Qualicum Beach Community Information

Qualicum Beach had a total population of about 8,500 as of the 2015 census. The Town has the oldest average population in Canada with 47% over the age of 65. Let's not overlook that this also means that 53% are under the age of 65!

Photo of Welcome To Qualicum BeachWelcome To Qualicum Beach! The large sign points the way to the Village Centre and the waterfront.

Located on the Strait of Georgia on the eastern coast of Vancouver Island in the rainshadow of Mount Arrowsmith, the community has been a popular tourist destination for residents of Victoria and Vancouver as well as a retirement community. It is served by the Island Highway (the main North-South highway on the Island) and a local airport with daily connections to Vancouver. The ferry connection from Nanaimo to Vancouver is about 30 minutes away.

Our communities are often characterized as being "quirky and unique". The Town is a destination retirement community with an impressive array of talented individuals who call Qualicum Beach home. If you are concerned about making new friends, don’t worry – just join our local Newcomers Club, after purchasing Qualicum Beach real estate. They have ongoing monthly gatherings enthusiastically appreciated by all.

Climate

The Qualicum Beach area has cool wet winters with 80 to 85% of the precipitation falling between October and April. The average annual precipitation is only about 38 inches. Mean daily temperature range from 1 to 3°C (34 to 37°F) in January with cloud and rain from north Pacific air masses dominating the winter weather. This coastal region enjoys a significant climatic benefit from being in close proximirty to nearby Vancouver Island Mountains. As the strongest winds come in from the southwest, this region lies in the rainshadow of nearby Mt Arrowsmith and Mt Moriarty. Clouds heading in off the Pacific drop their moisture over Tofino, Ucluelet and Pt Alberni (ie. about 250 inches) , thereby giving this local microclimate a significantly drier result than both Nanaimo (ie. about 50 inches) to the south and Courtenay/Comox (ie. about 55 inches) to the north. In a normal winter, the strongest winds and perhaps some snow may come in December. Usually by the end of January the crocuses and snowdrops are blooming with Spring heralded in the later parts of February with daffodils.

The area is amenable for almost year-round gardening and golf. Environment Canada rates southeastern Vancouver Island as having the most favourable climate in all of Canada, on the basis of mild winters, abundant sunshine, little fog, light winds and low humidity. Truly a golfer, gardener or sailor's paradise!

History

Qualicum Beach, an attractive seaside town on the east coast of Vancouver Island, began as a lumbering, summer resort and retirement area. The name "Qualicum" comes from a Coast Salish term that means "where the dog salmon run."

In May 1856 Hudson's Bay Company explorer Adam Grant Horne with a group of aboriginal guides, found a land route across Vancouver Island from the Qualicum River to the Alberni Inlet. He also discovered the Haida massacre of local Salish natives. Horne Lake is named after him. In 1864, the botanist and explorer, Dr. Robert Brown lead a group which explored the area. A road was brought to Parksville in 1886 and extended to Qualicum in 1894. The E and N Railway reached Parksville in 1910 and Qualicum in 1914. H.E. Beasley, a railway official, sponsored the creation of The Merchants Trust and Trading Company which organized the original layout of the town and built the golf links and a hotel in 1913. A private boys' residential school, the Qualicum College was established in 1935 by Robert Ivan Knight. The school grew through the 1960s but attendance diminished and it closed in 1970. The structure exists today, and though operated as a hotel for many years, is currently under re-development for condominiums. It's playing fields have been turned into a housing subdivision. Doukhobor settlers established a communal colony in the adjoining Hilliers farming district from 1946 to 1952.

Qualicum Beach was officially incorporated as a Village on May 5, 1942 and was changed to Town status on January 7, 1983.

Photo of Town Hall And LibraryA decorative marble water fountain graces the front of the Qualicum Beach Town Hall and Library.
Photo of Old School House Arts CentreThe Qualicum Beach Old School House Arts Center celebrated its 100th Anniversary in 2012.

TOSH - The Old School House

TOSH offers a terrific venue for our vibrant local arts community. Here you will find live jazz on Sunday afternoons, artists in residence and an art gallery for local artists to display their works. The gift shop specializes in unique offerings from regional artisans.
The Village center has guidelines for new construction which have resulted in an attractive European style. There is live theatre year round nearby and a variety of enjoyable venues offered in Summer, including a Farmer’s Market.
Photo of Historic Train StationThe Qualicum Beach Historic Train Station.

