Shawnigan Lake School

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Shawnigan Lake School
Palmam Qui Meruit Ferat
Let whoever has deserved the palm bear it
1975, Renfrew Road
Shawnigan Lake, British Columbia, V0R 2W1, Canada
Headmaster David Robertson
Deputy Head Barry Welsh
Staff 250
School type Private Day and Boarding
Grades 8-12
Language English
Mascot Stag
Colours Black and Gold
Founded 1916
Enrollment 480

Shawnigan Lake School is a private boarding school, located in Shawnigan Lake, British Columbia, Canada. It was founded by Englishman, Christopher Windley 'C. W.' Lonsdale in 1916, and partly modelled on one of England's leading independent "public" schools, Westminster School.[1]


Shawnigan Lake School

Shawnigan Lake School is on the shores of Shawnigan Lake and occupies a wooded 400-acre (1.6 km2) property. It is located just a few minutes away from the village of Shawnigan Lake, and, driving, is 45 minutes north of Victoria, British Columbia on Vancouver Island.

Current campus[edit]

Currently Shawnigan Lake School has approximately 35 buildings on its 400+ acre property, ranging from classrooms, and dormitories to staff housing, as well as athletics and maintenance buildings.

Shawnigan Lake School's Olsen and Craig Buildings

Main Building: Currently located in the centre of the property was built 1927. In a devastating fire that destroyed most of the original buildings on campus, the founder, C. W. Lonsdale, rather than giving up, took this as an opportunity to build the school of his dreams. Within a week of the fire, he had hired Duncan architect, Douglas James, to design a new facility. Construction began February 16, 1927, and the new building was occupied on May 13. This building is currently occupied by the accounting, admissions, school administration and socials studies departments.

Hobbies Building: Originally built in 1937 and completely rebuilt in the late 90's, this building hosts the school's fine arts programme. This building has a woodshop, several art rooms, a pottery room, a computer lab, and a photography lab.

Shawnigan Lake School's Marion Hall

Marion Hall: Built in 2002, this is a 500-seat dining hall and food services facility. It uses local timber extensively and has etched concrete flooring.

Olsen Building: Built in 2001 and named for Bruce Charles Olsen former student and board of governors member, this building currently houses the languages department.

Craig Building: Generously donated by Mr and Mrs Cyril Craig in 1962, and formerly known as the Craig Block, the building was moved to its current location beside the Olsen building in 2001.

Shaw Centre for Science: Located on the North west shore of Lake Omar, generously donated by the Shaw family and Jim Shaw, this state-of-the-art building which host the Science department was opened in 1999.[2]

John Lecky House: Donated by the Lecky family this facility was opened in September 2003, the facility being part of John Lecky's dream of "Bringing the World to Shawnigan", it is used to house visiting schools as well as Rugby Canada, and Rowing Canada during their frequent training camps a Shawnigan.[3]



The school is primarily a boarding school with 90% of its students attending the school as boarders. The school currently has 9 boarding houses on campus, five residences for boys and four residences for girls. Each boarding house has a house director (formerly called the housemaster) and an assistant house director, who are assisted by student house prefects in the management of house duties and issues.

Lake's House: Is one of the two original houses, “Lake’s” was founded on May 12, 1927. “Lake’s” was named after Harry John Lake, its first head of house, who later became a colonel in the Canadian Army. Col. Lake's uncle, Sir Percy Lake, was first Chief of the Canadian General Staff and served as Chairman of the Board of Governors, while the Colonel's father was Sir Richard Lake, sometime Lieutenant-Governor of Saskatchewan.

Ripley's House: Is one of the two original houses,“Ripley’s” was named after Alexander 'Alec' B. Ripley, who was its first head of house, and who later became a lawyer in California. Ripley's has also been known as the best house since the very early days of the school.

Groves' House: Founded in September 1927, “Groves’” was named after Jocelyn James Douglas Groves, its first head of house, rose to the rank of lieutenant-colonel in the British Army. Groves’ was converted to a girls' residence in 1992. Groves’ House was rebuilt in 2005.

Copeman's House: Founded in September 1929 and named for John Y. Copeman, a Victoria lawyer, who was Chairman of the Board of Governors for many years. The original building, which housed 90 boys and had its own kitchen and dining room, mysteriously burned to the ground in one night in the autumn of 1968. The building which replaced it was replaced with a further new structure in 2005.

Lonsdale's House: Founded in September 1968 and named for Christopher Windley Lonsdale, Shawnigan's first and founding headmaster. “Lonsdale’s” moved into a new building in March 2007. In 2009 Lonsdales won the house cup and is now considered "the best house" even though the boys of Lonsdales humbly accept the title.

