Extracurricular opportunities abound at McGill

From birdwatching to stargazing, McGill offers a plethora of activities to students, staff, faculty and members of the public
There are no shortage of activities to be enjoyed at McGill.

With the new academic year having shot from the starting blocks like Usain Bolt, it feels like students, staff and faculty are scrambling just to keep pace. Sometimes, in the blur of the new semester, it is easy to lose sight of some of the amazing opportunities – recreational and educational – McGill offers outside of the classroom. Cutting-edge lectures, music masterclasses, outstanding museum collections and the annual Pow Wow are just a few of the activities and attractions available to the public and members of the McGill community.

Here are just some of the activities offered by McGill this fall. Please note, this list is far from exhaustive. If we’ve overlooked something that you feel should be highlighted, contact neale.mcdevitt@mcgill.ca.

Concerts, collections and other cool stuff

  • Macdonald Campus
    Macdonald Campus has a full slate of activities this semester, from a seminar on labelling GMO foods to a workshop on how to optimize science communication on Twitter accounts; and from Indigenous Awareness Week to a celebration of World Food Day. Check out the Mac schedule online.
  • Redpath Museum
    Kids and adults alike adore the Redpath Museum – and what’s not to love? The Museum’s large collection of ancient and modern artifacts and specimens include dinosaur skeletons, mummies, a real shrunken head and one of the world’s most extensive, and beautiful, collection of shells.The Redpath’s extensive outreach program includes weekend family workshops, a documentary film series and the popular Freaky Friday lunchtime lectures in which McGill scientists and researchers examine the myths, realities and misconceptions surrounding science issues, concepts or phenomena.
  • McGill Library
    The University’s libraries offer access to over 5 million print volumes and journals, 2.3 million e-books, e-theses and e-journals, and hundreds of thousands of sound and video recordings, musical scores, microforms and maps.Included among the extensive holdings are the Rare Books & Special Collections,  early maps of the Canadian Fur Trade, 12th century Arabic manuscripts by celebrated physician and scholar Abu Ja’far al-Ghafiqi and original versions of medieval European manuscripts.The Library also hosts a series of events and fascinating lectures and thought-provoking exhibitions throughout the year.
  • Schulich School of Music
    The Schulich School of Music has launched its 2018-2019 Season, and it offers something for everyone. The year will be jam-packed with over 600 performances by students, faculty and visiting artists; presentations by world-class researchers; masterclasses led by international guest artists; a brand-new free lunchtime concert series; a festival celebrating all things piano-related during McGill Homecoming weekend; and a new competition for young composers. Visit their online events calendar for more information.
  • The Lyman Entomological Museum
    If you’re buggy for insects, you’ll be abuzz over the Lyman Entomological Museum. The collection houses 2.8 million specimens of insects and other arthropods, making it the second-largest insect collection in Canada, and the largest university insect collection in the country.

Let’s get physical

  • Athletics
    Last year, McGill’s sports teams brought home a host of championship banners, with our baseball team and women’s lumberjacks winning their respective national championships.Be part of the excitement by cheering on our teams, from field hockey and football and to soccer and synchronized swimming. Get more information, including the schedule of upcoming games and events online.
  • If you’re looking to work up a sweat yourself, check out McGill’s fitness and recreation options for downtown and Macdonald Campus, including Paddle Mac, which rents kayaks, paddle boards and canoes.

The Great Outdoors

  • The Morgan Arboretum
    The Morgan Arboretum is a 245-hectare forested reserve, situated on Macdonald Campus in Ste. Anne de Bellevue on the western tip of the island of Montreal. The Arboretum is open daily throughout the year from 9 am to 4 pm for visitors who want to walk, snowshoe and ski its trails in season.On top of a series of beautiful trails, the Arboretum offers a series of events, including nature walks guided by resident naturalists, a wilderness survival workshop and Halloween in the forest.
  • Gault Nature Reserve
    Hikers, skiers, snowshoe enthusiasts and nature lovers should pay a visit the McGill’s Gault Nature Reserve. Boasting more than 1,000 hectares on Mont-Sainte-Hilaire, the Reserve has a series of trails from very short (10 minutes) to more demanding (an hour and 40 minutes). Staff at the Visitors Pavilion can suggest which route may be best for you.Onsite equipment rental includes walking poles, snowshoes and baby carriers.

Lectures, seminars and workshops

McGill hosts a plethora of seminars and lectures each year. Some of the popular ones include:


Once again, McGill’s full calendar of events offers something for just about everyone. This year, save the date for some of the following: