Provincial Normal School (Vancouver)

1901 - ?

The first BC Provincial Normal School opened in Vancouver in 1901. It was the institution where teachers were taught how to teach. The Vancouver school was built in 1910, at the corner of 12th and Cambie. It was designed by Pearce & Hope Architects, with William Gardiner acting as the Supervising Architect. A second Normal School was opened in Victoria in 1915.

Provincial Normal School, 1913-14

The School operated at 12th and Cambie until at least 1956, as indicated by publication of an annual that year. The building was later renovated into City Square, a shopping and retail mall, with residential towers added to the north lawn area.

In 1910 John Kyle was appointed Art Master at the School. He held the position until the end of the 1913 school year, when he was appointed Director of Technical Education for the Province of British Columbia in Victoria.

Provincial Normal School Faculty, 1913-14

W.P. Weston took over from Kyle as Art Master, holding the position for many years. In addition to his teaching duties, and helping decorate the school for special occasions, Weston sponsored the school's Sketch Club.

Provincial Normal School Faculty, 1914-15

The following report is transcribed from the 1914-15 Annual.
     The year 1914-15 will stand out in Normal School history as one of the most successful from every viewpoint. The attendance far exceeded that of any previous year, showing the increased desire to obtain knowledge. The year has been one full of innovations, both in regard to the educational side and the activities of the students.
     The new year saw several important changes, the first being the opening of a preliminary session as well as the advanced session. The new Normal School at Victoria was also opened at the new year. Many students who attended the Vancouver Normal before Christmas attended at Victoria after Christmas. But our greatest loss was in the promotion of Mr. D.M. Robinson to first assistant Master at the Victoria school. His loss has been keenly felt here, but we feel satisfied that his work will be appreciated at Victoria and will bear fruit abundantly. Mr. W. Putnam was added to the staff in January but resigned at Easter.
     The increased attendance brought forth many activities new to the Normal School, particularly in the athletic life. New branches of sport indulged in were: Rugby, ice hockey, soccer football and baseball. As might be imagined some of the ventures were not entirely successful but have "broken the ice" for future Normal students. The men's and ladies' basketball teams and the ladies' hockey teams enjoyed a very successful year, and visiting teams found worth opponents in the wearers of blue and gold. A trip was made to Victoria at the end of the first session but the games played resulted rather adversely for the Normal. Series of games were played during the second session, with Westminster High School and Columbia College in all of which Normal more than held its own.
     The social instinct of the students was also developed and many good times were enjoyed. The literary society was fortunate in being capably led in both sessions, and much interest was taken in the programmes provided. In musical lines, too, latent talent of the students was uncovered. An orchestra was organized during the first session which added occasionally to the enjoyment of "lits." A patriotic concert was given towards the close of the first session, under the direction of Miss Coney. An operetta is under way at the time of going to press, which bids fair to be very successful.
     Mention must not be omitted of the work done by Miss Coney in the present crisis in Europe. The sale of work organized by her netted a substantial sum, which was devoted to relief work. Knitting, etc., was done by the lady students to relieve the discomforts of some of the men fighting for the Empire.
     Following up the series of innovations, a change has been made in the style of the Annual. This has been necessitated because of the financial stringency and the desire of students. It is hoped that it will prove a momento that will be valued in years to come.

Some of the artists/teachers who went to the Normal School were:
     Helen Douglas
     John Eustis
     Unina F. Hall
     Marion H. Langridge
     Eddie Larden
     Thomas Main
     Leon Manuel
     Sylvia P. Mould
     Alice Parker
     Miriam Peck
     John E. Ritchel
     Arthur Evans Shearman
     Eustace Ruiter Shearman
     Ruell Wonder


      84 pages, illustrated with Faculty and Staff photographs by W.C. Duryea

      Illustrated with Faculty and Staff photographs by Artona Studio

      64 pages, illustrated with Faculty and Staff photographs, pen & ink drawings

      80 pages, illustrated with Faculty and Staff photographs by R.A. Spencer

      Vancouver Historical Society, 1986, Four Volumes (Set ISBN 0-9692378-0-4)
      Volume II (ISBN 0-9692378-2-0), page 761
      Items 11889, 11890, 11891: Provincial Normal School Annuals & Yearbooks listed.

BUILDING THE WEST - Early Architects of British Columbia
      2003; Edited by Donald Luxton, numerous contributing authors and researchers
      Talonbooks, ISBN 0-88922-474-9
      560 pages, extensively illustrated in black and white, some colour
      References to Normal School's construction, colour rendering page 308.


"Interest in School Exhibit" by D. Law
      Daily Province May 1 1928