Peace, quiet and community life reign in this pretty seaside village, a repeat winner in the Canada-wide Communities In Bloom competition. Main streets are lined with restaurants, hanging flower baskets, unique independent retail outlets and friendly townsfolk. A lively cultural scene is based out of The Old School House Arts Centre with its performance space, educational studios and galleries. Seawall walks, beachcombing and rambles through an old-growth forest not far from the town centre are on everyone’s daily to-do list. The songbirds cheerily greet visitors to Milner Gardens, a stately oceanfront property rated as one of Canada’s top public gardens. After an evening meal, enjoy a show at the Village Theatre, home in the fall and winter to the ECHO Players theatre troupe and, during the summer, the Bard to Broadway Theatre Society. For the big-picture perspective, book a tandem skydiving jump with experienced instructors based at the Qualicum Beach Airport.
Qualicum Beach Through the eyes of the travellers
Things to do in Qualicum Beach
- Renowned for its independent shops and restaurants, Qualicum Beach sits on a hillside overlooking the ocean, its pretty streets lined with hanging baskets and offering hours of opportunities to shop, dine and linger with friendly townsfolk.
- Stroll the seaside promenade for views of the Salish Sea, offshore islands and the snowcapped peaks of the mainland’s coastal range. Beachcomb for sand dollars here, or relax on benches and in picnic areas. The Uptown Summer Market draws crowds on Thursday nights in July and August.
- Milner Gardens and Woodland was voted one of the nation’s top-10 public gardens by Canadian Geographic magazine. Wander old-growth forested trails and inhale the sweet aromas in a garden known for more than 400 rhododendron species. Like members of the British royal family in the past, step into the stately 1929 manor home for high tea or to enjoy seasonal special events.
- Local arts are alive and flourishing at The Old School House Arts Centre, a restored downtown landmark offering classes, exhibitions and concerts. The gift shop is packed with remarkable work by fine artists, and three galleries showcase local and BC artists and artisans. The centre hosts such events as the Grand Prix d’Art, the Harvest of Music Festival and the Summer Artisan Market.
- Beautiful horticultural displays in parks, along city streets and in front of businesses explains why Qualicum Beach has consistently won top honours in the national Communities in Bloom competition over the last decade.
- Time travel back as far as 545 million years when examining the Vancouver Island Palaeontology Museum Society’s renowned fossil collection at the Qualicum Beach Museum. Say hello to the boney remains of Rosie the walrus and Thunder the cave bear.
- Learn about the area’s salmon fishery on self-guided tours at the Big Qualicum Fish Hatchery.
- A short stroll from town, the 50-acre Heritage Forest is a hushed and silent remnant of the old-growth forest that once blanketed the Island with Douglas fir, western red cedar, hemlock, grand fir, and Sitka spruce. Naturalists will enjoy the ravine, the salmon-bearing stream and plentiful deer and bird sightings.
- One of the Island’s most scenic golf courses is the century-old Qualicum Beach Memorial Golf Club. Further north along the Oceanside Route, the Riverside Resort has an 18-hole mini-golf course and a waterslide.
- Expect more than 600 expertly restored vintage automobiles at the annual Father’s Day Show ‘n Shine in June, one of the biggest such events in Canada and proudly produced since 1993 by Parksville’s Seaside Cruizers Car Cub.
- Top-notch community theatre is delivered year-round by Qualicum Beach’s ECHO Players in the Village Theatre, which is also home to the Bard to Broadway Theatre Society’s popular summer season.