Brandon Normal School Heritage Site
The handsome Brandon Normal School, with its adjoining modern addition, occupies a prominent site in south Brandon.
Built in 1912-13, the two-storey brick structure is surrounded by expansive grassed grounds, large stands of trees and a long circular drive to its north.
The Brandon Normal School is an expressive Neo-Classical-style building designed by Provincial Architect Victor Horwood.
It is one of four original teacher-training institutions built in Manitoba between 1903 and 1913.
It is the only remaining one outside Winnipeg.
Established to serve the needs of southwestern Manitoba, the Brandon facility was instrumental over three decades in preparing teachers to work in rural environments.
Key elements of the Brandon Normal School’s classical design include:
• the building’s simplified rectangular shape
flat roofline with low parapet, flat wall surfaces faced with light brown brick
symmetrically composed north facade with projecting pedimented frontispiece
heavily rusticated stone foundation
lintelled rectangular-shaped door and window openings
• the one-storey south-facing solarium with a tall brick chimney
• richly decorated interior public spaces with:
panelled ceilings, quarter-cut oak wainscotting and door surrounds
east-side marble-tread staircase and wrought-iron balustrade
terrazzo floors, vaulted ceiling and proscenium arch over the stage in the assembly hall,
reading room brick fireplace
Benjamin J. Hales was the first principal of the Brandon’s Normal School.
He retired in 1938, with an established reputation as an educator, author and naturalist.
He founded the B.J. Hales Museum of Natural History which is now part of the Brandon General Museum.
The school was a centre for rural teaching instruction until 1943 when the building was occupied by the Department of National Defence during World War II.
The building was turned over to the Manitoba Department of Agriculture in 1946 for its southwestern operations.
It became the Agricultural Extension Centre in 1959.
The building was designated a Manitoba Provincial Heritage site in 1985
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