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Stratford Normal School

270, Water Street, City of Stratford, Ontario, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2002/01/14

Facade, Stratford Normal School.; Paul Dubniak, 2008.
Stratford Normal School
Of note are the pre-cast sills, lintels and voussoirs.; Paul Dubniak, 2008.
Stratford Normal School
Of note is the building's prominent location in Queen's Park.; Paul Dubniak, 2008.
Stratford Normal School

Other Name(s)

Stratford Normal School
Normal School
Discovery Centre
Stratford Teacher's College
270 Water Street

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1907/01/01 to 1908/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2010/02/25

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Stratford Normal School is located at 270 Water Street, within Queen's Park. It is situated on the north side of Water Street, east of Queen Street, in the City of Stratford. The three storey, red brick institutional building was constructed from 1907 to 1908.

The property was designated, by the City of Stratford in 2002, for its heritage value, under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act, By-law 2-2002.

Heritage Value

Located within the grounds of Queen's Park, the former Stratford Normal School occupies a prominent position in the southwest corner of the park. Montreal Architect, Frederick G. Todd was consulted on the landscape design for the school.

The Stratford Normal School is associated with the Government of Ontario's involvement in the education of teachers during the late 19th and early 20th century. During this period, the government undertook construction of several Normal Schools, to provide regularized training practices, for teachers. The building is one of four Normal Schools constructed in the province at the time (North Bay, Peterborough, Hamilton and Stratford). The school, which became known as the Stratford Teacher's College in 1953, trained close to 14,000 teachers before closing, in 1973.

The Stratford Normal School reflects the Italian Renaissance style of architecture. Of the four Normal Schools built in 1907-1908, the Stratford school is the only one to survive without substantial alterations. The three storey building consists of a rectangular floor plan with a central bay projection, portico entrance and a copper clad dome. The window pattern around the building is a double hung, single pane configuration with pre-cast sills, lintels and voussoirs. There is a continuous brick parapet on all sides adorned with minimal metal detailing.

Source: City of Stratford By-law 2-2002.

Character-Defining Elements

Character-defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of the Stratford Normal School include its:
- prominent location in Queen's Park
- three storey, red brick exterior
- flat roof
- rectangular floor plan
- projecting frontispiece
- portico entrance
- stained glass First World War memorial Palladian window
- copper dome
- double hung single pane windows
- pre-cast sills, lintels and voussoirs
- brick parapet




Recognition Authority

Local Governments (ON)

Recognition Statute

Ontario Heritage Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Designation (Part IV)

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Building Social and Community Life
Education and Social Well-Being

Function - Category and Type


Civic Space


Special or Training School

Architect / Designer

Francis Heakes



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Stratford Office of the City Clerk Administrator City Hall 1 Wellington Street Stratford, ON N5A6W1

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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