his name, was born in Glasgow in 1744, the eldest son of a Scottish ironsmith.

    James McGill Founder of McGill University

    James McGill Founder of McGill University

    Sometime before 1766, McGill immigrated to North America and entered the rough and tumble world of the fur trade. He spent much of the following nine years in almost constant danger, navigating the rivers and lakes of the Great Lakes frontier, over-wintering in unmapped wilderness and living off the land.

    By 1775, McGill had established himself as a successful merchant, trading in furs, ammunition and general goods and eventually became one of the wealthiest men in Montreal.

    McGill’s dedication to public service distinguished him from many of his fur-trading contemporaries. A volunteer Colonel with the Montreal militia, he led the defence of Montreal during the War of 1812. He served as a city magistrate for many years, making him part of a council that was the de facto government of Montreal. He was also a member of a committee that reported on the need for a Legislative Assembly for the colony of Lower Canada, to which he would be elected three times.

    Always a visionary, McGill was determined to create a rigorous system of education for Lower Canada. During his time as a legislator, McGill participated in the debates that would lead to the establishment of the Royal Institute for the Advancement of Learning (RIAL), a body designed to establish a formal educational system in the colony.

    Childless himself, McGill took great care of the welfare of others, including his step-children and the orphan daughter of a friend. This ecumenical and generous spirit manifested itself in his final will, which, after his death in 1813, revealed that McGill had left a bequest to the RIAL with instructions that a college should be formed.

    Spurred on by the gift, the RIAL became the governing body for McGill College, which was officially established in 1821.

    McGill University  / Coat-of-Arms

    McGill University / Coat-of-Arms

    McGill University – Coat of Arms

    The arms of McGill University contain three martlets, which are taken from a device adopted by (and later granted to) James McGill, the founder of the university. The dancetty division line along the bottom of the chief reflects the three hills of Montreal, while the colours are those of Canada. The book in the centre of the chief represents learning (just like the book in every other university’s coat of arms); the writing in the book is “In Domino Confido” (I trust in the Lord) and is the motto of J. McGill. The crowns (bearing fleur-di-lys) represent the location of the university in “Mount Royal”.

    The motto reads: Grandescunt Aucta Labore (“By work all things increase and grow”).

    Text from:

    Mc Gill Logo

    This logo is copyright of University McGill


    Today McGill University is recognized as one of Canada’s top research-intensive universities
    with more than 34,000 students coming from about 160 countries. Two campuses, eleven faculties and some 300 programs of study makes the McGill University one of Canada’s best-know institutions of higher learning.

    Talk soon.


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    3 comments to A visit to Montreal’s annual bookworms gathering at traditional McGill Book Fair

    • Laur Laur

      Im in 7th grade and i hav to reasearch this stuff…i hate reasearching but i happend to c this blog while i was on wiki and it caught my eye for a momment. I bet that ur trip was fun and to bring bac all those books must be cool to. by the way im not a blog kind of person but u got me kind of glued on to read ur blog. =)

    • Hi Laur,
      Thanks for your kind comments. They are greatly appreciated. Indeed going to the McGill Book is quite a pleasurable adventure and our search for books related to Scotland is a non ending quest! Good Luck in your researchs.

    • there are many used books sale in our area and i frequently visit them to buy some .

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