About Polytechnique Montreal



The École des sciences appliquées aux arts et à l’industrie was founded in 1873 to meet the needs of the industrial revolution. Officially recognized by the provincial government three years later, the educational establishment was then given the name École Polytechnique de Montréal. The first Francophone engineering school in North America, Polytechnique was annexed to the Arts Faculty of Université Laval in 1887.

In 1895, Polytechnique was incorporated and given administrative and financial autonomy based on a provincial charter. When Université de Montréal obtained a charter in 1920, École Polytechnique was affiliated with the university without relinquishing its autonomous status.


The image of a bee evokes the well planned and organized work of an engineer. The I-beam most likely represents the first engineering discipline taught at Polytechnique Montréal: civil engineering. The gear wheel suggests the industrial boom in the late 19th century, in which engineers played a major role. Lastly, the laurel wreaths symbolizes excellence.

The emblem is accompanied by the motto Ut tensio sic vis, taken from a law of physics called Hooke’s law. Its technical translation means: the force needed to extend or compress a spring by a given distance is proportional to that distance. In a figurative sense, it means that results are proportional to effort - an edifying and inspiring motto for everyone at Polytechnique!
Visit the Archives Office website to see more photos!