Transportation

Scenic Highway 19A, known as the Oceanside route or the Old Island Highway, runs the length of the town along the shore line of the Strait of Georgia. The quicker 4 lane inland Island Highway 19 connects with 19A just south of Parksville and extends to Campbell River. Qualicum Beach also connects to Highway 4 which runs through Cathedral Grove to Port Alberni and on to Tofino, Ucluelet, Bamfield and the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve on the West Coast of the Island. KD Air and Orca Air both offer daily service to Vancouver and other locations from the Qualicum Beach Airport. The town has no marina or harbour but does offer a launching area for trailered boats. There are 4 marinas in the adjacent nearby communities. The E&N Railway line exends from Victoria through the local region and on to Courtenay. This service has not seen trains since 2010. There is interest in modifying the railway line to support a tourism-friendly walking/hiking/cycling trail instead. Stay tuned!

Photo of Hand Cart From Another TimeA hand cart from another era sits outside the Qualicum Beach Historic Train Station.
Photo of Picturesque Gardens Throughout TownOne of the many picturesque Qualicum Beach gardens throughout town. The Historic Train Station can be seen in the background.
The boulevard entrance to the Village Centre of the Town of Qualicum Beach.
Photo of Well Cared For Village CentreQualicum Beach features a very well-cared for Village centre.

Qualicum Beach Farmer's Market

Photo of Farmer’s Market On Saturday MorningQualicum Beach Farmer’s Market held on Saturday mornings.

Here you can find local produce, crafts, music and a highly enjoyable way to start your weekend!

Photo of Shop LocallyFresh produce on display at the Qualicum Beach Farmer's Market.
Photo of Buy LocallyA loaf of Asiago Cheddar French Bread sits at one of the kiosks.
Photo of Artisans And Musicians At Farmer’s MarketMusicians are often a part of the Market and provide a lively atmosphere for visitors.
Photo of Qualicum Beach Village Centre Sidewalk And ShopsQualicum Beach Village Centre sidewalk and shops offering a variety of specialty items. Current plans are to further densify the Village centre and to make it even more pedestrian friendly.
Photo of Qualicum Beach Bloomin’Flowers are blooming in downtown Qualicum Beach. Our Town has repeatedly won the National Communities in Bloom competition in the small town category and it's easy to see why!
Photo of Qualicum Beach Walking Friendly PathwaysQualicum Beach features many walking-friendly pathways with trails connecting the Village Centre to the Town and adjacent Parksville.
Photo of Qualicum Beach Sidewalk And ShopsCome downtown to meet your friends for coffee or a meal and to browse the shops!
Photo of Qualicum Beach Downtown BeautyEnjoy our small town atmosphere where you can get to know the shopkeepers and meet your neighbours.

Neighbourhoods

In Qualicum Beach you can find single family and condominium real estate with walk-on waterfront, ocean views, homes close to walking trails, the downtown Village Centre and even acreages for your horses.

Photo of Qualicum Beach Waterfront Garden BlissQualicum Beach walk-on waterfront garden bliss.
Photo of Eaglecrest Beach Below The BluffsPublic access bench on Eaglecrest Beach.
Photo of The Bluffs At SunsetThe last rays of sunshine highlight a wooden fence overlooking Eaglecrest Beach.
Photo of The Bluffs EntranceThe entrance way to The Bluffs neighbourhood overlooking Eagelcrest Beach.
Photo of Eaglecrest Winter Heather In BloomWinter Heather In bloom set against the Eaglecrest neighbourhood sign.
Photo of Eaglecrest Cherry BlossomsEaglecrest Cherry blossoms provide a dramatic display of colour.

Interesting Restaurants

A restaurant bylaw requires food to be prepared on-site and delivered to the table, so you won’t see the much-loved golden arches here! Instead, you will find local entrepreneurs and unique family-run businesses offering pretty much everything you could need.

Photo of Bistro 694Bistro fine dining in Qualicum Beach.
Photo of Fish TalesThe carved Killer Whale adorns the front entrance to the Fish Tales Cafe in Qualicum Beach.
Photo of Fish Tales Summer Seating In The GardensFish Tales restaurant has plenty of relaxing outdoor summer seating in its gardens.

Ravensong Swimming Pool

This beautiful large indoor pool provides a stimulating setting for your morning laps, aerobics or swimming lessons for all ages. Also, excellent downhill and cross-county skiing is only 50 minutes away at Mount Washington.

Photo of Ravensong Aquatic CentreThe front entrance to the Ravensong Aquatic Centre.
Photo of Ravensong PoolInside the Ravensong Aquatic Centre a large mural of ocean scenery out on the far wall is sure to impress.
Photo of Ravensong Pool 2Come enjoy the Ravensong Pool!
Photo of Entrance To Ravensong PoolA traditional cedar dugout canoe adjacent to the entrance to Ravensong Pool.

Local Golf

Here we have six golf courses in the region providing various levels of difficulty and superb scenery.
Photo of Golf By The Sea In JanuaryJanuary golfing by the sea in Qualicum Beach.
Photo of Memorial Golf CourseGolfers out enjoying the early October weather at the Qualicum Beach Memorial Golf Course.
Photo of Memorial Golf Course In OctoberA look down the fairway of the Qualicum Beach Memorial Golf Course on a gorgeous October afternoon.

