Sir William Christopher Macdonald, manufacturer, philanthropist (b at Glenaladale, PEI 1831; d at Montréal 9 June 1917), son of Donald Macdonald, president of the Legislative Council of PEI. Educated at Central Academy, Charlottetown, Macdonald began his career as a Montréal commission merchant. Within a few years he became a tobacco manufacturer, founding the Macdonald Tobacco Co and amassing a large fortune. A man with neither family nor frivolous tastes, Macdonald became the greatest educational philanthropist of his generation.
He was a generous benefactor of McGill and Ontario Agricultural College (now part of U of Guelph) and founded and endowed Macdonald College at Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Qué, and Macdonald Hall at Guelph, Ont. With James ROBERTSON, he financed a number of elementary-school innovations: the Macdonald Manual Training Movement, the Macdonald Rural Schools Fund and the Macdonald Consolidated School Project. Knighted in 1898, he was for many years chancellor of McGill.
ROBERT M. STAMP