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Shawnigan Lake

Shawnigan Lake is a small community built around an 8 kilometer long lake of the same name. The surrounding area is forested and the lakeshore is populated with summer cottages and year round houses. It is a favoured getaway area by many residents of Victoria because of the short drive, and it’s increasingly becoming a bedroom community because of the lower housing costs.

Population 14,040


Shawnigan Lake is located 45 kilometers north of Victoria and 5 kilometers west of Mill Bay. Most people reach the area by car but it is also accessible by rail or float plane.


Shawnigan Lake is served by School District 79 which provides learning opportunities for students K-12. Additionally, Shawnigan Lake School, a world-renowned private school, is located on the north shore of the lake.Dwight International School is also located in Shawnigan Lake & Brentwood College is just a few minutes away in Mill Bay.


A popular destination for boating, fishing, swimming, picnicking and camping, Shawnigan Lake’s population nearly doubles in the summer months. Canoeing, kayaking, golf, hiking and cycling along the Trans Canada Trail Regional Park are all popular activities in the area. The CVRD maintains 14 parks in the Shawnigan Lake area.


As a bedroom community to Victoria, many residents enjoy lower housing costs in Shawnigan Lake. Several new residential developments have been built in the area and many residents commute to Greater Victoria each day. The local commercial centre is very small but has a variety of businesses that provide for most of the needs of residents and visitors. As the population of Shawnigan Lake grows, so do amenities.

Events and Activities

  • Numerous shoreline marshes, an island park and intriguing old lakeside cabins make Shawnigan Lake an excellent spot for kayaks and canoes.
  • Spanning the Koksilah River Valley, the recently re-opened Kinsol Trestle is one of the largest and highest wooden trestle bridges in the world.
  • The last spike on the E&N Railway was driven at Cliffside, on the east side of Shawnigan Lake.
  • The Shawnigan-Kinsol Half Marathon takes place at the end of October and the route includes the Trans Canada Trail, Shawnigan Lake and the Kinsol Trestle.
  • The Subaru Shawnigan Lake Triathlon takes place in May and participants may compete in the Olympic or Half-Iron Man length.