(Although many Grade 8 first season characters have birthdays in 1974, since Emma Nelson, daughter of Spike, was born in June 1989, and since Grade 8's start at the age of 12 or 13 and finish at 13 or 14, 1974 birthdays should be retconned as 1975.)
Original Degrassi: Seasons 1–4
Shane was hesitant toward revealing his impending fatherhood to his conservative parents, Steven (an Anglican minister) and Mary. The McKays had previously expressed a wish to send Shane to private school, as his older brother Carl had done, and Shane worried that revealing that he had gotten Spike pregnant would seal their decision to send him away. He finally came clean to them about the situation, and the McKays were terribly embarrassed over the situation and wanted him to have nothing to do with the baby, believing it would be put up for adoption as soon as it's born.
Just as Shane had feared, they again intended for him to transfer to a private school, however, Shane refused and insisted on being there for Spike when the baby was born.
Spike gave birth to their daughter, Emma, over the summer while Shane was away at camp.
Upon the start of the new school year, Shane repeatedly pleaded to Spike to see the baby, but was rebuffed. He eventually proved to Spike that he did want to share the responsibility for Emma when he began paying her child support each week (one half of his allowance), but she still did not allow him to see the baby.
At Christmas time, Spike's baby-sitter dropped baby Emma off with Spike at school, having had to leave due to a personal emergency. Spike allowed everyone in the cafeteria to hold Emma before reluctantly letting Shane to hold his daughter for the first time.
A few months later, Shane debated whether to use his allowance to pay Spike his monthly child support as planned or to buy tickets to the Gourmet Scum rock concert that many of his classmates were attending.
In the end, he decided to use the money for the concert tickets and told Spike that he simply didn't have any money that month. Spike soon discovered his lie and yelled at him for his selfishness.
At the concert, Shane's friend Luke got LSD for them to take, and Shane decided to try the hallucinogenic drug. He failed to return home that night.
The police found a badly injured Shane the following day underneath a bridge due to the intake of LSD at the concert. He either fell off a bridge, or jumped off. Nobody knows for sure. Shane remained comatose at the hospital for several weeks before regaining consciousness near the end of the school year. He returned to Degrassi briefly to attend the end-of-the-year dance, albeit using a walker and being assisted by Luke.
Shane paid a visit to Spike the following year, while she and the rest of his former classmates were attending Degrassi High. It is evident that his accident had left him developmentally disabled and we learn that after going to rehab he was now attending school for special needs kids.
Shane invited Spike to go to a movie with him; Spike, though sympathetic toward his situation, declined. He was furious and called Spike names loudly until she offered to still be his friend. This settled him and Spike leaves for class.
Shane's father, Reverend Steven McKay, an Anglican minister, was played by Peter Brierley, and his mother Mary was played by Jane Carnwath.
Degrassi: The Next Generation
Shane's daughter, Emma Nelson, had grown up never knowing who he was or what had happened for him to have never been around. Now 14 and with her mother expecting a new baby any day now, Emma became even more curious about the father she had never known, and was determined to find him. Spike proved to be little help, as she refused to discuss Shane and forbade Emma to look for him. Emma ignored her mother's wishes and searched the Internet for listings for Shane McKay, and with the help of her friend Craig Manning, she skipped school to track him down.
After a series of missteps, Emma and Craig finally found Shane at an assisted living residence, in which his parents had placed him some time ago. Shane initially does not believe Emma is his daughter, still thinking that Emma is a toddler as in the picture he keeps by his bedside, but he realizes that she is in fact his child and the two tearfully embrace. Shocked to learn about her father's brain-damaged state, Emma returned home and angrily confronted Spike for hiding this from her all these years. However, Snake later explained Spike's side of the situation—she had taken Emma to visit Shane at the home when she was three years old, but he had become agitated and began a tantrum. (These events possibly happened in between Degrassi High Season 5 and School's Out!) Spike was worried that Shane might inadvertently hurt Emma. Though she was still angry at her mother for lying to her, she began to understand that Spike was only trying to protect her.
Shane unexpectedly arrived at the Nelson-Simpson house while Spike was home alone, and became upset to discover that he was not a part of her new life and family. He threw a tantrum that sent Spike into labor. Emma arrived home to discover Shane trashing the house, and she calmed Shane with an ultimatum ("She's my mom, and if you hurt her, I will never speak to you again") and his knitting—which she had seen earlier at his home calmed him after his outbursts. Emma's half-brother, Jack, was born happy and healthy, and Emma shared a moment with her father before the nursing home arrived to pick him up. Shane was pleased to have a new picture of Emma (one Craig had taken in his hospital room the day before), and bid his daughter goodbye. Although this was Shane McKay's last appearance in the Degrassi franchise, it is implied that he and Emma still keep in touch somehow.
KnittingIn "Father Figure (2)" (season 3), when Emma meets Shane, he is given knitting to calm himself when she has to leave. When Emma comes back from Stouffville, Spike is seen knitting, also to calm herself. At the end of season 5, Emma states that after fighting anorexia, she likes to knit because it calms her down. She mentions the same thing to Sean at the beginning of season 6.
- (To Spike): "You dumb jerk. You should get kicked in the head!" - It Creeps!!
- (To Emma): "Don't be sad, it's okay. Your daddy's here now. Daddy's here." - Father Figure (2)
- (To Spike): "You can't kill a baby."
- Shane is the first character to wind up in a coma. The second was Terri MacGregor, the third was Adam Torres, and the fourth was Tristan Milligan.
- Shane is the first character in Degrassi history to become both mentally and physically disabled.
- Shane was the third character in the franchise to be portrayed by different actors. The first was his daughter, the second was Mr. Accette and the fourth was Mrs. Matlin.
- Shane was the first teen father in the Degrassi franchise.
- Shane is the first guy to get a girl pregnant in Degrassi history, the others being: Erica and Jason (child aborted), Joey and Tessa (child aborted), Craig and Manny (child aborted), J.T. and Liberty (child given up for adoption), Lucas Valieri and Mia (child kept), K.C. and Jenna (child given up for adoption), Dallas and Vanessa (child kept), Eli and Clare (child miscarried), Miles and Lola (child aborted), and Jonah and an unnamed girl (child kept).
- Shane was the first character to have a father who is a reverend. The other two being Luke and Becky.
- Shane and Luke were the first characters to do drugs on-screen.
- As seen on the show, both of his parents appeared to be senior citizens. So therefore, he may have be an unplanned for, or a surprise child making him much younger than both of his brothers.
- Main article: Shane-Christine Relationship
- Christine Nelson
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