By Marissa Stimpson, Archival Assistant, McGill University Archives & MISt Candidate 2017
A total solar eclipse is a celestial event not to be missed. On August 31, 1932 Montreal and the St. Lawrence Valley fell directly under the shadow of a total solar eclipse which spread from Notre Dame de Grace to just outside Trois Rivières.
Sir Arthur Currie, McGill Principal and Vice-Chancellor (1920-1933) and the Royal Astronomical Society wanted all faculty members and the citizens of Montreal to be able to witness this phenomena which would not occur for another 360 years. Currie petitioned Quebec Premier, Louis-Alexandre Taschereau, to grant a holiday and to have Montrealers dim their lights. Taschereau decided not to grant a full holiday but thought it would be possible to have “the people of our Province” power down their lights for the duration of the eclipse.
Their correspondence is below.