Strathcona Lodge School House: Founded in 2007 and named to mark Shawnigan's long association with Strathcona Lodge School, a defunct girls’ school in Shawnigan Lake which closed its doors in 1977. Shawnigan has since adopted the former 'Old Girls' of 'Strath' as honorary Shawnigan alumni to incorporate earlier generations of women from Strathcona Lodge School alumnae within the ranks of Shawnigan's current alumni.

Kaye's House: Founded in September 1989 as the second girls’ house, it was named to honour G. Peter, the school's second headmaster, whose sons and grandsons also attended the school.

Renfrew House: Established in September 1996 in order to expand the space for girls wishing to enrol at the school.

Duxbury House: Founded in September 1999 and named for Frank Duxbury, a teacher who was senior master at the school during the 1950s and early ’60s.


School House: Founded in September 1988 as the inaugural girls’ residence in the School, named after its unique position in a refurbished wing of the School’s main building, School House was replaced in 2007 by Strathcona Lodge School House.


C. W. Lonsdale Shawnigan Lake School Founder
Year Name
1916–1952 C. W. Lonsdale
1952–1958 G. Peter Kaye
1958–1967 Edward R. 'Ned' Larsen
1967–1968 Lachlan Patrick 'Pat' MacLachlan, Acting
1968 Brian S. Powell
1968–1972 Lachlan Patrick 'Pat' MacLachlan
1972 The Rev. Canon William Hamilton Horace McClelland, M.B.E. Acting
1972–1975 Hugh C. Wilkinson
1975–1978 The Rev. Canon William Hamilton Horace McClelland, M.B.E.
1978–1983 Darrell John Farrant
1983–1984 Derek William Hyde-Lay, Acting
1984–1989 Douglas J. 'Doug' Campbell
1989–1990 Derek William Hyde-Lay
1990–2000 Simon C. Bruce-Lockhart
2000—Current David Robertson

School athletic championships[edit]

(Note: championships exist other than for rowing & rugby.)


Canadian Champions - Jr. Men’s Eight - 2013
Canadian Champions - Jr. Men’s Coxed Four - 2013
Canadian Champions - Sr. Men’s Lwt. Eight - 2011
Canadian Champions - Sr. Men’s Lwt. Pair - 2011
Canadian Champions - Sr. Women's Double - 2010
Canadian Champions - Sr. Women's Eights - 2009
Canadian Champions - Sr. Men's Four - 2009
Canadian Champions - Jr. Women's Lightweight Pair - 2009
Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup - Henley Royal Regatta- 2008[4]
Canadian Champions - Sr. Men's Eight - 2008[4]
Canadian Champions - Sr. Men's Four - 2008[4]
Canadian Champions - Jr. Men's Eights - 2007[5]
Canadian Champions - Jr. Men's Eights - 2006[6]
Canadian Champions - Sr. Women's Four - 2005[7]
Canadian Champions - Sr. Men's Four - 2005[7]
Canadian Champions - Sr. Men's Eight - 2005[7]
Canadian Champions - Sr. Men's Four - 2004[8]
Canadian Champions - Sr. Women's Four - 2004[8]
Canadian Champions - Sr. Men's Eight - 2004[8]
Canadian Champions - Jr. Men's Four - 2003[9]
Canadian Champions - Sr. Women's Pair - 2002[10]
Canadian Champions - Jr. Men's Eights - 2002[10]
Canadian Champions - Sr. Men's Four - 2001[11]

(Note: championships exist pre-2001 to the founding.)

Rugby Union[edit]

BC Boys AAA Rugby Champions - 2013
BC Boys AAA Rugby Champions - 2012
BC Boys AAA Rugby Champions - 2011
BC Boys AAA Rugby Champions - 2010
BC Boys AAA Rugby Champions - 2009[12]
Boys CAIS National Rugby Champions - 2008[13]
BC Boys AAA Rugby Champions - 1998[14]
BC Girls AA Rugby Champions - 1997
BC Girls AA Rugby Champions - 1996

Field Hockey[edit]

BC Girls AAA Sr. Field Hockey Champions - 2014 BC Girls AA Field Hockey Champions - 2011

(Note: championships exist pre-1996 to the founding.)


Shawnigan's academic programme is university preparatory; the curriculum is based on British Columbia Ministry of Education standards. Shawnigan Lake School also provides an Advanced Placement Programme to its students which is administered by the College Entrance Examination Board in Princeton, New Jersey.

