Sir George Williams University's Henry F. Hall Building in 1970.
In 1851, the first YMCA in North America was established on Ste-Helene street in Old Montreal. Beginning in 1873, the YMCA offered evening classes to allow working people in the English-speaking community to pursue their education while working during the day. Sixty years later, the Montreal YMCA relocated to its current location on Stanley Street in Downtown Montreal. In 1926, the education program at the YMCA was re-organized as Sir George Williams College, named after George Williams, founder of the original YMCA in London, upon which the Montreal YMCA was based. In 1934, Sir George Williams College offered the first undergraduate credit course in adult education in Canada.
The Sir George Williams College became Sir George Williams University (SGWU) in 1948, when it received a university charter from the provincial government, though it remained the education arm of the Montreal YMCA. SGWU expanded into its first standalone building, the Norris Building, in 1956. It established a Centre for Human Relations and Community Studies in 1963. SGWU continued to hold classes in the YMCA building until the construction of the Henry F. Hall Building in 1966.
Following several years of discussions and planning, Sir George Williams University merged with Loyola College to create Concordia University in 1974. Concordia provided students with representative student organizations and greater power over administrative decisions at the University.