For those who believe in the traditional image of fraternity men as hardpartying, beer-swilling pigs,
the name “Labatt’s Frat” seems like an appropriate label in Canada, using the name of one of the two largest Canadian breweries.
Betas, of course, are well-known for doing more and better with their lives than the “animal house” image suggests.
The desire to have something better was particularly marked among the founders of the McGill University colony.
In that case, it’s especially appropriate that it was one of those founders who first coined the memorable descriptive phrase: “We are not the Labatt’s frat.”
Of course, it helped that the “Labatt’s frats” already existed on the McGill campus.
The founders of the Beta colony could clearly see the kind of fraternity they didn’t want to be — those fraternities were all around them.
Like the founders of several other Beta chapters, the first men at McGill were creating a chapter that would fill a need for them,
Not the Labatt’s Frat a need which none of the existing fraternities were capable of satisfying.
Unlike Guelph, McGill University had a long-standing fraternity system,
with half a dozen or more of the major international Greek societies represented.
McGill had also appeared a number of times on Beta’s lists of desirable expansion sites.
In fact, McGill had been mentioned as a site for a Beta chapter at the time of the chartering of Toronto in 1906.
Located in Montreal, Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada, McGill University is one of the truly prestigious universities of the world.
Its medical school in particular has an international reputation. More than any of Beta’s other Canadian campuses,
McGill draws large numbers of students from outside the country (and indeed from outside the continent).
This diverse student population would be reflected in the membership of the McGill colony/chapter as it grew — a half-dozen nationalities would eventually be reflected in the chapter rolls,
Not the Labatt’s Frat and nearly every continent of the world would be represented.
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