Little Qualicum Falls_Iain Robert Reid
Qualicum Bay is part of the area known as Lighthouse Country, on the east coast of Central Vancouver Island. One of the best picnic sites in the area, Spider Lake, is located west of Qualicum Beach and features a small sandy beach perfect for water lovers of all ages. The warm water of Spider Lake is noted for its excellent canoeing, kayaking and swimming and the park is an idyllic spot for a quiet family outing. Spider Lake is stocked with small mouth bass and Rainbow trout, providing fishing opportunities year-round. Saltwater fishing charters and boat rentals are available. There is fly-fishing for salmon near Parksville and Qualicum Beach. Golfing, hiking and kayaking are popular and a visit to Horne Lake Caves to experience the magic of this underground world should not be missed.
Qualicum Bay is accessed on Hwy 19A, or off the parallel Island Highway (Hwy 19) by exiting between Qualicum Beach and Fanny Bay. Qualicum Bay is 63 km (39 mi) north of Nanaimo and BC Ferries arrivals/departure dock and 58 km (36 mi) south of Comox.
European settlers began to arrive on the east coast of Vancouver Island in the late 1800s, searching for homesteads or working in the logging and fishing industries. In the late 1890s, a road was constructed to connect Lighthouse Country to the small villages to the south (Qualicum Beach and Parksville) and to the north (Courtenay and Comox), making the area more accessible to settlers.
Land grants given by the E&N Railway Company (which was taken over by Canadian Pacific in 1905) gave rise to many farming and logging settlements. Each of the settlement areas eventually became Deep Bay, Bowser, and Qualicum Bay.
Today, Qualicum Bay is enjoyed by those seeking a more tranquil way of life as well as those who enjoy fishing. For much of the way between Courtenay and Campbell River the highway runs beside Qualicum Bay, an area rich in seafood.