In 1970, John Abbott College had just moved into Laird Hall, one of the building on what is today the McGill University Macdonald Campus, to set up the new college. Sometime in the late night hours in those early days, some Macdonald Agriculture students decided to pinch a sign that read: John Abbott College. It had just been put up in the front of Laird Hall. The sign was 18 inches by 20 inches, bolted to the front exterior wall.
A former Macdonald College student has held onto the sign for the past 44 years. It has travelled through Ontario and as far as Edmonton, Alberta. The former student, now living in Alberta, contacted a relative living in Lachine. The relative, good friends with retired John Abbott College staff member Gary W. Sims, asked Sims if he would be the go between in returning the 1970 inaugural sign to John Abbott College. In October 2014, a class reunion of Macdonald Agriculture students created the perfect opportunity to return the sign. The gentleman flew from Edmonton to Montreal with the sign in his suitcase. The doorbell rang at Gary’s home at 5 p.m. on October 19, 2014 and the former Macdonald College student handed the sign over for safe keeping. Gary thanked the student for returning the sign after all these years and in perfect condition as well. (The student has asked to remain anonymous).
In those days, Macdonald Agriculture students were well known for their pranks around campus and the city of Saint-Anne-de-Bellevue, from painting the bridges, water towers, to diverting traffic through the campus by changing roads signs.
The infamous sign was returned to JAC Academic Dean Erich Schmedt a few weeks ago.