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Savira Lodge

Savina Lodge, as listed in the 1919 Victoria directory, was located on the south west side of Shawnigan Lake opposite Long Island. This summer resort was only accessible by water. It would appear that the lodge was originally called Savina, not Savira.

The motor launch, Savira, stopped at the village wharf each day to take on supplies and mail. Lodge guests boarded the Savira at the village for their journey south. The Lodge was a popular destination for hunters and anglers.  Although the accommodations were spacious, they were also quite primitive. The Lodge did not have the luxury of electricity or running water but, despite the limitations, Savira became well known for its excellent cuisine.


Mr. Henry Molony, the first proprietor, came to Victoria late in the 19th century and worked in the hotel industry in Victoria. Records indicate that he opened Savira in 1916.  The name, Savira, likely replaced Savina after Molony’s death but, having said that, it was also listed as Sovora Lodge Hotel from 1928-1930. Molony died in 1920 and the 1921 directory listed J. Pauline as proprietor.  Mr. C. Gostling ran the lodge in 1927 and 1928. In 1928, Gostling campaigned for a road on the west side of the lake but the road didn’t materialize until many years later.

Major Piddington, of Victoria, bought Savira Lodge in 1928 as a summer home for his family. No road existed on the West side so the Piddington family travelled to Shawnigan Lake on the E & N rail line and got off the train at Cliffside Station. From the station, they walked to the lake end of Cliffside Road where there was a government wharf. Here, the family kept a rowboat to access their property on the west side. Sometime in the 1940s, the family tried to live year ‘round at the property. One family member said that this was a difficult experience because the “house” was so cold. The building, which was meant to be a summer hotel, was built with little or no insulation and extended over the water on pilings. It was almost impossible to warm up the building in the winter.  The museum has snowshoes, donated by the Piddington family, that were used by Major Piddington to cross the icy lake on many occasions.


Part of the original property still belongs to members of the Piddington family but the Lodge itself was destroyed by fire in 1986. The lodge changed little over the 70 odd years of its existence. The family was heartbroken to lose the lodge and the memorabilia that had been collected over the years and, sadly, Shawnigan Lake was deprived of yet one more of its heritage buildings.

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