For a number of years, in the 1930's, the former Strathcona Hotel in Shawnigan Lake was the venue for Le Camp Français. The 1939 brochure included the following: "Le Camp was organized by a group of professors of French interested in providing a milieu in the Northwest where anyone having a native or cultural or professional love of French language and civilization might come to spend a delightful and profitable vacation." The camp had a faculty of six, plus several other lecturers and guests, and provided classes from 9-12 in the morning, sports (including tennis, archery, fencing, boating and swimming), hikes or causeries in the afternoon and, in the evening, fireside programs of all sorts including weiner roasts on the beach which always ended with singing. Excursions on Vancouver Island were also offered, including trips to Butchart's Gardens, Victoria, the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory and more. E. Bosley, of Cornwall, recently donated photos and information about these camps from his mother's files. Alyce (or Alice, depending) Hoche, a friend of his mother, was a remarkable Swiss woman (1889-1980) who traveled the world teaching French, and was one of the instigators for these camps. Photo: 1939. This gift highlights the value of donations of archival material and artifacts to the museum, as they help us tell the incredible untold stories of our beloved Shawnigan Lake.
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