Thursday, February 15, 2024

The Toronto Normal and Model School

Standing tall in the Ryerson Quad is the remaining facade of the Toronto Normal School, it remains as a tall, yet very slim doorway into the underground Recreation and Athletics Centre, surrounded by a park-like square within the inner limits of the four Kerr Hall buildings of the recently renamed Toronto Metropolitan University since 2022. TMU was also previously known as Ryerson University and before that Ryerson Institute of Technology or Ryerson Polytechnic Institute.
The Toronto Normal School was otherwise demolished in the 1950s but its purpose was to train teachers. It seems a weird name now, Normal School, but it was trying to set a standard, or normal way to teach the teachers, providing model schools, model classrooms and model methods to the task. The Normal School became Teachers' College in 1953 before Universities took over the role of teaching teachers in the 1970s. The first time I noticed a Normal School was in Stratford, in the building by the Festival Theatre.
The plaques at the building entrance. The Normal School began in 1851
Most people wandering through the heart of downtown Toronto by the thousands that pass by Yonge and Dundas every day and never even know of the courtyard hidden within Ryerson, let alone the remaining wall of the Normal School.

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