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Home > McGill News > 2002 > Spring 2002 > Newsbites


Movin' On Down

Photo PHOTO: Owen Egan

We're moving. Development and Alumni Relations will be leaving its house on the hill for the heart of downtown Montreal, thanks to a generous gift from the Bronfman family, who have offered up the historic Seagram Building at Peel and St. Catherine Streets. Built over 70 years ago, the castle-like edifice -- the main entrance of which features a faux portcullis -- was erected by the legendary Samuel Bronfman, founder of the Seagram liquor empire, and served as the Seagram head office until the company was bought by Paris-based water utility and TV broadcaster Vivendi SA (which became Vivendi Universal in a $30-billion U.S. deal last year that saw the purchase of Seagram from the Bronfman family). While the larger building will provide some much-needed elbow room for the University's fundraising and alumni staff, certain things will remain as they were for years in the Seagram empire, including Mr. Sam's impressive executive office.

The Martlet House name will move as well. Currently located at 3605 de la Montagne in a beautiful 77-year-old mansion built for the Hallward family, the home of the Alumni Association was originally situated on University Street until a move to the Hallward house in 1971. Now the name will move again, since it goes where the Alumni Association goes. Dates of the move are not fixed, but it's hoped that we'll be settled in our new castle by early summer. Watch the McGill News and the alumni website ( for notices of the official address change.


Photo PHOTO: Owen Egan

About 250 student competitors from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Maine, New Hampshire, New York and Pennsylvania converged on Macdonald Campus in January for the Canadian Intercollegial Lumberjack Championships hosted by the Macdonald Woodsmen. Not for the dainty or weak of heart, the champion-ships saw lumberjacks and jills compete in sawing, chopping, log-rolling, snow-shoeing, axe-throwing, pole-climbing and water-boiling events.

A team of Mac women took top place while the men placed third.

To find out more about the Mac Woodsmen and Woodswomen, check out their website at

Heifers For Hire

Photo PHOTO: Courtesy Cinelande

After the judging fiasco at the Jamie SalÈ-David Pelletier performance in pairs figure skating during the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, the International Skating Union may want to look into hiring the Macdonald dairy herd for the next winter Olympiad. These heifers were signed up by the Dairy Farmers of Canada for a TV commercial that ran in the Olympic broadcasts in February. The ads celebrated the Olympian benefits of milk and featured 12 members of the Macdonald herd posing as figure skating judges.

Indeed, it was Alfred Hitchcock who said actors "should be treated like cattle," and these bovine thespians were clearly up to the challenge. The casting agents "fell in love with our cows," agricultural and biosystems engineering professor Suzelle Barrington told the McGill Reporter. Barrington, BSc(AgrEng)'73, PhD'85, is also the director of the farm's dairy unit.

"They needed cows that were clean, good looking and fully relaxed. They didn't want cows that would be running all over the place during shooting. Our cows were quiet and well behaved when they came to visit."

The cows picked up a cool grand for their performance, plus expenses. In the past, they've also appeared on the children's TV show Popular Mechanics for Kids. But when asked, they'll tell you their first love is the theatre.

Honest Abe Goes Online

Photo PHOTO: Owen Egan

It's a little known fact that McGill is home to one of the finest collections of Lincolniana to be found in the world. Housed in the Rare Books and Special Collections Division of the McGill Libraries, the treasure trove includes handwritten letters from the great American president and his wife, Mary Todd; portraits and cartoons of Lincoln; publications on him in 40 languages; and all sorts of memorabilia, including coins, busts, posters, medals and other artifacts. The collection was a gift from McGill medical graduate Joseph Nathanson, MDCM'19, an American who avidly gathered the materials over the course of 50 years, and the Library began showcasing the results of Nathanson's labour on Lincoln's birthday, February 12.

As a result of another gift -- from Dr. Richard H. Tomlinson, PhD'48, DSc'01, for the Digital Initiatives Fund at McGill -- the Library has created a virtual exhibition of the collection on the Internet. "Lincoln North: the Joseph N. Nathanson Collection of Lincolniana" enables students and researchers worldwide to access the bibliographic records of the collection, and the virtual exhibit is a must-see for Lincoln and history buffs. The exhibit covers Lincoln's life and times, the Civil War, slavery and emancipation, and his assassination. There is even a section on a Canadian connection in the Lincoln assassination, with several Montrealers being called to testify at the trial of the co-conspirators in the killing of the president.

You can find the Lincoln North exhibit on the web at

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