Shawnigan Lake

Shawnigan Lake is a year-round destination for its calm climate, warm water, and broad variety of outdoor activities and adventures.

Situated half way between Victoria and Nanaimo on southern Vancouver Island, BC, Shawnigan Lake is a village with a population of roughly 8000 people and is part of the Cowichan Valley Regional District.

A popular recreational destination, Shawnigan Lake offers a broad range of year-round outdoor activities and sports, an inviting both locals and visiting residents with property to its expansive crystal clear lake; one of the few lakes on Vancouver Island that remains warm most of the year. Sitting roughly seven kilometres long and 1.5 kilometres wide, the lake is expansive, offering incredible nature and water views.

Shawnigan Lake is home to three main schools. Prestigious Shawnigan Lake schools is the largest boarding school in Canada. Dwight International School and Discovery Elementary School are also situated right around the lake.

Area History

Shawnigan Lake is rich in history. Settlement to the area took off after construction of the E and N Railway line between Esquimalt in Victoria and Nanaimo completed in the late 1800’s. In 1890 a mill was started, forming the area’s main industry. In the early 1990’s tourism to the area began popular paving the way for the areas first two hotels; establishing the second main industry for the area.

In the mid 1900’s the forestry industry saw rapid decline after shifts in the economy and loss of the mill due to a fire. Remains of the mill are still visible today at Shawnigan’s aptly-named Old Mill Park. The area’s main railway was decommissioned by Via Rail Canada in 2011. Today, there are a variety of ways of getting to Shawnigan Lake.