5. Five School Districts 1896 - 1905

The centre of the island has a steep range across it, called “the Divide”.
If the school district boundaries had followed the lie of the land, they would run across the island here at an angle (see the contours of the 3-D map). But the boundaries were set by the Government in Victoria, following the lines on the surveyor’s map.The southern boundary of the Divide school district is roughly at the top of Lee’s Hill, and the northern boundary leaves children in the area north of Ganges Harbour free to continue going to the Central School. By this time there were more families beginning to settle in the Ganges area, around the Blackburn Valley, and up in the Cranberry Marsh area. It was time to build a schoolhouse there, on Blackburn Road.

By 1896 most of the school children from old Salt Spring Island families had what is called ‘mixed parentage’. The early families had inter-married. So, a girl with Black parents may have grown up and married a man whose mother was a First Nations woman and whose father had come from Greece or Portugal or Scotland. New settlers, like some of those who came and settled in the Divide area, were not of mixed parentage. Most of the new students in the Divide area had parents who came from America or from Britain.

Check your Dictionary
noun: a boundary
noun: a range (as in ‘mountain range’)

Check your Memory
- what name did the islanders give the steep range of hills that separated the north of the island from the south of the the island?

Challenge your Visual Memory
- study the northern line of the Divide school district on the map in relation to where it passes through the bays or harbours - Booth Bay on the west, wide Ganges Harbour just to the south of the line, and narrower Long Harbour on the east.
- draw a horizontal line for this northern boundary, and then try drawing the nearby coastline, copying the map
- after closing your eyes, try visualising where the northern boundary of the Divide School District passes across the island and its harbours.

check the dictionary