Easter Seals Camp Shawnigan Lake


Shawnigan Lake, BC

Camp is a place to play and discover, build confidence, and see what's possible. So how can you create a space that gives people with disabilities the experience of what camp is all about? It starts with testing the limits of accessible design as we know it today, and exploring how we can foster deep inclusion beyond what's been done before.

hcma is collaborating with Easter Seals BC and Yukon to reimagine Camp Shawnigan: a lakeside summer camp that has provided formative experiences for campers and vital respite to families and caregivers for over 44 years. Now nearing the end of its useful life, we're working with a committee of people with lived experience to design a camp that's even more impactful.

Many perceive accessibility as merely regulations and rules. Camp is all about trying new things and pushing boundaries. As designers, we had to ask: what does accessible design mean in the context of supported exploration and adventure? Meaningful access means providing a real camp experience, with all its excitement, camaraderie, and grit, for everyone to discover. For us, this meant making accessible design standards contextually appropriate, and modifying or adjusting them to provide opportunities for self-discovery and resilience. Eliminating barriers to participation and enabling risky play while still ensuring a safe space.

Initially, the project entails constructing a demonstration cabin to spur awareness and funding for Camp Shawnigan's full transformation. The cabin will manifest best practices in accessible design and allow individuals with disabilities and their families to experience what's possible for an inclusive and accessible camp environment.

Long term, the new Camp Shawnigan will create British Columbia's first year-round, multipurpose camp retreat and respite for people with disabilities, their families, and caregivers. Plans for the eight-hectare property include ten new two-bedroom cabins with kitchenettes, a staff dormitory, and a large community dining hall among other upgrades and modernizations to the lakeside camp. It will serve as a powerful example of true accessibility and inclusion, will achieve Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification (Gold) and SAFERhome Certification (Gold), and promote reduced energy consumption and environmental impact.

Explore the virtual tour here.


8 hectares


$25 million


10 two-bedroom cabins with kitchenettes

Staff dormitory

Community Dining hall with commercial kitchen

Yoga and art studio

Reception building with outdoor pool changing facilities



Accessible floating swimming platform

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