Among the various forums for discussion in the McGill community, there is no arena more heated than the McGill Reddit feed. In this warzone of unfiltered debate, the best and brightest minds of the anonymous internet community go head-to-head to tackle the campus’ most pressing issues. With the bake sale versus samosa case now at a stalemate, the Reddit panel has honed its crosshairs on its next pressing question—which is better: The Milton or Roddick gates?
Complex and deeply divisive, this debate could very well be referred to as McGill’s Watergate. As the stately face of every promotional photo of campus, the Roddick gates reflect our school’s official image and frame the Arts Building. But if they are the face of McGill, then the Milton gates—undervalued yet reliable, underrated yet essential—must be its heart.
Aesthetically, the Roddick gates are striking. Apart from being the stuff of Facebook cover photo fantasy, the view of the Y-intersection and the Arts Building that Roddick offers is nothing less than iconic. The view as one exits campus, however, is a different story. Welcome to the grey, urban wasteland that is Rue Sherbrooke—the border between sheltered academia and the real world, the original “Boulevard of Broken Dreams.”
By contrast, the Milton gates’ scenery is twofold. Arriving to campus, one is greeted with the intersection of the steps leading to the top of the Y—ideal for tanning in the summer and uphill traction in the winter—and McConnell Engineering, McGill’s Sexiest Building Alive. And after a long day of studying or crying quietly in the library, Milton gates is the portal to the quaint, residential comforts of the McGill ghetto. Whether home means the cramped walk-up you share with five other people or the comfort of a Lola Rosa burrito, the Milton gates will take you there.
The Milton gates are more than just a campus entry point, though—they’re a source of community. What is solidarity, if not standing shoulder-to-shoulder with fifteen other strangers waiting to cross Rue University; what is a hero, if not the brave soul who finally risks it all and leads the collective j-walk? This campus watering hole isn’t restricted to just pedestrians—the Milton bike racks serve as a daily meeting point for the unofficial union of McGill cyclists. And as any Management student can confirm, the Milton gates boast a thriving economy. Its chief exports include secondhand clothing exchange, reused textbooks, and tickets to that Management Undergraduate Society (MUS) concert that everyone is apparently going to.
A solitary realm, the Roddick gates’ chief export is loneliness.
More than nice views or a robust civil society, however, what truly defines the Milton gates is their authenticity. The Roddick gates are where we all stood on our first McGill campus tour, clutching a welcome package and a dream while a stranger tried to explain what a martlet is. They are the gates of prospective students, visiting family members, and Uber drivers. The Milton gates are the proverbial backdoor to McGill. You didn’t know what or where they were until you actually got here—now you can’t imagine miserably half-jogging to your 8:30 a.m. lecture anywhere else. The Roddick gates may be the formal entrance to campus, but the Milton gates are the entrance of the people.