Mission, vision and heritage
A private English-language college, Marianopolis is recognized as one of Quebec’s leading post-secondary institutions, specializing in pre-university education for about 2,000 students in a close-knit, student-centred community. Since the Congrégation de Notre-Dame founded the College in 1908, Marianopolis has educated generations of motivated young people from all backgrounds who have helped transform Montreal and the world. A stepping stone to the world’s top universities, Marianopolis is proud of its well-earned century-old track record of peerless educational excellence and of its unparalleled ability to consistently graduate students on time and have some 90 percent of them gain acceptance to their first-choice school, many of them in their first-choice program. Today, Marianopolis continues to foster a shared vision of education as transformative and liberating by remaining a unique community where learning and teaching occur in mutual respect in the classroom and beyond.
The student is the centre of the Marianopolis learning community. Drawing on its rich educational heritage, the College strives to be a leader in building a dynamic and supportive environment where students can grow both personally and intellectually. Marianopolis students will be prepared to pursue academic excellence in their studies, become self-directed life-long learners, and make positive contributions as citizens of a complex and changing world.
Marianopolis College’s heritage links directly through the Congrégation de Notre-Dame to the first educational endeavours of 17th Century Ville Marie; it shapes the vision of the dignity of the individual and the quest for knowledge and understanding. Marianopolis welcomes students from all cultures, faiths and social and economic backgrounds to come together within and beyond the classroom in mutual respect and trust. The College strives to create an exciting learning environment encouraging innovative teaching and incorporating technology to better serve our students. Members of the Marianopolis community encourage each other to think critically and creatively, communicate effectively, act with integrity, promote social and political justice, and practice responsible stewardship of the natural environment.
For more than 100 years and through five moves, Marianopolis has been an integral part of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame’s educational network in Quebec. The congregation’s virtual archive is a fount of information on how the Sisters shaped the education of Montrealers for over three centuries.
1658: Marguerite Bourgeoys, founder of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame, opens Montreal’s first school in an abandoned stone stable.
1854: the congregation purchases property at the foot of Mount Royal from Samuel Cornwallis Monk as a future site for its educational endeavours.
1908: Sister Saint Anne Marie (Marie-Aveline Bengle) of the congregation establishes the College, the first institution of higher education for women in Quebec. The French sector was named l’École d’Enseignment supérieur and the English sector named Notre Dame Ladies’ College.
1911: the College confers its first Bachelor of Arts degrees through an affiliation with Université Laval.
1922: the College’s affiliation is transferred to the newly chartered Université de Montréal.
1926: renamed Marguerite Bourgeoys College, the College moves to 4873 Westmount Ave. designed by J.O. Marchand, the most prominent Quebec architect of his time and creator of such architecturally significant buildings as the Municipal Courthouse and the Peace Tower of the Parliament of Canada.
1944: the College relocates to the corner of Guy Street and Dorchester Boulevard, in the building that had housed Mount Saint Mary Convent and, before that, St. Patrick’s Hospital. Its English sector’s curriculum is named Marianopolis and reorganized along the lines of English-language universities to include programs in general science and honours chemistry.
1945: after a devastating fire, Marianopolis moves to 3647 Peel St.
1947: Marianopolis grants its first Bachelor of Science degrees.
1969: after sweeping changes in post-secondary education in the province, Marianopolis phased out its university programs, introduced CÉGEP-equivalent programs, began admitting male students and embarked on a unique partnership with McGill University’s Faculty of Music. Almost half a century later, Marianopolis remains the only college whose Music students participate in McGill choral and instrumental ensembles.
1971: the first male students graduate from Marianopolis; the College grants its first Diploma of Collegial Studies.
1975: Marianopolis moves to 3880 Cote des Neiges, owned by the priests of St. Sulpice.
2007: Marianopolis returns to the historic building at 4873 Westmount Ave., owned by the congregation. The campus’ facilities are modernized and a double gymnasium is built underground.
2008: Marianopolis celebrates 100 years of excellence.
2017: the College undertakes the largest renovation project in its history to equip its near-century-old architecturally significant building with modern safety features, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning, while upgrading teaching, learning and working spaces across campus.
The Marianopolis crest
The College’s crest embodies its history in a timeless and elegant manner. The open book symbolizes an institution dedicated to educating students from all backgrounds in Montreal and the world. The monogram AM at the bottom left is the College motto, Auspice Maria, Latin for “under the guidance of Mary.” Together with the image of the walled city it signifies Ville-Marie, the city of Mary or Marianopolis. The star and crescent on the right are taken from the seal of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame, the Catholic order that founded the College in 1908. The wavy band with diamonds is an adaptation of the Archdiocese of Montreal’s coat of arms.