The Anna Templeton Centre for Craft, Art and Design offers a wide range of adult evening classes and weekend workshop throughout the year to kindle the inner artist in everyone.

Located at 278 Duckworth Street in the heart of downtown St. John’s, it is an elegant and inspiring location for creative activities as it makes its home in the historic British Bank of North America. Typical program offerings include classes in drawing, print making, painting, rug hooking, sewing, embroidery, tatting, hand knitting, spinning, dye techniques and related areas. Traditional skills are presented in a contemporary context to ensure the continued development of the techniques.

The Anna Templeton Centre also provides valuable arts experiences for kids of all ages. Classes are offered each season with something for each age group – from Pre-School Art Discovery to Mini-Masters for teens.

The building is also the location of the Textiles: Craft & Apparel Design program of College of the North Atlantic. It is an art based program with studio areas in print & dye, weaving, knit, surface embellishment, and apparel. More information about the Textiles program and its registration process is available at

The Anna Templeton Centre is committed to the advancing fine craft. It also pursues audience development through increasing an awareness of and appreciation for fine craft and art in Newfoundland & Labrador. A registered charity with a volunteer board of directors providing vision and management, the Centre generates all of its revenue through classes and special events and receives no government funding.


Miss Templeton

The Anna Templeton Centre for Craft Art & Design honours the memory of Miss Anna Templeton (1916-1995) who devoted her life to advancing textile hand works and ensuring their enduring legacy.

Anna Templeton had a profound influence on the development of craft in our province, and was a pioneer in women’s education and community development. On the occasion of her receiving an honorary degree from Memorial University, she was compared to William Morris, the revolutionary socialist prophet of Victorian England. Like Morris, Anna believed in the social and moral value of producing goods of lasting worth.

As a young BHSc graduate from McGill University in 1938, Anna was offered a job with the fledging Jubilee Guilds, an organization established in 1935 to assist women in their homes to produce high quality marketable goods that would contribute to the family income. In 1939 she became Organizing Secretary of the Jubilee Guilds (later to be called NL Women’s Institutes), and under her strong and very capable leadership the Guilds grew and flourished. As this was a time when very few roads existed outside the major areas, Anna traveled by boat, train and even dog team to impart practical creative skills such as weaving and smocking to allow women to produce high quality goods for sale. Early in her career, she recognized the deep satisfaction women got from working with their hands. Anna is the person primarily responsible for sustaining the skills and traditions that we so highly value today.

In addition through her leadership in communities all over the province, she challenged and inspired women to develop health and nutrition programs which would also improve their quality of life.

Anna always worked toward her goal of encouraging others to fulfill their potential. Whether traveling to small communities herself or later training others to be field workers. Her talent for inspiring each individual to be the best possible person that they could be is legendary.

In 1965 Anna resigned her position with Jubilee Guilds to become supervisor of a new branch of the Dept. of Education-the Craft Training Division. Her input and expertise guided the new department until her retirement in 1981.

Anna’s outstanding service to the province was recognized both provincially & nationally. Among her many awards were Honorary Life Memberships in the Canadian Craft Council, the NL Women’s Institutes, the NL Home Economics Association, and the NL Association for Adult Education. She also received the Canadian Craft Council Medal, the Canadian Centennial Medal, and the Queen’s 25th Anniversary Medal. In 1985 she was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Memorial University; and in 1994 the newly opened textiles studies centre was named the Anna Templeton Centre in her honour.

Anna’s community involvement was not limited to her work. She was also instrumental in forming the Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador, the St. John’s Embroiderers’ Guild, the NL Home Economics Association, and the NL Branch of Canadian Consumers Association, among others.

To merely list her many accomplishments tends to somewhat distract one from her vibrant personality. With characteristic modesty, Anna described her life as “a happy involvement”. What distinguished her most was her unselfish desire to facilitate the growth and potential in all. Anna’s keen mind, astuteness, vitality, and genuine concern for others made one feel indeed honoured to have been associated with her.

Text Submitted by: Templeton Branch Women’s Institutes



278 Duckworth Street

Built in 1849 as the British Bank of North America, the building at 278 Duckworth Street was Newfoundland’s first bank building. The building is significant in the economic development of the province. It’s also a prized part of the city’s built heritage.

This Italianate-style structure is believed to be an early work of well-known Halifax architect David Stirling who designed many Halifax buildings in the 1860s. Stirling is known for the BBNA’s building in Halifax and later churches in the Gothic Revival style.

Formed in 1835, the Bank of British North America established its first colonial branch in Newfoundland in 1837. In Newfoundland the BBNA faced stiff competition from the rival Union Bank, formed in 1854, and was forced out of business in 1857. The newly formed Commercial Bank of Newfoundland purchased and operated out of the building from 1857 to 1894. It was during the occupancy of the Commercial Bank in 1885 that a mansard roof was installed to replace the hipped roof providing extra space.

It was also during this second phase of ownership that the building received considerable damage from the Great Fire that ravaged much of the city in 1892. The building itself was one of the few structures to survive the devastation, although the interior sustained considerable damage and was reconstructed, most likely based upon the plans of well-known Newfoundland architect William Howe Greene. The top three floors were elaborate living quarters for the resident bank manager.

On December 10, 1894 an epic event occurred. Both the Commercial and the Union closed. Canadian banks rushed to Newfoundland’s assistance and began to establish branches in the colony. The Bank of Montreal made the greatest contribution by lending the Newfoundland government sufficient funds to meet interest payments and for a resumption of the construction of the railway. In addition, they lent sufficient funds to allow a local merchant firm to buy fish from distressed fishermen. By 1897 the Bank of Montreal exclusively controlled the Newfoundland government’s accounts. This led to the establishment of Canadian currency as legal tender within Newfoundland and the local currency compatible with that of the Dominion of Canada.

In 1895 the Bank of Montreal moved into the building. Two years later, the only Newfoundland bank to survive the 1894 Crash, the Newfoundland Savings Bank, moved into the building and ran its operations from there for 65 years. The Savings Bank was an important tool that the Newfoundland government used to raise money for the war effort from 1914-1918 via a savings stamp plan that involved thousands of school children. In 1962 the Bank of Montreal purchased the Savings Bank and reacquired the building. The Bank of Montreal sustained a branch in the building until 1985 when it donated the building to the City of St. John’s. The Anna Templeton Centre for Craft Art & Design currently leases the building for arts and cultural purposes.


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