Sir William Macdonald

1831 - 1917

William Christopher Macdonald, manufacturer and philanthropist, was born in Glenadale, Prince Edward Island and educated in Charlottetown. He moved to Montreal and acquired a large fortune as a tobacco manufacturer. He was knighted in 1898.

He directed much of his wealth to educational institutes and to progressive educational enterprises. With James Wilson Robertson , he was instrumental in starting domestic science centres and manual training programmes in elementary schools in major Canadian cities. Encouraged by Adelaide Hunter Hoodless, he established the Macdonald Institute for Domestic Science on the campus of the Ontario Agricultural College in Guelph in 1903. He also founded McGill University's Macdonald Agricultural College (1905) at Ste. Anne de Bellevue.

For many years, he served as chancellor of McGill University. He died, unmarried, at Montreal on 9 June 1917.

The Macmillan Dictionary of Canadian Biography (4th edn., 1978)