Student Life

Shawnigan Lake School has the largest number of full-time boarders of any school in Canada, and boarding life remains the cornerstone of a Shawnigan experience.

While students at a regular school show up for 6-8 hours a day, Shawnigan students are fully immersed, learning and growing 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Living with 50-60 peers teaches compromise and patience. The blend of nationalities teaches tolerance and understanding. The roles assigned to senior students teach teamwork and leadership.

Of course, life at a boarding school can be difficult. Being away from home is a unique challenge that can test young people's independence and resourcefulness.

Fortunately, boarding at Shawnigan includes all the support that our residents may need, from involved, caring staff to modern, well-equipped dorms to some of the best food of any school out there.


List of 3 members.

I am Shawnigan

A new series sharing the hearts and voices of Shawnigan

List of 1 news stories.

  • Mits Nakagawa (Vancouver, BC)

    "His strong commitment to these aspects of school life, coupled with his steady and insightful work in various boarding houses over the years has given Mits a vividly clear picture of how life at Shawnigan actually is … especially for its students and young members of staff."
    Mr. Hyde-Lay toasts Mits Nakagawa, who is leaving Shawnigan to tackle new challenges in the new year.

About Boarding

List of 6 items.

  • Health services

    Shawnigan's Health Centre is staffed by Registered Nurses and school counsellors who work together with local doctors to support students with their day-to-day medical needs. At least one school nurse is on duty or on call at all times, and clinics are held on campus two or three times per week. The Health Centre also arranges all off-campus medical appointments for students and assists with prescriptions and other requirements.
    Note: A nurse is always on call when the Health Centre is closed and can be reached by calling local 208.
  • Student Centre

    Shawnigan’s Friesen Centre (“the Ritz”) is the hub of social activity for the School’s students. Located within the new Learning Commons, the Ritz is a popular place for students to study, socialize, play games and relax.

    The Friesen Centre is the place to come for cookies, tea, coffee, fruit and vegetables. It's also home to school printers, as well as ping pong and pool tables.

    The Ritz is also where, on Tuesday and Friday evenings, the Entrepreneurship 12 class operates the Stag Café — a tremendously-popular restaurant serving paninis, hamburgers, milkshakes and more.
  • School store

    Also located inside the Friesen Centre, the School Store — also known as the Commissary — stocks everything students need for daily life, and then some.

    Open seven days a week during the school year, the Commissary stocks classroom dress, sports gear, toiletries, school supplies and healthy (as well as a few less healthy) snacks.
  • Family-style dining

    In many ways, Marion Hall is the heart of the Shawnigan campus.

    Built in 2002, our 500-seat dining hall features stunning vaulted ceilings and locally-harvested timber. This grand space serves as the perfect setting for another mainstay of the Shawnigan experience — our family-style dining.

    At Shawnigan, most meals are served on the table, and students and staff sit together to enjoy a refined, traditional dining experience.

    Under the guidance of our executive chef, James McClellan, the Shawnigan kitchen staff caters to all special dietary requirements and proudly serves meals that are the envy of school cafeterias everywhere.
  • Chapel

    Chapel plays a major role in the life of Shawnigan Lake School. That statement is bound to make some parents and students nervously ask; is this some sort of religious school?

    The answer to the question is no. And yes.

    One hundred years ago, Shawnigan was founded in the Anglican tradition. We still sing hymns, say prayers and hear parables from the Bible.

    More importantly, however, the Shawnigan Chapel opens conversations about values and character. Under the guidance of the Rev. Jim Holland, chapel services address important topics regarding the search for meaning in the world.

    Shawnigan's chapel also plays a broader role in school life. It's here that we gather as a community to celebrate our successes. It's here that we congregate to share our concerns and discuss the world around us. And it's here where students share their amazing talents — something that makes chapel a treasured part of the Shawnigan experience, for those of any or no faith.
    Chapel services are livestreamed Tuesday and Thursday at 8 a.m. and Saturday at 11:15 a.m. during the academic year.
  • Library

    In the spring of 2016, Shawnigan cut the ribbon on the final phase of the Centennial Capital Project and one of the most exciting developments in the School's history.

    The Jim & Kathryn Shaw Library is a beautiful, modern space that has become the heart of the Learning Commons.

    The library 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.

    Meanwhile, the teaching areas allow staff to tackle a growing educational emphasis on guided enquiry and the ethical use of research and sources.

    The Jim & Kathryn Shaw Library is a study space that students simply love to use.
Shawnigan Lake School is an independent boarding school for Grades 8-12 on Canada's West Coast. Our modern, diverse and innovative programming helps shape the next generation of global leaders.