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Provincial Normal College

752 Prince Street, Truro, Nova Scotia, B2N, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1982/10/01

Provincial Normal College, northwest perspective, 2004; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2004
Building front
Provincial Normal College, wall detail, 2004; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2004
Wall detail
Provincial Normal College, southwest perspective, 2004; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2004
Building rear

Other Name(s)

Provincial Normal College
752 Prince Street
Truro YMCA

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1877/01/01 to 1878/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2004/12/09

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Provincial Normal College is a three-storey Second Empire style brick building located at 752 Prince Street in Truro, NS. Built in 1877-1878, the building is notable for its mansard roof and its brick and stone decorative detail. Only the building and its immediate footprint are included in the municipal heritage designation.

Heritage Value

Historic value

The Provincial Normal College is valued for its association with the movement in the mid-19th century to standardize and upgrade elementary school teacher training in the province. The building was constructed in 1877-1878 to serve as the main building forthe College.

Initially, the Normal School, as it was originally known, trained teachers until the Nova Scotia Teachers College opened in 1961. For a number of years in the late 20th century, the building was used as the Truro Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) clubhouse.

Architectural Value

The Provincial Normal College building is valued as a good example of the work of Halifax architect Henry Frederick Busch who also designed a number of the public buildings in Halifax. The geometric patterns, motifs and colours of this building are characteristic of Busch’s work. Construction was carried out by local contractor Andrew Johnson.

Despite the loss to lightning of its cupola and spire in 1951, and the loss of its campus-like setting to a nearby modern library, the Provincial Normal College building has remained a landmark in Truro since its construction.

Community Value

The Provincial Normal College is well-known as the location where most of the training for Nova Scotian teachers took place for more than a century. However, the College is also valued as the location were many people received training in topics such as farming techniques and equipment, animal husbandry, industrial arts, hygiene and the domestic sciences.

Having the Provincial Normal College in Truro gave access to higher education at a reasonable cost for men and women of the town and its surrounding areas. Truro and Colchester County, as a result, produced a relatively high proportion of Nova Scotia’s teachers for many years. For many, the Provincial Normal College remains symbolic of the influence that they have had on the life of the province and beyond.

Source: Planning Department, Town of Truro, file 10MNS0023

Character-Defining Elements

Key Character-Defining Elements of the Provincial Normal College include:

- all Second Empire building elements, including: basic form and massing; alternating concave and convex forms in the mansard roof; moulded cornices supported by brackets; façade lightly articulated in contrasting patterns and colours; segmented keystone arches outlining the windows on the first two storeys; pedimented gable dormers on classical supports; belt courses.
- all original or historic window and door elements, including: pairs of sashed Palladian-style windows in the lower storeys; single sashed Palladian-style windows in the dormers; clerestory-style and ocular windows in the central pavillion; round window above the central dormer; double-width door openings.
- all original or historic building materials, including: pressed brick in contrasting red, black and white colours; thin-set mortar joints; granite foundation course; cut sandstone sills, columns bases and capitals, keystones, belt courses and entry stairs.



Nova Scotia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (NS)

Recognition Statute

Heritage Property Act

Recognition Type

Municipally Registered Property

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1877/01/01 to 1962/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Learning and the Arts
Building Social and Community Life
Education and Social Well-Being

Function - Category and Type


Office or office building
Town or City Hall


Special or Training School

Architect / Designer

Henry Frederick Busch


Andrew Johnson

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Planning Department, Town of Truro, PO Box 427, Truro, NS B2N 5C5; file 10MNS0023.

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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