Heritage Forest

There are a variety of cherished green spaces and walking trails in Qualicum Beach. The most notable of which is the 50 acre Heritage Forest with its pockets of impressive 400-year-old Douglas fir trees. This area was saved from residential development by a small group of dedicated volunteers who raised $1.3M from 1996 - 2004. The Town also contributed and these Lands were purchased for under $2M. Today the Heritage Forest provides easy-walking mulch trails with interpretive signage. It is intended as an ecological reserve for the public to appreciate and enjoy wildlife and nature, in perpetuity.

Photo of Welcome To The Heritage ForestWelcome to The Heritage Forest Crescent East Road entrance. 
Photo of Impressive Old Growth Douglas firs About 400 Years OldRemnant pockets of Old Growth forest remain standing along Beach Creek with the rest of the forest having been logged in about the 1880's. These impressive Old Growth Douglas firs are about 400 years old.
Photo of Easy Walking On Mulch TrailsEnjoy easy walking on the bark-mulch trails of the Heritage Forest.
Photo of Logging History Interpretive SignageInterpretive signage has been strategically placed throughout the Forest as public education is a part of our mandate.
Photo of Ecology Info Interpretive SignageThis interpretive sign states: "Stilted Roots – Western Hemlock seedlings often grow off a decaying log or stump. The ‘nurse’ log or stump provides nutrients, but eventually breaks down completely, leaving an elevated or stilted root form."
Photo of Old Growth Douglas Fir Trails
Most times of the day, you’ll find people out enjoying the great walking trails of the Heritage Forest.
Photo of Relax And Appreciate NatureA bench in the Heritage Forest invites one to stop awhile, relax and appreciate nature.
Photo of Indian PipeSaprophytic Indian Pipe sprouts from the forest floor in the Heritage Forest.
Photo of DogwoodDogwood flowers.
Photo of Early Morning LightEarly morning light illuminates the Forest.
Photo of Lush Green ForestLush green Coastal Douglas fir forest floor demonstrates rainforest characteristics.
Tom Whitfield and a Huge TreeOld Growth Coastal Douglas fir trees like this one in the Heritage Forest are about 400 years old.
Photo of About 800 Year Old Douglas Fir Tree Is Oldest In The ForestThe oldest tree in the Forest is approximately 800 years old.
Photo of Anne Klees Is The Lady Who Started The ‘Save The Forest’ fund raising CampaignAnne Klees of Qualicum Beach is the woman who started the successful ‘Save The Forest’ fundraising campaign in 1996.
Photo of Signing The Conservation Covenant July 15, 2008 To Preserve The Heritage Forest In Perpetuity.The official signing of the Conservation Covenant, on July 15, 2008, to preserve the Heritage Forest in perpetuity.

This is an ecological gem situated in the middle of our small Town. Volunteering as an elected Commissioner on the Heritage Forest Commission as well as serving as President of the Brown Property Preservation Society has been most gratifying to Tom. It’s been an opportunity to serve the community plus put his forest ecology background to good use.

Beaches

Qualicum Beach has its own spectacular white sand beach with miles of beachcombing opportunities and a stunning white-capped Mount Arrowsmith as a backdrop.

Photo of Qualicum Beach In JanuaryA gorgeous January day, looking out over the Strait of Georgia at Qualicum Beach.
Photo of Eaglecrest Beach At Low TideEaglecrest Beach at low tide.

Local Tip

You might not know that there are 4 tides each day. Two lows and two highs. The really low tides in summer are in the afternoon which is great for summer beach fun. In winter, the really low tides are in the wee hours of the early morning. So you won’t see the expansive white sands at their best if visiting here in the winter season while looking for real estate. However, in summer, ocean swimming is best done about an hour or so after the tide has reached its daily lowest level and is on the rise. The incoming water gets heated as it cascades over the hot sands making this this best time to enjoy a swim.

Photo of Eaglecrest Beach At Low TideWalk-on waterfront homes in the neighbourhood of Eaglecrest Beach.
Photo of View Across From Qualicum BeachThe view across the Strait of Georgia to Lasqueti and Valdez islands with the Coast Mountains in the distance.

Brant Festival

Qualicum Beach hosts an annual Brant Wildlife Festival from March to April. This is a celebration of Nature in general, but more specifically the annual migration of Brant geese. These stocky birds stop here to fatten up on herring roe spawn. They come Baja, Mexico and continue on their flight to Alaskan summer breeding grounds.

Photo of Brant Festival In Qualicum BeachA sign inviting folks to the events in March and April of the annual Brant Wildlife Festival In Qualicum Beach.
Photo of Herring Fishing Off Qualicum BeachBoats engaged in the annual herring fishery near Qualicum Beach.
Photo of Qualicum GullsSeagull feeding frenzy on stray herring roe.
Photo of On The LookoutBald eagles on the well-known 'Eagle Tree' situated along the Qualicum Beach waterfront.

