Observatory (demolished)
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Observatory from campus -- McGill Archives

In 1856 Charles Smallwood was welcomed in the McGill community as an Honorary Professor of Meteorology. Although he did not possess a degree in this specific field, he had been recording the weather and rainfall every six hours each day since 1833. So dedicated was he to this empirical study that in 1846 he had built an observatory for himself at his home in St. Martin near Laval. He was thus more than qualified to instruct students on the subject of Meteorology. In 1863, McGill built a stone tower on a bluff just behind the Molson wing of the Arts Building and Professor Smallwood's instruments were incorporated within. In the 1870's, C. H. MacLeod was recruited to assist the aging Professor Smallwood with his studies and, after Smallwood's death in 1873, MacLeod continued to telegraph the daily report to Toronto's Canadian Meteorological Service and took over Smallwood's studies. A few years later, McGill attached a house to the Observatory for MacLeod, now a professor, and his family. In 1874, MacLeod determined the Observatory's exact longitude using telegraph signals and was subsequently asked to wire the time daily to the railways, harbours, and government buildings in Ottawa. All of Canada set their watches by McGill's time for many years and the railways were still using the signal in the 1960's. Unfortunately, in 1963 McGill needed to expand the Arts Building and the Observatory was demolished to be replaced by the Stephen Leacock Building. Set into the floor of this new concrete edifice are a copper square and a plaque on the wall that commemorate the Observatory and its achievements.

Additional Pictures of the Observatory
Observatory -- McGill Archives
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Built 1863, demolished 1963
Architect - unknown
Donor - none
Current use - none

Observatory & Presbyterian College from cupula of Arts
-- McGill Archives

Maclead in front of the Observatory
-- McGill Archives

Observatory from Dr. Penfield (Nov. 1962)
-- McGill Archives

-- McGill Archives

-- McGill Archives

-- Instructional Communications Centre