Shawnigan Lake is a small, mostly rural community nestled in a lovely valley on Vancouver Island, approximately 45 km north of Victoria. Over 7500 residents live in the area year round and the population swells further with summer vacationers.
The local commercial centre is a tiny village with a variety of businesses that can provide for most of the needs of residents and visitors. New development in the area has been steady over the past decade and the population and the amenities continue to grow. Shawnigan is a large unincorporated area with the Cowichan Valley Regional District as its main governing body.
The lake is approximately 8 km long and is surrounded by forested hills. Summer cottages and year round dwellings occupy most of the lakeshore. As well, a number of private lands dot the narrow lake. There are several beautiful waterfront day-use parks around the lake for public access and one park on an island, accessible by water.
Shawnigan Lake has been a popular recreation destination for over a century. In the early days visitors arrived by train. This is still an option. Today, most people arrive by car but floatplane traffic has increased as well. Even though much has changed, people continue to flock to Shawnigan with recreation in mind. Fishing is good as the lake is stocked regularly; the water is warm in the summer and water sports, from swimming to wakeboarding, are very popular; kayaking and canoeing can be enjoyed year round; birds and wildlife are plentiful; great cycling and mountain biking opportunities abound on the trails in the area. The large Shawnigan area offers a diverse backdrop of beauty for the enjoyment of all, whether one seeks a quiet moment with nature or a more active experience.
Shawnigan Lake is a clean, healthy lake that provides water for many of the residents as well as in adjacent areas. We encourage residents and visitors to enjoy the lake responsibly and respectfully so that it will provide recreational opportunities for generations to come.