Touring BC Schools

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For more information about BC schools and districts please visit the BC Ministry of Education website.

Region: Vancouver Island / Coast

Sunshine Coast (SD46)

SD 46 Sunshine Coast runs along a 50-kilometre stretch of Highway 10, and includes the towns of Gibsons, Sechelt, Madeira Park, Roberts Creek and Halfmoon Bay. There are 13 public schools with more than 3,200 students. Two independent schools are located in Gibsons and Roberts Creek. This island-like part of the mainland is accessible from the south by a 40-minute ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay to Langdale.

Booking process: A representative from the district usually attends the ArtStarts Showcase and recommends arts groups for block bookings into all schools in the district. They invite one or two groups each year to perform in each of the 10 elementary schools and another group for the 3 secondary schools.

Sunshine Coast School District Office, PO Box 220, Gibsons, V0N 1V0
telephone: 6048868811 | fax: 6048864652 | website:

Powell River (SD47)

Most of the eight public schools in SD 47 are located in Powell River. There is also one school in Van Anda on Texada Island across the Malaspina Strait and accessible by ferry. The total public school population is over 2,200. The District has two independent schools, both located in Powell River. The Evergreen Theatre in Powell River is used by schools as well as the general community. This district is accessible by ferry from Horseshoe Bay via Earls Cove on the Sunshine Coast or from Comox on Vancouver Island.

Booking process: With their arts programming focusing primarily on classical and traditional music, and sometimes theatre, the District arts contact circulates a list to the schools of approximately seven artists and groups. The students are bussed in to attend the artists' school performance which is usually held in a community venue.

Powell River School District Office, 4351 Ontario Ave, Powell River, V8A 1V3
telephone: 6044142600 | fax: 6044856435 | website:

Central Coast (SD49)

School District 49 is large geographically, but among the smallest districts in British Columbia in terms of enrollment. Central Coast educates just over 270 pupils in five schools, three in the Bella Coola Valley covering grades K-12, and two K-7 schools on the more remote outer coast, at Shearwater on Denny Island and Oweekeno on Rivers Inlet. The district also has three independent schools. Turn west at Williams Lake onto Highway 20, drive for 500 kilometers and you will end up in the Central Coast district.

Booking process: Using ArtStarts' Directory, as well as information received directly from artists and agents, the arts contact consults with neighbouring districts before selecting on average two or three artists or groups to tour their schools. Most artists are booked for 4 performances each in the District schools.

Central Coast School District Office, PO Bag 130, Hagensborg, V0T 1H0
telephone: 2509822691 | fax: 2509822319 | website:

Greater Victoria (SD61)

Victoria, located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, is the capital of British Columbia and a community with an active arts and culture scene. Many professional companies including the symphony and opera, numerous theatre groups and art galleries call Victoria home. SD 61 Greater Victoria has 45 public schools and 20 independent schools. The public schools have a student population of over 19,000.

Booking process: Using the ArtStarts Directory and Showcase, the arts contact for the district creates a shortlist of recommended artists and groups. The short list of approximately 30 artists becomes part of the "mini-directory" and is circulated to the individual schools where the principals, teachers and parents make their selections. The District hosts on average between 70 - 80 events in the schools each year.

Greater Victoria School District Office, PO Box 700, Victoria, V8W 2R1
telephone: 2504753212 | fax: 2504756161 | website:

Sooke (SD62)

Sooke is located on the south western tip of Vancouver Island a scenic half hour drive from Victoria on Highway 14. The Sooke region encompasses East Sooke and Sooke, two communities which are joined across the sheltered Sooke Harbour and Basin and includes schools in the western communities. Sooke is also home to two independent schools. More than 8,200 students attend 23 public schools. Sooke schools support quite a wealth of interests, such as music, drama, arts and crafts, photography, gardening, and team sports. There are two theatres, the Edward Milne and Isabel Reader, within Sooke schools each with capacities of approximately 300.

Booking process: The Sooke District arts contact occasionally attends the ArtStarts Showcase in the spring and uses the Artist Directory and material received directly from artists and arts agents to select artists and groups for their schools. With between 30 and 40 events presented each year the District's students see between 8 - 12 artists and groups in their schools.

