McGill was founded in 1821 from a bequest by James McGill, a prominent Montreal merchant, who left an endowment in addition to the property on which the university now stands.
McGill was largely out of reach to the 10,000 francophone graduates of the newly-created CEGEP system who had nowhere else to go, locally, to continue their studies.
McGill is one of three English-language universities in Québec (the others being Concordia University in Montréal and Bishop's University in Lennoxville); fluency in French is not a requirement to attend.
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