1. Early Salt Spring’s Many School Districts

In 1940 it was decided to amalgamate the eight School Districts then in existence on the Island, and form just one. The eight small elementary schools on the island, and the High School, were to be closed, and all the Islands students would be educated together in one 'Consolidated School'. Burgoyne Bay School stayed open for one more year before it was closed. Beaver Point School and Isabella Point School, being so very far from Ganges, won a reprieve of a further dozen years before being officially closed. From 1940 all the other students of the Island came together for their schooling from the first grade through to graduation from high school.

The Consolidated School building itself is now part of the Salt Spring Elementary School.
• The school at Central closed in 1940 after being in operation since 1860 - it was situated on the north side of where you now find Central Hall. Nothing is left of the schoolhouse today.
North End School closed after first being in operation in the 1860's - when its enrolled dropped too low, the students went instead to the school at Central. For example, it was closed from 1882 until 1891 - when the North End school had only 6 pupils. The North End School was situated on the North End road, not far from where you now find Fernwood School.
Burgoyne Bay School closed in 1940 after being in operation since 1872 - it was situated opposite side the United Church in the Burgoyne Valley. Today the old schoolhouse has been transformed into a private home.
Beaver Point School was able to remain open after 1940, but, against the wishes of the neighbourhood, had to close in 1951. Beaver Point schoolhouse remains where it was first built in 1885 - today it is still in daily use - as the Little Red Schoolhouse.
The Divide School closed in 1940 after being in operation since 1896 - it was located on Blackburn Road, directly opposite the current entrance to the golf course. A panabode is situated on its site.
Isabella Point School, like Beaver Point School was able to remain open after 1940, until 1951 - it was situated on Isabella Point road. Nothing is left of the schoolhouse today.
Cranberry Marsh School closed, having first opened in 1910 - the schoolhouse was situated on the road to Mount Maxwell. The students who went to the Cranberry Marsh School would merge with the Divide School students when enrolment dropped too low.
Ganges Harbour School (Ganges Public School) closed in 1940 after being in operation since 1917 - it was situated on Drake Road in Ganges, and is now the Roman Catholic church.
Ganges High School (the ‘Chicken House School’) was in the Poultry Shed beside Mahon Hall.

Check your Dictionary
verb: to amalgamate
noun: a district
verb: to merge
‘in operation’ means ‘happening’ or ‘being used’
‘in existence’ means ‘existing’, or ‘there’
‘was situated’ means that is where it was (‘was put in a certain place’)

Check your Map-Reading Skills
- try to locate all eight (8) schools on the map
Check your Math Skills
- which SSI school was in operation for 75 years before it closed?
- which SSI school was in operation for the greatest number of years?
Challenge your Math Skills:
- which two schools were in operation for about twice as many years as Ganges Harbour School?
- in what mathematical order have the SSI schools been listed above?

79 Central
c72? North End
67 Burgoyne
75 Beaver Point
c44 Divide
45 Isabella Point
c30? Cranberry Marsh
22 Ganges Harbour

From the turn of the century, there were also many private schools, mostly run out of private homes. Some served Salt Spring students for a brief time, but others were the choice for families for many years. The first, Ganges Private School, was situated on the harbour side of the foot of Ganges Hill, and grew to provide boarding facilities further up Ganges Hill. It was run by Leonard Tolson, as the Ganges Private School for Boys, but enrolled many girls!

check the dictionary