“Don’t you find it curious that while all her other lectures were out west, when she does come east, it’s not to the University of Toronto. Not to McGill or the Université de Montréal. Not to a big venue in a major city, but to a small university in a small town.”
“The Université de l’Estrie has a very good reputation,” said the Chancellor.
“C’est vrai,” he said, nodding. “It’s true. But it’s still surprising.” (Pg. 26-27)
There are three English-taught Universities in Québec. McGill and Concordia, both well-known institutions, are both in Montreal. The third, Bishop’s University in Sherbrooke (perhaps the model for the University in The Madness of Crowds?) is the lesser known of the trio.
Founded in 1843, the University set out “to offer the country a sound and liberal education” and focuses on “fine arts, humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, business and education”. While relatively small, with just under 3000 students, Bishop’s was named Canada’s number-two party school in 2021. Can’t imagine there are many keg parties in Three Pines, though!
Despite its modest size, Bishop’s has produced some amazing alumni:
Galt MacDermot, known as “the man behind the music of the 1960s mega-musical Hair”. He gave us the title track and Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In!
Jake Eberts, who produced the films Chariots of Fire, Dances with Wolves, and Chicken Run. Without Chariots and Dances there is no Chicken.
Michael Ondaatje, Booker Prize-winning author of The English Patient. And fun fact: Michael’s brother Christopher represented Canada in the four-man Bobsled at the 1964 Olympics.
Cameron Hughes, who is actually employed by sports teams to pretend to be just a regular fan, but then excites the crowd to get them into the game. Not sure what he majored in at Bishop’s, but that’s some job!