Logged in as user  [Login]  |
Return to Search Results Printable Version

Normal School / Rosehaven


Other Names:
Camrose Normal School
Rosehaven Care Centre
Rosehaven Normal School

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
The Camrose Normal School building, which now houses the Rosehaven Care Centre, is a three and one-half storey brick building, constructed in the Collegiate Gothic style, and located on an entire block of park-like grounds in the town of Camrose.

Heritage Value
The heritage value of the Normal School/Rosehaven lies chiefly in its association with the history of teacher education in Alberta, and particularly with its founding principal, Dr. C. Fred McNally. It is also significant as a good example of the Collegiate Gothic style of architecture and as a landmark building in the town of Camrose.

Constructed by the province in 1915 as the second institution in the province dedicated to educating teachers, the Camrose Normal School served this role for twenty three years. In first decades of the twentieth century, the children of Alberta's largely rural population were often educated in one-room schoolhouses. Before this time, teachers were certified on the basis of their own secondary education and their Normal School training, a course usually lasting four to six months. Literally thousands of Alberta schoolteachers received training at the Camrose Normal School between 1915 and 1938, when the building was turned over to the Department of National Defence.

C. Fred McNally, a pioneer educator in Alberta, was the founding principal of the Camrose Normal School. He later went on to serve as deputy minister of education under Premier William Aberhart. Dr. McNally's initiatives, informed by his experiences training teachers for the challenges of rural school realities, led to the integration of the more than three thousand tiny school districts into fifty larger school divisions, thereby creating programs that allowed more rural students to attend high school.

The Camrose Normal School building is a typical example of the Collegiate Gothic style, a popular choice for academic buildings across North America during the early decades of the twentieth century. The building, situated prominently on a slightly raised bluff on a well-landscaped campus, is a well-known landmark in the central Alberta region.

Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 170)

Character-Defining Elements
The character-defining elements of the Normal School/Rosehaven building include such features of the Collegiate Gothic style as:
- form and massing;
- battlemented parapets, octagonal four storey stairwell towers, square headed mullioned windows, crenellated cornice, stone lintel and sills;

Other character-defining elements include such features as:
- hipped roof construction;
- arched main entry with 'stepped' voussoir pattern;
- oak entrance doors;
- the location, siting and plan of the building.


Street Address: 4612 - 53 Street
Community: Camrose
Boundaries: Portion of Plan 032 1376, Block 15, Lot 1
Contributing Resources: Buildings: 1

ATS Legal Description:
Mer Rge Twp Sec LSD
13 (ptn.)

PBL Legal Description (Cadastral Reference):
Plan Block Lot Parcel
1 (ptn.)

Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
53.015273 -112.832615 GPS NAD 83

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type


Recognition Authority: Province of Alberta
Designation Status: Provincial Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 1977/03/15

Historical Information

Built: 1915 To 1915
Significant Date(s) 1915 To 1938
Theme(s) Building Social and Community Life : Education and Social Well-Being
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life : Architecture and Design
Historic Function(s): Education : Post-Secondary Institution
Current Function(s):

The first teacher training institution in Alberta was the Calgary Normal School, established shortly after the creation of the Province. In 1912, the government decided that a second school was needed in Northern Alberta and Camrose was chosen for the location. During the years 1913 - 1914, quarters were rented while the substantial brick and sandstone structure was constructed. This two hundred thousand dollar edifice was opened in January 1915, with C. Fred McNally as principal. Mr. McNally was a noteworthy individual, who played an important role in the field of education in the province. Following his resignation from the Normal School in 1918, he held the positions of School Inspector, Curriculum Developer, Deputy Minister and Chancellor of the University of Alberta from 1946 to 1952.

Unfortunately, the Camrose Normal School never attained popularity. The war reduced the male enrollment and many students leaving home to attend higher educational institutions did not wish to go to a small community, where their experiences would be limited and adequate boarding facilities were not available. When a permanent home for the Edmonton Normal School (now Corbett Hall) was built in 1929, the school declined in importance. Nine years later, in 1938, the Camrose Normal School closed. The use of this building is somewhat sketchy from 1938 until 1947. The Annual Report of the Department of Public Works, 1940 - 41 states:
'During the year the Normal School at Camrose and the Calgary Institute of Technology were rented to the Department of National Defense for the use of the Army and Air Force.'

Information regarding the building does not appear again until the 1946-47 report, but it is likely that it was used by the Department of National Defense throughout the war.

Additional Information

Object Number: 4665-0440
Designation File: DES 0170
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File: HS 21927
Website Link:
Data Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, Old St. Stephen's College, 8820 - 112 Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P8 (File: Des. 170)
Return to Search Results Printable Version

Freedom to Create. Spirit to Achieve.

Home    Search    Site Map    Contact Us    Login   Library Search

© 1995 - 2013 Government of Alberta    Copyright and Disclaimer    Privacy    Accessibility