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Lens on Concordia

Charting 50 years of growth across two evolving campuses
April 17, 2024
By Marta Samuel, GrDip 10, and Michael Gannon, BA 15

As the Concordia community gears up to celebrate 50 years since the merger of its founding institutions — Sir George Williams University and Loyola College — learn more about the evolution of the university’s two campuses throughout the decades.

Humble beginnings laid the groundwork for the next-generation buildings and innovative spaces that fill Concordia’s downtown Montreal and Notre-Dame-de-Grâce campuses today. Take a journey into our storied past while celebrating the transformation and progress as we lead into the future.

A vintage black and white photo of an elegant interior hall with a curving staircase and decorative light fixtures, reflecting mid-century modern design. The Henry F. Hall Building opened on October 14, 1966, with an estimated 5,000 passersby stopping through its atrium to view the new space. | Photo: Michael Drummond
The bustling interior of Concordia University's Hall Building, featuring students and a café area under the university's logo. Pictured in 2005, the Hall Building’s atrium featured a café where students could pick up a snack between classes.
A spacious university hall with modern furnishings and architectural elements, including a staircase and large windows. Today, the Hall Building houses a number of social-sciences academic departments, engineering teaching and research labs, the Concordia Theatre, as well as student associations and spaces including the Otsenhákta Student Centre, Noula Student Lounge, Hive Café, Reggie’s Pub, and People’s Potato.
Students walking in winter attire across a snowy campus with traditional architecture in the background. Students brave the winter chill between the Administration Building and the Chapel on Loyola campus in 1974. The Administration Building was only two storeys high until it was finally completed in 1927.
Two students walking past the historic Loyola campus building with "LOY" spelled out in a flower bed in the foreground. The relaxed green spaces of Loyola campus now house renovated study and library spaces and offer state-of-the-art facilities like the School of Health, Applied Science Hub, Richard J. Renaud Science Complex, and Oscar Peterson Concert Hall.
A bustling indoor market scene with vendors and customers around stalls filled with fresh produce and other goods. Before Concordia purchased the Faubourg building — on the corner of Guy and Ste. Catherine streets — in 1997, the space was home to an automobile showroom, pool room, bowling alley, tavern, and then an urban market (pictured), part of what was then known as Le Faubourg.
A modern, renovated indoor space with a staircase and seating areas, showcasing sleek architecture and lighting. Today, the tower — initially intended to be a hotel — sits next to the original building and includes next-gen study spaces, as well as the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema, the Centre for Continuing Education, and District 3 Innovation Hub.
A historic photograph showing a large congregation attending a ceremony in a church with ornate interiors and stained glass. The Sisters of Charity of Montreal, also known as the Grey Nuns, first established its Mother House at the intersection of Guy Street and Dorchester Boulevard (now René-Lévesque) in 1871. At its centre was the Chapel of the Holy Cross, which hosted its first mass in 1878. | Photo: Sœurs de la Charité de Montréal 'Sœurs Grises' – Services des archives et des collections
A converted chapel now serving as a reading room, with modern furniture set among traditional church architecture. The Mother House, which was acquired by Concordia in 2007, now finds renewed purpose as the Grey Nuns Building. In the chapel’s place today is the Grey Nuns Reading Room (pictured), part of Concordia Library, where students sit at lamp-lit tables rather than pews.
Students studying and using laptops in a former chapel, now converted into a modern study area with historical religious artworks in the background. In the apse, where priests once orated, students can now sit back and study or relax in comfortable reading chairs.
A vintage black and white photo of a young man holding a basketball with city skyscrapers in the background, evoking a sense of historical sports achievement. Randy Phillips, BA 74, was a member of the Concordia Stingers men's basketball team from 1972 to 1975. | Photo: Montreal Gazette
A female basketball player in Concordia uniform posing with a basketball, with Montreal's skyline in the background. Stingers women's basketball player Serena Tchida recreates the image with Montreal’s skyline behind her on Concordia’s downtown Sir George Williams campus. Tchida is an undergraduate student in marketing who was named to the Réseau du Sport Étudiant du Québec's All-Star team this year.
An aerial black and white photo of a campus with several buildings and surrounding residential streets, showing an extensive open area. Loyola College was built on an apple orchard, donated by Giovanni Donegani in the mid-1800s. Construction of the new campus didn’t begin until 1913, yet the first students moved in just two years later before the buildings were fully completed. The college first offered courses for young men, opening its doors to women only in 1959. | Photo: Richard Arless Associates
An aerial view of a university campus blending modern and historic buildings amidst autumn foliage. Concordia’s Loyola Campus in Montreal’s Notre-Dame-de-Grâce neighbourhood now blends cutting-edge facilities with turn-of-the-century buildings and residences, and an athletics complex.

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