Sooke School District Office, 3143 Jacklin Road, Victoria, V9B 5R1
telephone: 2504749816 | fax: 2504748343 | website:

Saanich (SD63)

SD 63 Saanich, situated on a peninsula at the southern end of Vancouver Island, has 14 schools, four with French Immersion, and a student population of over 7,300. The majority of the schools are divided between Victoria and Sidney, with two each in Saanichton and Brentwood Bay. The district's schools are organized in three levels: elementary schools have students from kindergarten to grade five; middle schools cover grade six to eight; and secondary schools cover grades nine through twelve. There are also 2 independent schools in the district located in Sidney and Victoria. The peninsula is accessible by ferry from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay.

Booking process: Using the ArtStarts Directory and Showcase, the District's committee selects a shortlist of recommended artists and groups. This information is compiled into three mini-directories for elementary, middle and secondary schools. Principals, teachers and parents then choose from the shortlists and send in their booking requests. The District hosts an average of 40 events in their schools each year.

Saanich School District Office, 2125 Keating Cross Road, Saanichton, V8M 2A5
telephone: 2506527300 | fax: 2506526421 | website:

Gulf Island (SD64)

SD 64 is made up of the five island communities in the Southern Gulf Islands. The 9 public and 1 independent schools are spread throughout the islands of Saltspring, Galiano, Mayne, Pender and Saturna. The Gulf Island District has a total public school student population of more than 1,500. Ferry schedules, which don't often allow for easy island-hopping, make touring a challenge throughout the district.

Booking process: Some years the arts contact attends the ArtStarts Showcase and in other years uses the Directory to make selections for the District's elementary, middle and secondary schools. On average the District hosts between 10 -15 events each year with 4 to 6 different artists and groups.

Gulf Islands School District Office, 112 Rainbow Rd, Saltspring Island, V8K 2K3
telephone: 2505392371 | fax: 2505392325 | website:

Nanaimo-Ladysmith (SD68)

The 39 schools in SD 68 Nanaimo-Ladysmith combined make up a population of over 14,300 students. Six schools feature Francophone programs and/or French Immersion. All 6 independent schools and nearly all the public schools are in Nanaimo, a city known for its abundance of parks and shopping centres. The remaining schools are in nearby Ladysmith and Lantzville, and offshore on Gabriola Island, 20 minutes from Nanaimo by ferry.

Booking process: Using the ArtStarts Directory and Showcase, the arts contact for the District creates a shortlist of arts groups including recommendations. This mini-directory, containing information on at least 20 different artists and groups, are used by the principals, teachers and parents to select performance and workshops for their schools. Each year the District hosts between 60 and 80 events .

Nanaimo-Ladysmith School District Office, 395 Wakesiah Ave, Nanaimo, V9R 3K6
telephone: 2507545521 | fax: 2507415248 | website:

Qualicum (SD69)

Qualicum School District 69 has a student population of over 4,600 students in its 15 schools. District boundaries extend from Nanoose Bay in the south, to Cook Creek in the north, inland to Cameron Lake, and include Lasqueti Island. Three of the public schools offer French immersion programs and there are 2 independent schools in the area. The majority of schools in SD 69 Qualicum are situated in Parksville, a resort community 35 km north of Nanaimo on Highway 19.

Booking process: The arts contact for the District uses material received directly from the artists as well as the ArtStarts Directory to select groups to tour their district. With a total of over 20 performances presented each school year, the District selects four or five artists for the elementary as well as secondary schools.

Qualicum School District Office, PO Box 430, 100 Jensen Ave, Parksville, V9P 2G5
telephone: 2509543022 | fax: 2509543029 | website:

Alberni (SD70)

SD 70 serves the communities of Port Alberni, Bamfield, Tofino and Ucluelet in the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. Port Alberni, the largest centre in the district, holds the majority of the 14 public schools. The district also has 4 independent schools, three French Immersion programs and a public school student population of 3,900.

Booking process: After attending the ArtStarts Showcase, the arts contact selects and books the arts groups for the schools in the district. Usually booking over 30 events each year for the school, the District has reduced their activity in recent years.

Alberni School District Office, 4690 Roger St, Port Alberni, V9Y 3Z4
telephone: 2507240623 | fax: 2507240600 | website:

Comox Valley (SD71)

An active centre for arts and culture, SD71 Comox Valley has 20 public schools located in Courtenay, Comox and Cumberland along Highway 19 on Vancouver Island. There is one school each on Denman and Hornby Islands with ferry access from Bukley Bay, south of Cumberland. Four schools feature Francophone/ Immersion programs, and the total student population is over 8,100. There is also one independent school in the district. Comox Valley is accessible along the Island Highway.

