Skip to Main Content

OISE's Ontario Historical Education Collections (OHEC)

Normal Schools and Teachers' Colleges in Ontario


The Ontario Historical Education Collections contain materials pertaining to the training of teachers in Ontario as well as the administration of Normal Schools and teachers’ colleges.

Normal Schools were teacher training institutes that taught and exemplified what the Department of Public Instruction considered to be "model" educational principles and teaching practices. The name "Normal" derived from the French Normale, a term implying a standard or norm. The Ontario Normal School system was developed between 1846 and 1853 under the guidance of Egerton Ryerson and the 1846 Common School Act. 

Ontario's first Normal School, the Provincial Normal School, opened in 1847. Additional Normal Schools opened in the province and were eventually renamed Teachers' Colleges in 1953. Teachers' Colleges were closed or amalgamated with faculties of education at various Ontario universities by the end of the 1970s. For example, in Toronto, the Toronto Teachers' College was replaced by the Faculty of Education at the University of Toronto, which later merged with the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) in 1996. 

Teacher Training Materials in the OHEC

The Ontario Historical Education Collections contain materials pertaining to the training of teachers and the administration of teachers' colleges and normal schools in Ontario. The following list provides examples of materials in the collections. 

  • Calendars for teachers' colleges, summer schools for teachers, and model schools from the early 1900s to 1979
  • Regulations, courses of study, and examinations for normal schools issued by the Department of Education
  • Yearbooks from normal schools and teachers' colleges in Hamilton, London, North Bay, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catherines, Stratford, Sudbury, Toronto, and Windsor
  • Ontario teachers' manuals used in normal schools and teachers' colleges from the 1910s to 1930s
  • Annual teacher directories issued by the Department of Education 
  • Archival materials related to Froebelian kindergarten teacher training

  Teacher training materials can be accessed by searching the library catalogue

Department of Education Publications

The following list features a selection of Department of Education (1876-1972) publications related to teacher training in Ontario. 

Teacher Directories

Between 1911 and 1966, the Ontario Department of Education published annual teacher directories commonly known as the "Blue Books."  These directories reported the names, certifications, and salaries of teachers employed in each school district. Many of these volumes are available in digital format via the Internet Archive


Archival Collections