Shawnigan Lake School is a world-class, co-ed boarding school and the largest boarding school in western North America. Located in Canada's warmest region on the west coast of British Columbia, the school's setting is magnificent – an abundant 380 acres that provide a peaceful, safe environment with sweeping lawns, gorgeous gardens and excellent facilities. Shawnigan provides everything students require to pursue personal excellence. Our teachers inspire you to develop your intellectual passions, our coaches push you to discover your physical resources and our Fine Arts instructors invite you to explore your inherent creativity. Above all, we are known for our caring atmosphere, truly a "home away from home," with traditions like shared meals in the magnificent dining hall and a supportive House(residence) program. We offer a rigorous, supportive academic program, nationally recognized sports, outstanding fine arts, and programs fostering leadership, environmental action and public service.


Contact: Mrs. Gaynor Samuel
Phone: 250-743-6207
Toll Free:
Fax: 250-743-6200
Application Deadline: Rolling
Application Fee: $200
International Application Fee: 0


Department Director: 
Average Class Size: 
Full Time Teachers: 
Student Teacher Ratio: 
Saturday Classes: no
Summer Programs Offered: no

Campus Life

During opening week, a Grade 12 student offered this insight to the student body: Here’s a little message, not from someone who’s told to make the school sound good, or someone who can gain anything from it; only someone with a bit of experience here. 

This school is what you want it to be. You can rant and rave about life here all you want, or you can take advantage of what it has to offer.

There is so much opportunity in this place. Things you might never have a chance to experience again are sitting waiting for you to try. These are the years in your life when it’s easy to discover and explore, when you don’t have any set path—so go for it! 

You could learn how to make a shirt or a table, the rules of squash, or how to schedule voice lessons between graphic design and dinner with your roommates. Some things I’ve learned: How to make a bowl. I figured I’d get tired of pottery after a week, but I made more bowls than you can imagine, and despite what I thought, I loved it.

On the athletic side, People that know me can tell you I’m not a born runner, in fact, I am passed by power walkers and children—often. After joining cross country last minute, I surprised myself: I was running, and for some reason, I no longer thought of ways to fake a heart attack so I could stop (I still do that when I erg, though).

These are just some things I learned when I branched out of my usual niche: I promise that if you hold back, if you don’t capitalize on all these resources in front of you, you’ll regret it. 

Don’t think that you’re in this alone, either. You have so many people that will support you if you decide you want to try ballet or if you can’t figure out a math problem. Believe it or not, the people in this room are going to be beside you for this entire year, and some for the years ahead. You will make friends with them—some of the closest you’ve had—and you’ll grow together within these gates. They will be there when you need them, when you don’t need them, probably even when you don’t want them. It’s not going to be hunky dory all the time, it never is, There will be rainy days, fights and bad meals, but I swear to you, when you try to make the best of it, you will live out days and nights that you’ll remember for the rest of your life.

Like I said, this isn’t coming from authority or power, it's just coming from a little experience.

Dorm Life

Department Director: Barry Welsh
Average Students per Dorm: 50
No. of Girls Dorms: 4
No. of Boys Dorms: 5
Dress Code:  Uniform

Student Life

Shawnigan prides itself on being the largest boarding school in Canada and Western America with 90% of its students attending the school as boarders. Although mainly comprised of students hailing from Canada and North America (80%), the student body also represents 30 other nationalities from around the world. The diversity of the international student community offers amazing opportunity for discovery, appreciation and growth at the same time it creates unity in the nine distinctive Shawnigan Houses, which are the very centre of every student's life. For boarders and day-student alike, each of the Houses offers a strong sense of identity and a place to call home while on campus. Friendships are cultivated across all grade-levels, fostered by the big-brother, big-sister groups in each house and House spirit is encouraged by house outings and Inter-house Events, which are always a fantastic opportunity to band together.

Dorm Amenities
  • Game Room
  • Lounge
  • Wireless Internet
  • Squash Court, Rowing Crew House, Rugby Pavilion
  • Basketball Court(s)
  • Indoor Basketball Court(s)
  • Fitness Center
  • Volleyball Court(s)
  • Indoor Climbing Wall
Clubs & Organizations
  • Astronomy Club
  • Community Service
  • Computer Club
  • Debate Club
  • Dorm Proctors
  • Drama Club
  • Environmental Club
  • Food Council
  • Gardening
  • Horseback Riding
  • International Clubs
  • Literary Magazine
  • Mock Trial
  • Model UN
  • Outing Club
  • Peer Counseling
  • Peer Tutoring
  • Photography
  • Student Publications
  • Sailing Club
  • Snowboarding
  • Student Activities
  • Student Government
  • Surfing
  • Theater
  • Weightlifting
  • Woodworking Club
  • Yearbook
  • Yoga

Arts & Athletics

Shawnigan is an opportunity for you to discover yourself not only intellectually but also athletically and creatively. That is why all students are required to take one sport and one fine art elective each term. The philosophy for both disciplines flows out of the School's mission statement to "lead young people in the pursuit of personal excellence." 

For the serious athlete, Shawnigan has both modern facilities and highly-qualified coaches to develop your skills to the next level - and the next, and the next. Our coaches will push you to discover your physical resources and help set new personal goals each term. Many of our coaching staff have international playing experience and likewise many of our athletes go on to compete in the international arena and at top universities.

For the artist, we have the studios and the instruction to help you grow in your craft and explore your inherent creativity. Deepen your sense of artistry in our pottery studio, woodwork shop, photo lab, music hall, graphic workshop or in variety of other artistic disciplines. Shawnigan students go on to develop their craft in leading art schools in North America and abroad.

Arts Department Director: Don Rolston
Athletics Department Director: Mark Hall

Interscholastic Sports
  • Rowing
  • Basketball
  • Crew
  • Cross-Country Running
  • Dance
  • Field Hockey
  • Golf
  • Ice Hockey
  • Rugby
  • Soccer
  • Squash
  • Tennis
  • Volleyball
Recreational Sports
  • Aerobics
  • Alpine Skiing
  • Alpine Ski Racing
  • Badminton
  • Basketball
  • Bowling
  • Camping
  • Canoeing
  • Crew
  • Cricket
  • Cross-Country Running
  • Dance
  • Equestrian
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Ice Hockey
  • Ice Skating
  • Kayaking
  • Martial Arts
  • Mountain Biking
  • Nordic Skiing
  • Nordic Ski Racing
  • Outdoor Education
  • Paddle Tennis
  • Power Lifting
  • Rafting
  • Rifle Team
  • Rock Climbing
  • Sailing
  • Snowboarding
  • Soccer
  • Squash
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Table Tennis
  • Tennis
  • Track and Field
  • Ultimate Frisbee
  • Volleyball
  • Weight Lifting
  • Art Club
  • Choral Music
  • Dance
  • Drama Club
  • Jazz Ensemble
  • Rock Band
  • Stage Band
  • String Ensemble
  • Tech Crew
  • Theater


Shawnigan is more than the sum of its core programs. At the center of our education lies a conversation about values, leadership, spirit, friendship, and commitment. We challenge students to set high standards for personal and collective commitment. For students this living conversation comprised of example, support,and trust, makes Shawnigan truly a place to belong. Shawnigan is an opportunity for you to discover yourself intellectually, athletically and creatively. Dedicated students will enjoy the challenge, the fellowship, the laughter, the independence of a Shawnigan education. Come discover yourself at Shawnigan.