Why is that there?

This is the James Administration Building at McGill University
This is the James Administration Building at McGill University

Here is the James Administration Building at McGill. It is a big stone building just to the right of the Arts Building, and that’s where I went to get my student card. I expect that I’ll spend many long hours there in line-ups, just like I did at the Stevenson-Lawson Building at UWO.

But did you notice something strange? Look closely at the photograph and tell me if you see what I see.

Look just above the McGill crest, between the two swirlies over the “ADMINISTRATION” doorway. There’s a frog. Why is there a frog? Below is a close-up. I’ll give you 4 whole points if you can tell me why there’s a frog, and why it’s a slightly different colour than the rest of the stonework above the door.

Why is there a frog?
Why is there a frog?

James McGill

The statue of James McGill on the McGill campus
The statue of James McGill on the McGill campus

Here is James McGill. Or rather a statue built on the McGill University campus in his honour. After his death, his money paid to found one of Canada’s oldest universities by royal decree. While this statue isn’t actually James McGill, his real body is kept only a couple hundred metres up the hill from where the statue is, along with half of his accountant’s body.

That’s not a joke, actually.

Back in the seventies, when DNA was all the rage, some science students at McGill decided to test James McGill’s remains, which were kept on-campus, in front of the Arts Building. What they found is that there were actually two men’s bodies there, which is in fact, double the expected number. The best explanation that anyone has been able to give is that when McGill’s body was exhumed and moved from what is now the train station to what is now the┬ácampus, the people who did it had a hard time distinguishing where one man’s body ended and the body of the next man’s began.

What they should have done is have James McGill taxidermied, and then, when the technology was developed, motorised. That would have certainly prevented the mess-up that ended with him having to share a grave with half of his accountant until Jesus comes back.