Shawnigan Lake School

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Shawnigan Lake School
1975, Renfrew Road
Shawnigan Lake, British Columbia, V0R 2W1
School type Private Day and Boarding
Motto Palmam Qui Meruit Ferat
(Let whoever has deserved the palm bear it)
Founded 1916
Headmaster David Robertson
Staff 250
Grades 8–12
Enrollment 508
Language English
Colour(s) Black and Gold
Mascot Stag
Last updated: January 14, 2014

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


Shawnigan Lake School

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

Current campus[edit]

Currently Shawnigan has approximately 35 buildings on its vast property, ranging from classrooms, dormitories and staff housing, to a theatre, hockey arena, and extensive sports fields.

Shawnigan Lake School's Olsen and Craig Buildings

Main Building: Built in 1927 after a devastating fire destroyed most of the original building. Within a week of the fire founder Lonsdale 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. Today it is the true heart of the campus and currently houses the accounting, admissions, school administration, learning centre, university guidance, and social studies departments, as well as the student centre the "Ritz" and the school store.

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

Shawnigan Lake School's Marion Hall

Marion Hall: Built in 2002 using exclusively local timber, it is a 500-seat dining hall and food services facility.

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

Craig Building: Donated by Mr. and Mrs. Cyril Craig in 1962, this building was moved to its current location beside the Olsen building in 2001.

Shaw Centre for Science: Built in 1999, this state-of-the-art building houses the science department and was donated by Jim Shaw.[2] and family.

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 at Shawnigan.[3]

The Jim & Kathryn Shaw Library: Opened in 2016, the library is a modern space that has become the heart of the Learning Commons. It features quiet reading rooms and comfortable study pods where students can wirelessly connect. There are about 10,000 books in the collection, as well as a new software operating system that can access all contemporary print and digital material.

Charles Purdey Arena : Opened in 2016, the ice arena is the most recent addition to Shawnigan's list of world class athletic facilities. The arena has created a 'real buzz' at the school as it allows 5 competitive teams in the Canadian School Sport Hockey League (CSSHL) to host games and tournaments. In addition, it gives less competitive hockey players and figure skaters an opportunity to develop their skills. It is a real slice of 'Canadiana'.



The school is primarily a boarding school with 90% of its students attending the school as boarders. The school currently has 5 residences for boys and 4 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: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: One of the two original houses,“Ripley’s” was founded on May 12, 1927, and was named after its first Head of House, Alexander 'Alec' B. Ripley.

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 2004.

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 current dorm was built 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.

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 Kaye, 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 enroll 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: Tala Coxswain, Graeme, Greg, Robert, Saeed, Caleb, Jordan, Drew, Calvin
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 CupHenley Royal Regatta – 2008[4]
Canadian Champions – Sr. Men's Eight – 2008[5]
Canadian Champions – Sr. Men's Four – 2008[4]
Canadian Champions – Jr. Men's Eights – 2007[6]
Canadian Champions – Jr. Men's Eights – 2006[7]
Canadian Champions – Sr. Women's Four – 2005[8]
Canadian Champions – Sr. Men's Four – 2005[8]
Canadian Champions – Sr. Men's Eight – 2005[8]
Canadian Champions – Sr. Men's Four – 2004[9]
Canadian Champions – Sr. Women's Four – 2004[9]
Canadian Champions – Sr. Men's Eight – 2004[9]
Canadian Champions – Jr. Men's Four – 2003[10]
Canadian Champions – Sr. Women's Pair – 2002[11]
Canadian Champions – Jr. Men's Eights – 2002[11]
Canadian Champions – Sr. Men's Four – 2001[12]

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

Rugby union[edit]

BC AAAA Boys Rugby Champions - 2017 BC AAA Junior Boys Rugby Champions - 2017 Junior Boys Rugby 7s Champions – 2016
BC AAA Junior Boys Rugby Champions – 2016
Girls CAIS Rugby Champions – 2016
BC Girls AA Rugby Champions – 2016
Senior Boys CAIS Rugby Champions – 2016
BC Boys AAAA Rugby Champions – 2016
BC Boys AAA Rugby Champions – 2015
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[13]
Boys CAIS National Rugby Champions – 2008[14]
BC Boys AAA Rugby Champions – 1998[15]
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

Ice hockey[edit]

CSSHL Midget Varsity Champions – Boy's Midget Varsity – 2016
CSSHL Midget Varsity Champions – Boy's Midget Varsity – 2015

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


Shawnigan's rigorous academic programme is university preparatory.The average class size is 16 students, and the teacher:student ratio is 1:8. 17 Advanced Placement (AP)courses (equivalent to first year university)are available to students, and these significantly help with college applications. Shawnigan was ranked by the Fraser Institute in 2015 as 9th out of 289 British Columbian Secondary Schools based on a score of 9.4/10 for academic achievements.[18]

Fine arts[edit]

The Fine Arts play a vital role in the development of all Shawnigan students. Within the arts, emphasis 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.[19]


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 enrolls 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.[20] On May 10, 2014, the boys ice hockey team was accepted into the Canadian Sport School Hockey League.[21]

Programme highlight: Squash
In recent years the squash program has recently gained a lot of momentum and is attracting high-level students to the school. During the school year, squash is played in all three terms and caters to players of all levels of ability. The School Sportsplex houses 4 international squash courts. Our squash players compete in the Independent School's Association competitions, and numerous tournaments involving clubs across BC and Alberta. Our ranked players play provincially, nationally and internationally at various times throughout the year.

