Students gather outside the Marion Hall at Shawnigan Lake School as part of the Alectoria School of Magic last week. (Contributed photo)

School of magic teaches youth to be themselves

Organizers hope to run the camp next summer as well

Dozens of muggles were transported to a world of witchcraft and wizardry right here on Vancouver Island last week.

As part of the inaugural Alectoria School of Magic, 48 students from around Vancouver and the Island – including some from the West Shore – gathered at Shawnigan Lake School to participate in a variety of Harry Potter-themed activities, as well as live action role playing, most commonly known as LARPing.

“It was amazing. I wasn’t expecting it to be as good as it was. All of the kids seemed really enraptured with it, which was the goal,” said 15-year-old event organizer Maddy Kirstein. “It was fantastic to actually have the kids be so encapsulated by the whole magic feel.”

RELATED: Making magic: school for witches and wizards opens this summer

Participants, who were between the ages of 11 to 17 years old, started the three-day overnight camp by being sorted by the Sorting Hat into either the blue, yellow, green or red house, followed by a feast.

Activities were done with the help of roughly 25 volunteers who came from Quebec, Toronto and as far away as the U.K. to play the roles of professors or prefects.

From there, youth attended four classes per day, studying fables, magical creatures, herbology, divination, astronomy, and the history of magic. The classes taught them life skills as well. For example, the potions class included science and alchemy had chemistry, Kirsten added.

They also had to complete quests which included fighting monsters. In one scenario a Whomping Wollowstyle character tasked youth with finding stones that were hidden around the campus.

In another, representatives from each house were tasked with finding the headmistress’s wand, which had been stolen.

In the end, it was the blue house that garnered the most amount of points to win the coveted House Cup.

While participants had the opportunity to feel like they were actually attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Kirstein hopes they take away much more than that.

“They all had the same goal – they weren’t judging anyone else, which was so great because some of it was weird and you had to pretend that stuff was happening. It’s silly and can sometimes feel like you’re the only one, but all of them were doing it and supporting each other,” said the 15-year-old Oak Bay resident.

“One kid felt underappreciated and they all came up and hugged him and said what he was doing was fantastic. I really want them to take away that whoever you are, you don’t have to hide.”

The camp was such a success Kirstein hopes to run it next year as well.

The school is not affiliated with author J.K. Rowling or Warner Bros. For more information visit

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Students at the Alectoria School of Magic pick out their wands during the three-day camp at Shawnigan Lake School last week. (Contributed photo)

Just Posted

Organizers seek input for long-awaited Oaklands community garden

Oswald Park Community Garden Design Workshop coming up on Jan. 19

Six months to Francophone Games, 600 volunteers needed

Online applications open on Jan. 14

Tech consortium invests $25 million into four University of Victoria research projects

Investments come with goal of developing, implement technologies created by Canadians

Mass-timber project in Esquimalt switches from condos to rentals

Corvette Landing will now offer rental units in the area

After cashing in on QB gambles, Chiefs and 49ers to clash in Super Bowl

KC beats Tennessee, San Francisco dispatches Green Bay to reach NFL title game

B.C. VIEWS: Few clouds on Horgan’s horizon

Horgan’s biggest challenge in the remainder of his term will be to keep the economy humming along

B.C. forest industry grasps for hope amid seven-month strike, shutdowns, changes

Some experts say this could be worse for forestry than the 2008 financial crisis

Northern B.C. RCMP investigating alleged sexual assault in downtown Smithers

One person was transported by ambulance to hospital following RCMP investigation at Sedaz

UBC, Iranian-Canadian community create memorial scholarship in honour of victims

The Jan. 8 crash killed 176 people, including 57 Canadians

Disrespectful that Horgan won’t meet during northern B.C. tour: hereditary chief

Na’moks said he was frustrated Horgan didn’t meet with the chiefs

Canucks extend home win streak to 8 with 4-1 triumph over Sharks

Victory lifts Vancouver into top spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

Most Read