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A better future for our planet. Made by McGill.

New Vic Architecture

An extraordinary opportunity is within our grasp. The former site of the Royal Victoria Hospital offers us the chance to create a state-of-the-art sustainability research, teaching and policy hub: the New Vic.

Across our campuses, McGill has many of the necessary ingredients to take on sustainability challenges. But to tackle global challenges, we need to bring researchers together on the basis of the problems they are working on, and not solely the disciplines they specialize in. We also need to bring our strengths together in one place – to give a physical home to the talent and infrastructure McGill has developed around sustainability.

This is exactly what the New Vic project will do.

We have the chance to intensify our sustainability efforts like never before, by building space for teams of diverse researchers to connect around shared themes and problems.

The result? An accelerator driving rapid knowledge translation and innovative partnerships – and creating a new model for the 21st-century university.

Download: New Vic Project Case for Support

Discover our vision for the future

A bold academic mission

The New Vic will bring together hundreds of faculty and students from science, engineering, the humanities and social sciences. These teams will cover the full spectrum of research and teaching, from fundamental investigations to policy-ready science. The result: a living laboratory dedicated to sustainability systems and public policy.

Through this unique co-location of sustainability science and public policy, we can move laboratory discoveries into the real world where they will be used. Pairing STEM strengths with policy insight will create cascading benefits, from commercializing energy-efficient clean technologies to driving policy that promotes a green economy.

Our academic mission:

  • Sustainability Systems will build on the strengths that McGill has spent decades developing, providing an environment where new ideas grow and new partnerships flourish. The New Vic will house three research clusters essential to sustainability: Molecular/Materials Systems, Earth Systems, and Urban Systems.
  • Public Policy, centred at the Max Bell School, will bring policy expertise into direct conversation with sustainability science, ensuring that new discoveries and technologies are communicated to those who are ultimately responsible for their implementation. At the same time, scientists will learn from policy experts, ensuring that their discoveries can be informed by the realities of the governments, communities and citizens who will adopt them.
  • Modern Teaching & Active Learning spaces will be created, including library facilities, 760 lecture seats in active learning classrooms, large event spaces, and a variety of informal learning and "collision" spaces to stimulate interaction.
Heritage wing of the former Royal Victoria Hospital in fall
Southward view of pedestrian McTavish Street in downtown Montreal

Global leadership on the most critical subjects

The New Vic will propel McGill and Montreal as global leaders in sustainability research, teaching, innovation and action. Through partnerships with government, community groups and industry, the project will catalyze transformation across our campuses and research sectors, in our community and beyond.

As our city’s profile in sustainability continues to grow, McGill’s role as a thought leader and connector among research, industry and government sectors in Montreal will amplify our efforts in new and exciting ways.

Your support can:

  • Stimulate innovation by creating a crossroads where academic, private sector and government partners, NGOs and communities – including Indigenous communities – can intersect to develop and apply new knowledge, with the agility to evolve in step with local, national and global needs.
  • Accelerate Montreal’s, Quebec’s and Canada’s positions as leaders in areas including: sustainable and inclusive growth; the sustainable use of resources; the transition to a low carbon economy; climate science and climate change mitigation; and policy informed by evidence and analysis.
  • Bring the strength of McGill’s research expertise and robust partnerships network to bear as a major partner to Montreal’s ascendant leadership in green finance, cleantech, and international sustainability discourse.

Spaces designed for collaborative innovation

The New Vic is designed to become a magnet for research talent. The state-of-the-art, sustainably built facility will be equipped with the latest technologies and a constellation of research and learning spaces designed to encourage collaboration and innovation.

Scientists and students from diverse fields will share equipment and computational resources, creating opportunities for unconventional research collaborations. Teams from across McGill’s campuses will come together in spaces designed with principles of transparency, openness and connection.

Your support can create:

  • Discovery Hubs: advanced research, measurement and fabrication facilities housing advanced instrumentation and workspaces.
  • Laboratories: wet, dry and computational labs built to the highest standard.
  • Shared and common spaces, including study spaces, active learning classrooms, and informal venues such as cafés and lounges where people can meet, interact and create.
  • Learning, Teaching, and Library Facilities: active learning classrooms, informal learning spaces, and “collision spaces” for events and interaction.
  • Institutes and Centres: six research and discourse poles oriented around intersection of policy and social sciences.
The New Vic
A researcher uses a dropper to view specimen on microscope slide

Reimagined teaching and learning

Young people have the ideas and motivation to change the world, and the best and brightest are here at McGill. Engaged, aware, and driven to learn by doing, today’s students have tremendous potential to make significant contributions to sustainability progress.

More than an innovative research space, the New Vic will be a dynamic neighbourhood for students from all disciplines, giving them an exciting, immersive learning environment that eclipses the traditional lecture hall.

Your support can:

  • Help our students become leaders and innovators through multidisciplinary teaching, research and experiential learning that includes partnerships with government and industry.
  • Empower students to tackle the sustainability challenges that motivate them most, such as rapid transitioning to low or zero carbon economies and addressing climate change and its outcomes.
  • Extend the downtown McGill campus northward, to the benefit of students from all programs of study.
  • Develop lecture and active learning classroom spaces, along with food service zones, library resources and informal spaces for students to interact, study and create together.

Sustainable design and infrastructure

For more than a century, the Royal Victoria Hospital was a place of healing for generations of Montrealers. Now, it will generate innovation to heal our planet.

In partnership with the Government of Quebec’s Société québécoise des infrastructures (SQI) and led by the award-winning architect consortium Diamond Schmitt / Lemay Michaud, the project will restore and repurpose this landmark site.

The New Vic will balance nature and heritage with functionality and sustainability. Echoing its academic mission, the project will follow advanced principles of sustainable infrastructure and design, including LEED Gold and WELL certifications, while returning greenspace to Mount Royal and creating new public throughways to the mountain.

Your support can:

  • Create a green model for the sustainable conservation of heritage buildings, adding a new chapter to their legacy for generations to come.
  • Open a new active gateway to Mount Royal for all Montrealers, reconnecting the urban core to nature while returning natural space to the mountain – and creating an archetype for urban-natural balance.
  • Develop architecture that fosters efficient and healthful ways of working and living, integrating nature through rooftop gardens, green terraces, natural light and views of the surrounding mountain landscape.
The New Vic

The New Vic Aerial view