Organized teacher training began in Quebec with the opening of the Jacques Cartier Normal School (to train teachers for Catholic schools) and the McGill Normal School (educating teachers for Protestant schools). The Honourable P. J. O. Chauvreau, the Superintendent of Education for what was then known as Lower Canada, launched both institutions on the same day, March 3, 1857. The Jacques Cartier Normal School was housed in the Château Ramezay, while the McGill School was located on Belmont Street.
The first professional teachers’ organization in Canada, the Provincial Association of Protestant Teachers, was formed. William Dawson, Principal of McGill College and also Principal of the McGill Normal School, was elected President of the Association three times.
A kindergarten program was added to the McGill Normal School.