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Heritage Site

Former Normal School/Teacher's College

Site 2:
Former Normal School/Teacher's College
200 First Avenue West
Date Originally Built:
Present Use:
Government Offices
Evaluation Score:
Priority One

Originally named the North Bay Normal School, this institution opened in 1909 with an enrolment of 25 students. A.C. Casselman was the first principal, presiding in this post until 1930. In 1953, the name was changed to the Teachers’ College. The graduates of this school have served on boards of this district and many other regions of the province.

This was one of nine identical structures built at the same time by the Government of Ontario in regional centres throughout the province. This design is exemplary of the architectural influence of the Edwardian style. The observatory-like dome, the elaborate cornices and the formal entrance are three main characteristics of each of the sibling buildings.

In the 1990s, the Ministry of Correctional Services surrounded the old structure on three sides with a new building and associated elements of very dramatic contrast to the historic style of the original freestanding building. Some relief to this engulfment occurs through the reflection of the original façade in the glass of the southerly facing wall of the northwest wing of the new building.

There is a very commodious atrium, reached immediately on entering through the main lobby, which provides skylight to the space separating the new structure from the exposed former exterior walls of the original building. Pedestrian bridges through the space provide access to all floors from new to old office accommodations.