Local Rivers

Photo of Fall Salmon Spawning On Little Qualicum RiverFall salmon spawning on the Little Qualicum River.
Photo of Hopeful Fly FishermanA hopeful fly fisherman tries his skills on the Little Qualicum River.

Qualicum Beach Day

In 2012, we began a Qualicum Beach Day celebration. What’s needed is about 4 hours of very low tide to provide an expansive sand beach in the early afternoon on a Saturday or Sunday. Beach Day has become a successful annual event and continues to be the celebration and appreciation of our beach and the near shore of our community. Tom is pleased to have been a part of that inaugural organizing committee and continues to play a lead role in organizing Beach Day. Beach day is oriented to families, with two dozien organizations and over 100 volunteers offering a range of activities and displays. Events range from beach seining with a biologist to fossil rubbing with a paleontologist, face-painting, ocean 'touch' pool, skim boarding, fashion show, local music, food, and much, much more! The event is strongly supported by the Town of Qualicum beach and by the local business community, as well as by a number of local volunteer organizations. Beach Day continues to combine an opportnity to enjoy the beach, as well as informing children and adults alike of its significant environmental aspects.

Photo of First Time For Beach Day Event In Qualicum BeachThe inaugural Beach Day Event was held on July 21st, 2012 in Qualicum Beach.
Photo of Qualicum First Nation Beach BlessingThe initial Qualicum First Nation Beach Blessing.
Photo of Let’s GoLet the games begin!
Photo of Balloon FunBalloon fun!
Photo of Bubble FunBubble fun!
Photo of Vancouver Island University DisplayVancouver Island University engages Beach Day visitors with a display of its programs.
Photo of  VIU Touch PoolVancouver Island University ocean critter 'touch' pool.
Photo of Museum DisplayThe Qualicum Beach Historical & Museum Society display.
Photo of Paleontologist With FossilsPaleontologist - Graham Beard - explains fossils to Beach Day visitors.
Photo of Body PaintingSome colourful body painting!
Photo of Vintage Fashion ShowA Vintage Fashion Show.
Photo of Vintage Fashion Show Coming UpComing up...the Vintage Fashion Show.
Photo of Shop LocallyThe Qualicum Beach Downtown Business Association display.
Photo of CloggersRainbow Stew Cloggers dancing along the waterfront.
Photo of YipeeTwo girls enjoying Qualicum Beach – one doing a rather good handstand.
Photo of Hula FunHula-hoop skills.
Photo of Let’s Have FunBalloon lady.
Photo of Boom Boom Bikini Fashion ShowThe Boom Boom Bikini Fashion Show.
Photo of Gerry Barnum And BandGerry Barnum and Band performing live.
Photo of Jake West The Fire GuyJake West the Fire Guy performs.
Photo of Remax 1St Disc GolfRE/MAX First Realty disc golf.
Photo of Tom Mr Beach DayTom Whitfield is proud to help organize our Qualicum Beach Day. Here he’s about to play disc golf on the beach.
Photo of Skim BoardingSkim boarding fun.
Photo of Beach SeiningBeach seining for critters.
Photo of What Did We Find In NetWhat did we find in the net?
Photo of Fran And KidsFran and kids identifying beach critters.
Photo of Remax 1St Disc Golf BoothThe RE/MAX First Realty disc golf booth.
Photo of Seal Out Of SandA seal being sculptured.
Photo of Seal CompletedHaving good beach summer fun.
Photo of Sand FacesInteresting sand sculptures.
Photo of Low Tide Beach Day EventA panoramic view of Qualicum Beach at low tide. Note the 'Eagle Tree' on the far right.
Photo of Electric Shuttle CarsElectric shuttle cars getting juiced up.
Photo of Beach Day 2012Original organizers of Qualicum Beach Day.
Photo of Bald Eagle Tree PerchTwo Bald eagles perched on the 'Eagle Tree' along the Qualicum Beach waterfront.

Show and Shine

Even Oprah suggests that our Classic Car show is one of the best activities to do on Father’s Day.

Photo of Gary’s Beloved CarGary’s beloved car leading the procession at Qualicum Beach.
Photo of Antique Cars Abound In The Qualicum AreaAntique cars abound In the Qualicum area.

Qualicum Beach Airport

Our own Qualicum Beach Airport offers daily flights to Vancouver International Airport starting at 7:00 am. The 25 minute flight takes you to Terminal 2 where you board a shuttle to Terminal 1. There you can make your international connections and catch your 9:30 am flight.

Photo of Daily Connections To Vancouver From Qualicum Beach AirportPlanes prepare for the daily connections to Vancouver from the Qualicum Beach Airport - both KD Air and Orca Air.

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