Booking process: After a committee attends the ArtStarts Showcase, the arts contact creates a shortlist of approximately 20 arts groups for a "mini-directory," which circulates to each of the schools. After review, the teachers, princpal and parents chooses from the district shortlist. Averaging around 50 events annually, they bring between 15 and 20 artists and groups into their schools each year.

Comox Valley School District Office, 607 Cumberland Rd, Courtenay, V9N 7G5
telephone: 2503345500 | fax: 2503344472 | website:

Campbell River (SD72)

The majority of the 19 public schools in SD 72 are within the city of Campbell River itself, but there is also one school on each of the islands of Read, Quadra and Cortes. Four of the schools feature Francophone/Immersion programs and the total student population is just over 5,500. Two independent schools serve Campbell River and Cortes Island. There are two Band operated schools in Campbell River and one in Kingcome Inlet, much further north on the mainland at the mouth of the Kingcome River. Campbell River is 152 km north of Nanaimo, accessible on Highway 19 or via the Island Highway. Ferries run daily between Campbell River and the islands.

Booking process: After attending the ArtStarts Showcase, the arts contact creates a shortlist of recommendations for the schools. The principals, teachers and parents make their selections and usually 6-10 different artists and groups tour the District presenting between 30 and 50 events each year.

Campbell River School District Office, 425 Pinecrest Rd, Campbell River, V9W 3P2
telephone: 2508302300 | fax: 2502872616 | website:

Cowichan Valley (SD79)

Cowichan Valley is home to the Cowichan Band, the largest Aboriginal band in BC. This district's 25 schools, four with French Immersion programs, are spread among eight different communities, with the majority in Duncan, 62 km north of Victoria along Highway 1. More than 8,000 students attend overall. There are 11 independent schools, located mainly in Duncan and Shawnigan Lake, a community 7 km west on Highway 1. There are also three First Nations schools located in Chemainus and Duncan.

Booking process: Using both the ArtStarts Directory and Showcase, the District's committee creates two shortlists of artists and groups for their elementary and secondary schools. With over 20 groups in each mini-directory, the principals, teachers and parents select a total of 40 - 60 events in their District each year. The District also work with the Nanaimo Art Gallery to present workshops.

Cowichan Valley School District Office, 2557 Beverly St., Duncan, V9L 2X3
telephone: 2507480321 | fax: 2507486591 | website:

Vancouver Island West (SD84)

SD 84 Vancouver Island West has five public schools in four communities with a combined student population of 440. Two schools are in the largest town, Gold River and one school is in Tahsis, a small forestry community 65 km west. Both towns are accessible by road. The much smaller communities of Zeballos and Kyuquot are each home to one school, and are more accessible by plane. Alternatively, rugged adventurers may opt for the 300 km drive from Tahsis to Zeballos, foregoing the 20 minute plane trip.

Booking process: Using the Artists Directory found on the ArtStarts website, as well as information received directly from artsts, the arts contact books three artists each year to perform in each of their five schools.

Vancouver Island West School District Office, Box 100, Gold River, V0P 1G0
telephone: 2502832241 | fax: 2502837352 | website:

Vancouver Island North (SD85)

School District 85 is located on the northern end of Vancouver Island with Port Hardy being the largest town in the area and also the southern terminal for the BC Ferries northern route to Prince Rupert. Port Alice is situated on Neurotis Inlet on the west coast of the island. Port McNeill situated on the east coast, is the geographic hub of the North Island. The smaller fishing communities of Alert Bay on Cormorant Island and Sointula on Malcolm Island are linked to Port McNeill by a BC Ferry connector service that accommodates car and passenger traffic. Over 1,500 students attend 12 public schools. There are 3 independent schools; two in Port Hardy and one in Alert Bay.

Booking process: The arts contact frequently attends Pacific Contact and sends a shortlist of recommended artists to the schools. Once the schools have made their decisions the Arts Contact books the tour. Selecting 4-6 artists and groups each year, the District presents between 25 - 35 events annually.

Vancouver Island North School District Office, Box 90, Port Hardy, V0N 2P0
telephone: 2509496618 | fax: 2509498792 | website: