The term 'Qualicum' is derived from the word 'Quallchum', a Coast Salish term meaning 'where the dog salmon run'. Qualicum Beach was officially incorporated as a village on May 5th, 1942, and received town status on January 7th, 1983. It is a popular retirement and golfing community and growing as a tourist destination.
The Qualicum Beach and Parksville area has been called Canada's best family-friendly beach destination by Better Homes & Gardens but locally the area is referred to as Oceanside.
Qualicum Beach is located on the east coast of Vancouver Island in the shadow of Mount Arrowsmith. It is 12 km (8 mi) north of Parksville on the Island Highway, Highway 19.
The Museum displays one of the most complete collections of Vancouver Island fossils and invites you to take an educational and enjoyable journey into the prehistoric past. Included in Graham Beard's acclaimed collection are many spectacular fossil forms that lived in this area during the Mesozoic times. Although the collection is primarily concerned with the fossils of the island, there are also some fantastic fossils from other parts of British Columbia and the world. Recently acquired is an example of a Coelacanth (a fish that scientists thought was extinct for 130 million years!).
The Museum of Power has a growing collection of artifacts. You can test your own power on the Power Cycle and turn on the light! Other collections highlight family histories, woodworking and blacksmithing tools, rooms depicting early Qualicum pioneer home life, and storyboards recording early settlement history. Learn about early Georgia Strait shipwrecks and examine antique golf paraphernalia .
Full of Victorian charm, this 80-year old schoolhouse serves as Qualicum Beach's centre of arts, showcasing painting, sculptures, carvings, pottery, and music year-round. There are hands-on workshops, studio tours of artists-in-residence, and a well-stocked gift shop.
Milner Gardens & Woodland is a seaside garden set in a natural coastal Douglas-fir woodland in Qualicum Beach. Visited by Queen Elizabeth, Prince Phillip, Prince Charles and Princess Diana, the 60 acres of woodland, ten acres of garden surrounding a heritage house was the dream of one woman, Veronica Milner. Veronica gathered plants from the temperate zones of the world, including a significant collection of Rhododendrons. It was her vision that created this incredible combination of garden and old growth forest.
This natural habitat for such marsh birds as red-winged blackbirds, jays, and swallows, is particularly active in spring and fall with migrations of ducks and geese. Woodland trails from the small parking lot lead you to and around the marsh, with a viewing platform for closer observation of marsh inhabitants. Hamilton Marsh is located approximately 10 minutes drive west of Qualicum Beach.
Stroll among hundreds of free-flying exotic butterflies and visit the Bird Aviary and Water Gardens. Butterflies from five continents compete with orchids, passion flowers and jasmine for your senses, armed with fragrant aromas and flashes of colour. In the two large outdoor ponds you can witness the Japanese Koi fish at feeding times as they boil to the surface. This tropical paradise is conveniently located in the community of Coombs on the Alberni Highway, only minutes from Qualicum Beach.
Cathedral Grove, located in MacMillan Provincial Park, 25 km (15 mi) west of Qualicum Beach, is one of the most accessible stands of giant Douglas fir trees on Vancouver Island. Here visitors can stroll through a network of trails under the shadow of towering ancient Douglas-fir trees, majestic pillars untouched by the modern world - some more than 800 years old. Trails on either side of the highway lead visitors through the mighty stands of this coastal forest. On the south side you will find the largest Douglas firs - one measuring more than 9 m (30 ft) in circumference. On the northern side of the road you'll find groves of ancient Western red cedar standing sentry over nearby Cameron Lake.
Enjoy spectacular views at Arrowsmith Golf and Country Club as you play this well-groomed 18-hole Par 61 executive course located north of Qualicum Beach. Eaglecrest Golf Course is at the south end of Qualicum Beach and is a challenging 18-hole course known for its exceptional greens and ocean and mountain views. Glengarry Golf Links is a short distance from the town center. The front nine holes are open links style, followed by a back nine set in natural woodlands. Morningstar Golf Course, located between Qualicum Beach and Parksville is a championship course and host to the Canadian Tour Spring qualifying school. Qualicum Beach Memorial Golf Course offers nine holes of ocean views and scenic fairways. It is the area's oldest golf course, founded in 1916. Pheasant Glen Golf Course is an 18-hole course set in spectacular surroundings and measuring over 6,900 yards from its championship tees.
The area offers many opportunities to explore the backcountry of Vancouver Island on horseback. Outfitters in the area offer instruction as well as short trail rides and overnight excursions. From alpine meadows to wooded trails, horseback riding will give you a unique perspective of this beautiful region.
Teeming with halibut, cod and salmon, the Strait of Georgia is a haven for salt water anglers, while trout fishing is popular at several nearby lakes and rivers. Fishing charters are available in the area.
The Big Qualicum Fish Hatchery is a Federal Fisheries project for the enhancement of salmon stocks and has provided a model for similar developments. In addition to the research benefits, it also provides an important source of fish for the native food-fish program and countless hours of enjoyment for the recreational fisher. Special features are a topographical model of the project, an underwater viewing area to watch the fish "eye to eye," and nature trails for exploration of the Big Qualicum River and spawning channel.
There is approximately 20 km (12 mi) of sandy ocean beach in the Qualicum Beach and Parksville area. The low tides and warm waters are ideal for paddling and beachcombing. Others sunbathe, swim or perhaps play a game of beach volleyball. No matter your choice the ocean beach is a relaxing way to spend a day.
If diving is your passion, local guides can outfit you and introduce you to the waters of the Northern Gulf Islands. Here you can find walls and passes festooned with congregations of anemones, large cloud sponges, and dwarf gorgonian corals. During the summer months off the southeast corner of Hornby Island the rare and elusive six-gill shark makes its appearance. In Nanaimo, just to the south and 22 fathoms underwater, lies HMCS Saskatchewan, British Columbia's newest artificial reef.
Qualicum Beach Visitor Centre
2711 W. Island Highway
Qualicum Beach, BC V9K 2C4
Town of Qualicum Beach
Qualicum Beach Chamber of Commerce
Background Photo Credit: Destination British Columbia