Squash attracts athletes who are athletic, hard-working, and who possess good hand-eye coordination. Currently three players are ranked in the top three U19 Players in Canada: Michael Mehl is the # 1, Ryan Picken, Nour Elhendawi Other Shawnigan players are in the top ten in their age groups in BC.

Features of the Shawnigan programme include:

  • 6 squash courts
  • Group and one-on-one coaching
  • Ball machine
  • Local, Provincial and International Tournaments
  • Video analysis
  • Internal Ladder – Fitness room – Spinning


  • Mike Johnson, Director of Squash and Head Coach, has many years of coaching top club level and international players, including World Champions Sarah Fitzgerald (a five-time world champion), Rodney Martin and Rodney Eyles. Mike is one of the Head Coaches at Princeton University’s elite summer camps. He also holds Shawnigan Summer Camps which attract players from across North America.
  • Vicky Lust, is a professional player and is ranked in the top 20 on the WISPA tour.
  • Dr. Rob Wilson, played on the Canadian National team as a Junior. A very talented player, he turned down the chance to go professional in favour of pursuing his medical studies.

The E.D.G.E.program[edit]

EDGE stands for: Engagement of mind, body and spirit; Development of individuals; Gratitude that grows from awareness; and Experience, the most powerful teacher. This program began as a re-building trip in the wake of the 2004 tsunami in Thailand. Out of this humanitarian outreach endeavor grew what is known today at Shawnigan as the EDGE Leadership Programme. To date, Shawnigan’s EDGE Leadership Programme has sent twelve teams of student volunteers to Thailand, one to Argentina, one to Laos, three to China, one to South Africa and one to Zimbabwe, to carry out a variety of community service projects.

Notable alumni[edit]

Below is a sampling of some of the School's well-known graduates, keeping in mind that the list is not limited to these individuals.




  • Bob Kerr (d. 2003) – CBC radio Classical music programme presenter of Off the Record for 36 years (retired 1996)[28]



Air force, military and navy[edit]

  • Cornelius Corny Burke (d. 1999)-WWII Royal Canadian Navy officer[31]
  • Thomas Ellis Tommy Ladner (d. 2006) – WWII Royal Canadian Navy officer[31]
  • Rear Admiral Richard H. Leir – Canadian Navy


Scholars and scientists[edit]

Notable staff[edit]

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



  1. ^ "C. W. Lonsdale". Our History. Shawnigan Lake School. Archived from the original on February 13, 2005. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  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. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2004-10-14. Retrieved 2008-07-18. 
  4. ^ a b "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 63rd Annual Regatta. Canadian Secondary Schools Rowing Association. 2008-06-01. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  6. ^ "Race Results". CSSRA 62nd Annual Regatta. Canadian Secondary Schools Rowing Association. 2007-06-03. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  7. ^ "Race Results". CSSRA 61st Annual Regatta. Canadian Secondary Schools Rowing Association. 2006-06-04. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  8. ^ a b c "Race Results". CSSRA 60th Annual Regatta. Canadian Secondary Schools Rowing Association. 2005-06-05. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  9. ^ a b c "Race Results". CSSRA 59th Annual Regatta. Canadian Secondary Schools Rowing Association. 2004-06-06. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  10. ^ "Race Results". CSSRA 58th Annual Regatta. Canadian Secondary Schools Rowing Association. 2003-06-01. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  11. ^ a b "Race Results". CSSRA 57th Annual Regatta. Canadian Secondary Schools Rowing Association. 2002-06-02. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  12. ^ "Race Results". CSSRA 56th Annual Regatta. Canadian Secondary Schools Rowing Association. 2001-06-03. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  13. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-06-12. Retrieved 2009-06-02. 
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-06. Retrieved 2008-04-21. 
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-07-06. Retrieved 2008-04-17. 
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-10-26. Retrieved 2012-09-20. 
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  18. ^ "Shawnigan Lake Shawnigan Lake British Columbia Academic school ranking". Retrieved 2017-03-29. 
  19. ^ [1]
  20. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-09-14. Retrieved 2008-05-23. 
  21. ^ "Canadian Sport School Hockey League (Design, Hosting, Registration & Administration tools by". Retrieved 2017-03-29. 
  22. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2010-06-14. 
  23. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-06-26. Retrieved 2007-06-20. 
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  25. ^ a b c [3] Archived 2008-08-16 at the Wayback Machine.
  26. ^ "Josh Jackson | Rugby Union | Players and Officials". ESPN Scrum. Retrieved 2017-03-29. 
  27. ^ "Google". Retrieved 2017-03-29. 
  28. ^ "Bob Kerr and BC Radio History". Retrieved 2017-03-29. 
  29. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-06-04. Retrieved 2008-06-02. 
  30. ^ "Corner Gas Online :: Who's Who". Retrieved 2017-03-29. 
  31. ^ a b c [4][dead link]
  32. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-06-20. 
  33. ^ [5][dead link]
  34. ^ "Media Coverage". David Orchard. Retrieved 2017-03-29. 
  35. ^ 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. (subscription required)
  36. ^ "Qualicum College". Retrieved 2017-03-29. 
  37. ^ [6]
  38. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-05-26. Retrieved 2008-05-21. 
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  40. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-04-16. Retrieved 2008-05-21. 


  • 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]