A Look at Parksville & Qualicum Beach
Beachcombing, swimming, fishing, boating or just walking on the hard-packed sand: it’s a rare day when residents and visitors alike fail to commune with the salty waters on their front doorstep.
Known as the sandcastle capital of Canada, extravagant scultures of fortresses and mythological creatures are just one of the many attractions that Parksville has to offer. When the tide goes out, the sandy beaches become a vast playground, retreating nearly 500 metres from the shoreline. Though it’s a tough lesson to learn that the returning surf will soon wipe out the castle creations, there is no question that this beach destination lives up to its promise. Visitors continue to return to this city of roughly 12,000 residents for the sand, sunshine and of course the mini golf.
During the summer months, the annual Summer by the Sea Street Market, located on Craig Street, is also a popular Tuesday evening affair. While local crafters, bakers and vendors sell their goods and services, the the streets buzz with activity and the sweet smell of fresh fruit.
Parksville Community Park is a sports haven. The oceanside park attracts slow-pitch teams, soccer and volleyball players, tennis enthusiasts, curling experts, walking and running fanatics, playground seekers, ball hockey jocks and savvy skateboarders.
Collectively known as Oceanside, Parksville and its neighbouring community of Qualicum Beach are active during all four seasons. Golf, hiking and mountain biking are popular activities, especially in the richly diverse flora and fauna of the old growth rainforest. In Parksville, Rathtrevor Provincial Park and the Englishman River Estuary are popular trails for both human visitors and wildlife alike.
With a population of approximately 8,700 residents, Qualicum Beach is a charming community offering an enjoyable and relaxed lifestyle. The local population includes more than its share of artisans, gardeners and active locals and retirees who, like many visitors, were drawn here by the temperate climate, fantastic beach and quaint village atmosphere.
Qualicum Beach is also well known now for its celebration of arts and culture. The Old School House Arts Centre, the artistic focal point for the area, is located in the heart of downtown Qualicum Beach, and has become an integral part of the social and cultural life here. Each summer, the curtain rises for the popular Bard To Broadway theatre.
The picturesque and pedestrian-friendly downtown core is great for boutique shopping, and since Qualicum Beach does not allow for chain stores, you are sure to find something unique. In keeping with the town’s independent ethos, the restaurants here are locally owned and operated. Many take pride in using local sources whenever possible.
Some other surrounding communities, which are also part of the Oceanside region, include Errington, Coombs and Nanoose Bay. With no shortage of tourist attractions, the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre, a Canadian Force’s submarine base, a parrot refuge and a butterfly sanctuary are all within a 15-minute drive away.
Or for a more peaceful escape, simply take five on a park bench overlooking the Pacific Ocean and listen to a local musician making music, and learn first hand why the locals here are so laid back.