Student Life
With the largest number of full-time boarders of any school in Canada, boarding life is the cornerstone of a Shawnigan experience. Beginning in Grade 8, our unique Shawnigan Journey purposefully guides students through a distinct, unparalleled and bold educational experience.
Living away from home presents a unique opportunity for young people to develop strong communication and teamwork skills, self-advocacy, resilience, autonomy and compassion. Boarding at Shawnigan includes all the support that students may need to take this exciting step successfully, from involved and caring staff, to modern, well-equipped dorms and facilities, to an extensive holistic pastoral care program.
A Shawnigan education goes beyond the traditional scope of academics, athletics, and fine arts and extends to preparing our students to live happy, healthy lives. To this end we nurture the growth of a student’s intellectual, emotional, social, physical, artistic, creative and spiritual potential, empowering them to discover the joy of lifelong learning and a healthy, well-balanced lifestyle.
Shawnigan is a living model of our School’s values of curiosity, compassion, community and courage. Each student and staff member has a personal responsibility to integrate these values into their day-to-day life at Shawnigan, bearing in mind our shared purpose to “inspire the best in each to create the best for all.” We aim to empower student initiative and voice, ensure an equitable co-educational experience, and build a tolerant and respectful student community that values and embodies diversity, inclusion, belonging and multiculturalism.
At Shawnigan, we seek to guide our students as community builders, preparing them to thrive and flourish beyond our gates.


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  • Photo of Matthew Clinton-Baker

    Matthew Clinton-Baker 

  • Photo of Katrina Cholack

    Katrina Cholack 

    House Director - Groves', Student Life Coordinator

Advisor Program

The Advisor-Advisee relationship is among the most important relationships at Shawnigan.

From the day students first arrive to the day of their graduation, the Advisor is a key part of a support system designed to maximize every student's potential and resolve any issues that arise.

Advisors support students as they meet the demands of a Shawnigan education. They assist with the decision making process. They communicate regularly with parents and can serve as a valuable first point of contact with the School.

Advisors strengthen the work already being done by House Directors, teachers and coaches, and work to ensure a positive Shawnigan experience for all students.

Campus Life

A Day in the Life
Holi Festival
Lunar New Year


Student Centre and Café

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  • Student Centre and Café

    Shawnigan’s Friesen Centre (known affectionately as “the Ritz”) is the hub of social activity for the School’s students. Located within the Learning Commons, the Ritz is a popular place for students to study, socialize, play games and relax. Traditionally, it has been the place to come for cookies, tea, coffee, fruit and vegetable snacks. 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.
    Added in 2021, Duke’s is a fresh and modern café addition to the space that uses two local coffee suppliers to provide a range of exciting hot and cold drink options including lattes, hot chocolate and matcha.
School Store

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  • 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 six days a week (closed on Sundays) during the school year, the Commissary stocks classroom dress, sports gear, toiletries, school supplies and healthy (as well as a few less healthy) snacks.
Dining Hall

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  • 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, Dustin Setso, the Shawnigan kitchen staff caters to all special dietary requirements and proudly serves meals that are the envy of school cafeterias everywhere.

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  • Chapel

    Chapel is an integral and welcoming part of school life at Shawnigan—indeed, it is at the very heart of our community. The School Chaplain, the Rev. Jim Holland, takes an all-inclusive approach to services that encompass Shawnigan’s values and offer a community-building space where Shawnigan students from all faith and cultural backgrounds can come to reflect, to learn and to share their experiences and talents.

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  • 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.
Learning Commons

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  • Learning Commons

    Centrally located adjacent to the main entrance to the School, Mitchell Hall is a beautifully outfitted space designed specifically for student and School community needs. With a range of comfortable seating and a variety of cozy spaces, Mitchell Hall provides a focal point for the main building, with easy same-building access to Duke’s Café, the library, and the Learning Centre. The hall also features a big screen for special viewings, a fireplace and a grand piano.
We acknowledge with respect the Coast Salish Peoples on whose traditional lands and waterways we live, learn and play. We are grateful for the opportunity to share in this beautiful region, and we aspire to healthy and respectful relationships with those who have lived on and cared for these lands for millennia.