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The West Side School

Miss Elsie Miles arrived in Shawnigan Lake in 1933 to be the governess for Dr. Boyd’s three daughters.

Elsie Miles states:

It is hard to believe that my yesterdays are those days that children now ask questions about. What was it like in the old days? It does not seem that long ago to me when I was over on the West Side of the lake. Now there is not even the old school.

I was the one and only teacher there. Most of the children belonged to the Boyd family. In 1933, Dr. Boyd lived at Deer Point and he had three little girls. Mrs. Kinloch, who lived at Gilmerton had a daughter, Mrs. Allen, with six children. The daughter had recently been divorced. Dr. Boyd and Mrs. Allen married and their combined families made it necessary to have a school.

There was the Mason family with Gordon who was just six and the oldest boy Herbert, who was in grade nine. The Hepworth family, there were two that were of school age at that time, and a little boy, Bobby Griffin, who was not quite six years old. That made enough for a school.

But we did not have a school building. Dr. Boyd turned his garage into a classroom. The furnace room was next door and the children entered into the classroom through the wood  shed.  The only blackboard that we had was a strip of black building paper that went along one end of the room.


West Side School opened in January 1934, in the area what is now Ida Road. It offered grades one through nine. Miss Miles was the only teacher to work at the school, but she was resourceful and provided the students with a comprehensive education despite the isolation.

West Side School closed in June 1941 due to declining enrollment. Miss Miles left for a year but fortunately, she returned, in 1942, to teach at and later become the principal of Shawnigan Lake Elementary School until her retirement in 1974.


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