Fine arts[edit]

The Fine Arts play a vital role in the development of all Shawnigan students. Within the Arts, emphassis is placed on personal growth and the development of lifelong skills. Students are encouraged to try a variety of Fine Arts, selecting from a list of twenty options. Students must choose one activity for the duration the year.[15]


The athletics programme at Shawnigan Lake School is an extension of the School's mission statement: "through athletics, we lead young people in the pursuit of personal excellence.” Shawnigan's goal is to develop the athletic potential of each student. Every student enrols in one sport each term. The school's programmes stress sportsmanship and respect for others at all times. Rugby and rowing are the cornerstones of the school's sports programme, each with its own traditions of excellence and opportunity.[16] On May 10, 2014, the boys ice hockey team was accepted into the Canadian Sport School Hockey League.[17]

Notable alumni[edit]






Air Force, Military and Navy[edit]

  • Cornelius Corny Burke (d. 1999)-WWII Royal Canadian Navy officer[28]
  • Thomas Ellis Tommy Ladner (d. 2006) - WWII Royal Canadian Navy officer[28]
  • Rear Admiral Michael G. Stirling - Canadian Navy
  • Rear Admiral Richard H. Leir - Canadian Navy
  • John Mackie - World War II RAF fighter pilot.



Notable staff[edit]

(Note: staff list is very inaccurate, misleading, & incomplete.)


CAIS - Canadian Association of Independent Schools
NAIS - National Association of Independent Schools
TABS - The Association of Boarding Schools


  1. ^ "C. W. Lonsdale". Our History. Shawnigan Lake School. Retrieved 2008-06-10. [dead link]
  2. ^ Robertson, David (1999-07-01). "The Shaw Centre for Science" (PDF). The Report Card. Shawnigan Lake School. p. 6. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  3. ^ External Programmes - Shawnigan Lake School at
  4. ^ a b c "Race Results". 2008 Henley Royal Regatta. Henley Royal Regatta. 2008-07-07. Archived from the original on 2008-07-06. Retrieved 2008-07-07. 
  5. ^ "Race Results". CSSRA 62nd Annual Regatta. Canadian Secondary Schools Rowing Association. 2007-06-03. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  6. ^ "Race Results". CSSRA 61st Annual Regatta. Canadian Secondary Schools Rowing Association. 2006-06-04. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  7. ^ a b c "Race Results". CSSRA 60th Annual Regatta. Canadian Secondary Schools Rowing Association. 2005-06-05. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  8. ^ a b c "Race Results". CSSRA 59th Annual Regatta. Canadian Secondary Schools Rowing Association. 2004-06-06. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  9. ^ "Race Results". CSSRA 58th Annual Regatta. Canadian Secondary Schools Rowing Association. 2003-06-01. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  10. ^ a b "Race Results". CSSRA 57th Annual Regatta. Canadian Secondary Schools Rowing Association. 2002-06-02. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  11. ^ "Race Results". CSSRA 56th Annual Regatta. Canadian Secondary Schools Rowing Association. 2001-06-03. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  12. ^ Shawnigan Lake School
  13. ^ Upper Canada College ~ BOYS' Rugby Tournament
  14. ^ British Columbia Secondary Schools' Rugby Union
  15. ^ Shawnigan Lake School, Victoria BC private boarding school fine arts programme
  16. ^ Shawnigan Lake School, Vancouver Island BC private boarding school sports athletics
  17. ^ CSSHL, Media. "CSSHL welcomes two new programs". 
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ rcaug2003
  21. ^ Rowing Canada - Hwt. Men - 2007 Team
  22. ^ Rowing Canada - Hwt. Men - 2007-9 Team
  23. ^ Nederland - Hwt. Men - 2008-9 Team
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^ Mad about Mozart at
  27. ^ Tara Spencer-Nairn Biography at
  28. ^ a b c
  29. ^
  30. ^ Meet the Teachers
  31. ^ David Orchard: Media Coverage
  32. ^ Stanier, R. Y. (1980). "The Journey, not the Arrival, Matters". Annual Review of Microbiology 34: 1–48. doi:10.1146/annurev.mi.34.100180.000245. PMID 6776882.  edit(subscription required)
  33. ^ Qualicum College
  34. ^ vol 12 num 2
  35. ^ Expert Tour Leaders - Birding & Naturalists
  36. ^ [1] Y%40%20%20%0A
  37. ^ Neuchâtel Junior College - History & Governance
  • Rough Diamond: An Oral History of Shawnigan Lake School (ISBN 0-9696005-0-X) by Jay Connolly.
  • The Handbook of Canadian Boarding Schools, by Lafortune, Sylvie, Thomson, Ashley, p. 115

External links[edit]