Ontario's Historical Plaques 

Discover Ontario's history as told through its plaques

2004 - Now in our 15th Year - 2019

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Stratford Normal School 1908

Stratford Normal School 1908

Photo by Alan L Brown - Posted October, 2004

Stratford Normal School 1908

Photo Source - Wikimedia Commons

Plaque Location

The County of Perth
The City of Stratford
In front of the building at the northeast corner of
Queen Street and Water Street

Coordinates: N 43 22.416 W 80 58.125


Click here for a larger map

Plaque Text

In the 1900s, concerns about the quality of rural education prompted the Ontario government to build four new Normal Schools to increase the supply of qualified teachers in the province. Identical Italian Renaissance buildings were constructed in North Bay, Peterborough, Hamilton, and Stratford. The Stratford Normal School attracted women and men from surrounding districts and educated them with an emphasis on conditions in the rural schools that employed most new teachers. Known as the Stratford Teachers' College from 1953 on, the school trained close to 14,000 teachers before closing in 1973. It is the only one of the four Normal Schools opened in 1908-09 to survive without substantial alteration.

Related Ontario plaque
Ottawa Teachers' College

Related Toronto plaques
The Toronto Normal School
Earl Kitchener Public School


Stratford Plaques

Here are the visitors' comments for this page.

> Posted July 3, 2017
My mother, Mary Murphy, attended Stratford Normal School in 1938-39. She taught in 1939-40,1940-41 and 1941-42 in Fletcher, ON. She married my father, George Lahey in December of 1941. She continued to teach the rest of the school year and two more years in Fletcher as a married woman. If there was a rule about married women teaching I assume it was in effect in the 1930s. Does anyone know the exact years? I'm looking for women who may have taught at St. Patrick's school, near Merlin, ON between 1936 and 1940. I've been given a few last names: Ronan, Eagen and Drew. Can anyone help?
Larry and Linda Lahey lahlin@sympatico.ca

> Posted February 11, 2016
My wife's grandmother, Esther Kelly, was a student at the Stratford Normal School. She passed away a few years ago in her 100th year. (You can google her). She grew up in Dublin, Ontario on a farm - and in those days, there either were no cars or they were few and far between. She often told stories of her riding a horse from the farm to the train station in the morning, and catching the train to Stratford. Then she would have to run like the dickens to get to class on time. She taught for many years but then had to give up the profession because in those days, only single woman could be teachers. So when she got married, she had to give up teaching. Fortunately, some time later, they changed that rule and she was able to return to teaching which she did until she reached the mandatory retirement age of 65. Had there not been a mandatory retirement age, I am sure that she would have continued teaching for many years. One of the things that she liked to tell people was that she was the first female in that area to own a car. She then could take the car to the train station and leave the horse at home. She lived in a house in the country until her early 90's then moved into a retirement home in Exeter where she lived until she was 99 and 3/4's. One day she fell and broke her hip and died shortly after. I think an interesting story line would be to follow the lives of the students of the normal schools.
Tim Bilton Tim.Bilton@dsbn.org

> Posted April 26, 2009
I live in the 'Normal School' in Peterborough. Although altered to loft-style apartments, this building is very beautiful, inside and out. If anyone is interested, I have photographs of the building's exterior and interior. I can be reached at dglenn1@cogeco.ca

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