UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Geographical aspects of school construction and location in the Greater Victoria School System Drummond, Jack Murray


The objective of the thesis is to discuss the significant factors involved in the establishment of each school in the Greater Victoria area, and on the basis of that analysis to forecast future needs: and indicate appropriate sites. Historical, documents concerning the early settling and development of districts now comprising Greater Victoria were examined and pertinent information in provincial and municipal records was obtained. Earlier documents were incomplete; some gaps exist even in later records, which were eventually filled by personal interviews; with old residents. The study investigates the significant historical and geographical background for settlement; in Victoria. Each district of the Greater Victoria region has been discussed, recording the reason for its economic expansion and noting population statistics — total numbers, densities, age groupings, patterns of distribution. The problem of future7 schools in terms of optimum conditions of location, space; and enrollment is outlined. The first settlement by the Hudson’s Bay Company on Vancouver Island resulted from the company's fear that the international boundary might be placed north of their fort on the Columbia River. Three harbours— Esquimalt, Victoria and Sooke — and particularly the fertile plains around Victoria, influenced the choice of the present Greater Victoria. The economy of this area developed through three distinct, stages: the early fur trade before 1859; the gold rush with consequent colonization and more diverse; activity;: and finally the commerce; and: industry of this century. It was; the policy of the Hudson’s Bay Company that its forts must be self-supporting after the first year; therefore although Esquimalt harbour was superior, Victoria, with better farming possibilities, became the site of the first fort. Although Esquimalt became the port, farms developed near there which were more important than those in Victoria. These settlement of the fur trade regime were responsible for the first schools: the Fort, inside the fort at Victoria, and the Craigflower and the Esquimalt Villager Schools in Esquimalt. With the Gold Rush the Town became an important commercial centre, more heavily settled than Esquimalt. Fringe farming settlements consequently increased. Reflecting the settlement pattern large schools were established in the Town and smaller ones in the farming districts. By 1900, however, it was apparent that Vancouver was to be the industrial and commercial centre of the Canadian West and that the basic economy of the Greater Victoria region was to depend upon the civil service, the tourist, and the pensioner. Under this economy the total population grew slowly but steadily from 56,875 in 1921 to 116,300 in 1956. The main densities were located near the city centre. Gradually as pressure for land increased settlements spread in a concentric pattern; by 1960 urban densities were found some three miles from the city centre. Two other settlement patterns emerged, namely an increase in fringe settlement and a greater, density in the inner section. By 1956 the locations, of schools reflected these patterns,, the; majority being inside the urban district. With continued concentric growth urban densities will encompass the fringe settlements and new schools must be planned for these outer districts, particularly since a large percentage of school-age population lives there. Schools have not always been placed so as to cope with expanding population densities and increasing traffic hazards. Studies of settlement trends should therefore precede the acquisition of land for new schools. The correlated discussion of economic outlook, population, settlement, and school location, expressed in general terms, become more apparent in the graphs and maps of the thesis, and indicate; the need for such studies in the planning of new schools.

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