More Zoom Backgrounds: ROAAr edition

Back by popular demand, we’ve got more Zoom backgrounds for students, faculty and staff to use as we start the academic year. In April, we featured campus places and library spaces. This time, we invite you to take in and use vintage backgrounds from our ROAAr unit (Rare & Special Collections, Osler, Art and Archives). Some of the scenes featured in these sketches, photos, paintings and prints are real, some are imagined – all are breathtaking and will take your Zoom game up a notch. All images were digitized and selected by Greg Houston, Digitization Administrator.

Scroll to the bottom for instructions on how to download a virtual background and set these images as your backdrop.

Be safe, take care and here’s to a great start to the semester!


Postcard of hockey match at McGill University, 1097, The Ian C. Pilarczyk collection, McGill University Archives
Postcard of hockey match at McGill University, 1907, The Ian C. Pilarczyk collection, McGill University Archives
Bird's-Eye View of McGill University. Watercolour by Percy E. Nobbs, 1925. John Bland Canadian Architecture Collection. Rare Books & Special Collections.
Bird’s-Eye View of McGill University. Watercolour by Percy E. Nobbs, 1925. John Bland Canadian Architecture Collection. Rare Books & Special Collections.
First Project for Friendship Fountain Pool | Nobbs & Hyde, 1931
First Project for Friendship Fountain Pool by Percy Nobbs & George Taylor Hyde, 1931. John Bland Canadian Architecture Collection. Rare Books and Special Collections.
Old McGill Yearbooks, 2011. Photo: Greg Houston.
Old McGill Yearbooks, 2011. Photo: Greg Houston.
Redpath Library extension by Percy Nobbs, 1922. John Bland Canadian Architecture Collection. Rare Books and Special Collections.
Redpath Library extension by Percy Erskine Nobbs, 1922. John Bland Canadian Architecture Collection. Rare Books and Special Collections.
Proposed Osler Library, McGill University, West Wall by Percy Erskine Nobbs, 1921. John Bland Canadian Architecture Collection. Rare Books and Special Collections.
Proposed Osler Library, McGill University, West Wall by Percy Erskine Nobbs, 1921. John Bland Canadian Architecture Collection. Rare Books and Special Collections.
Interior Redpath Library with Students in Reading Room. E. Luter, 1927. Photomechanical print. PL043654, McGill University Archives.
Interior Redpath Library with Students in Reading Room. E. Luter, 1927. Photomechanical print. McGill University Archives, PL043654
Proposed Student Residences by Percy Erskine Nobbs, 1918. John Bland Canadian Architecture Collection. Rare Books and Special Collections.
Proposed Student Residences by Percy Erskine Nobbs, 1918. John Bland Canadian Architecture Collection. Rare Books and Special Collections.
Carceri d'invenzione plate-XI by Giovanni Battista Piranesi, 1761.
Carceri d’invenzione plate-XI by Giovanni Battista Piranesi, 1761. Rare Books and Special Collections.
Montreal from Mount Royal by E. Whitefield (1852)
Montreal from Mount Royal by E. Whitefield, 1852. McGill University Archives, PR014517
Interior of the McGill University Library in Molson Hall, 1885ca, McGill University Archives, PL038043
Interior of the McGill University Library in Molson Hall, 1885ca. McGill University Archives, PL038043
McGill Campus. Creator Unknown, date unknown. Black and white print. McGill University Archives Collection, PA005553
McGill Campus. Creator Unknown, date unknown. Black and white print. McGill University Archives Collection, PA005553
McGill Arts Building. Creator Unknown, date unknown. Black and white print. McGill University Archives, PA005550
McGill Arts Building. Creator Unknown, date unknown. Black and white print. McGill University Archives, PA005550
Percival Molson Memorial Stadium. Creator Unknown, date unknown. Black and white print. McGill University Archives, PA005563
Percival Molson Memorial Stadium. Creator Unknown, date unknown. Black and white print. McGill University Archives, PA005563
L’architecture considérée sous le rapport de l’art, des moeurs et de la législation. Tome premier. Plate 15 by Claude Nicolas Ledoux, 1804. Rare Books and Special Collections.

The virtual background feature in Zoom allows users to display an image as the background during Zoom meetings.

How to Download the McGill Library images:

  • Right-click on the image of your choice
  • Click “Download Linked File As” and save it to your desired location (desktop, downloads, a folder, etc.)

How to Set Downloaded Image as Backdrop in Zoom once you’ve launched a Zoom meeting:

  • Click on ^ next to “Stop Video” on the bottom left of your Zoom window and select “Choose Virtual Background”
  • Click on the + on the right-hand side below the current image in your settings
  • Click “Add Image”

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