Provincial Normal College
752 Prince Street, Truro, Nova Scotia, B2N, Canada
Provincial Normal College
752 Prince Street
Links and documents
1877/01/01 to 1878/01/01
Listed on the Canadian Register:
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Local Governments (NS)
Heritage Property Act
Municipally Registered Property
1877/01/01 to 1962/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
- Building Social and Community Life
- Education and Social Well-Being
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Learning and the Arts
Function - Category and Type
- Office or office building
- Town or City Hall
- Special or Training School
Architect / Designer
Henry Frederick Busch
Location of Supporting Documentation
Planning Department, Town of Truro, PO Box 427, Truro, NS B2N 5C5; file 10MNS0023.
Cross-Reference to Collection