With its tall limestone clock-tower, this assembly and concert hall, completed in 1905, is Queen's best-known landmark. Fittingly, it is named after Queen's most important principal, The Rev. George Monro Grant , a national figure in his own right who gave Queen's, for the first time, a national mission and profile.
The hall seats 900 people and is used for public lectures and meetings, concerts, convocation ceremonies, dances, and exams. During the First World War it was used as a military hospital.
The building was originally supposed to be funded by the Frontenac County Council, and named Frontenac Hall. Abstemious county councillors, however, became angry with Grant for his public opposition to their plan to ban the sale of alcohol in the county. In 1901 they withdrew their support - despite an emotional plea by the now weak and ailing Principal.
Such was the devotion that Grant inspired in his students that they stepped into the breach themselves, raising the necessary $30,000 over the winter of 1901-1902 and planning to name the building Grant Hall to honour the 25th anniversary of his principalship in December 1902. Grant died in May, several months short of that anniversary, and the building was named for him posthumously on its completion in 1905.
It was designed in the Victorian Romanesque style by Symons and Rae, an architectural firm from Toronto that also designed Kingston Hall and Ontario Hall. The original tower clock was designed by Dr. Nathan Fellowes Dupuis, a professor of mathematics and other sciences, who served as Dean of Applied Science around the turn of the century. After years of unreliable service, the old clock was replaced in 1993 with an electrical mechanism designed in England and - like the building itself - paid for by students. The old clock mechanism is on display in Stirling Hall. Grant Hall is located at the south end of University Avenue.