Parksville Qualicum Beach is beloved by visitors, and for good reason. After all, with its combination of natural beauty, laid back living, and family-friendly activities, it’s the perfect destination for anyone looking to escape their nine-to-five and recharge their batteries.
However the area is much more than a great place to relax, it’s also a historical treasure trove that’s bursting at the seams with fascinating stories.
Those stories are now being brought to life thanks to the Parksville Qualicum Beach Historic Tour, a fascinating guided experience that invites visitors to explore the region’s heritage against the backdrop of some of its oldest sites.
To help whet your appetite for this amazing experience we’ve rounded up five fascinating sites that are just some of the historical highlights you can see on the tour.
1. The Old School House
One of the most intriguing stops on the tour is the Old School House which opened in the fall of 1912. Built to educate the influx of children who had arrived with the completion of the E & N Railway, the building is renowned for its impressive classical architecture. The Old School House was put up for sale in 1976, it was bought by the town and in 1988 the building was restored to its former glory and re-opened as The Old School House Arts Centre.
2. Qualicum Beach Train Station
The arrival of the E & N Railway to Qualicum Beach and the construction of the train station in 1914 helped to transform the area from a sparsely settled wilderness into the premier tourist destination it is known and loved as today. After the station fell into disrepair, locals formed the “Old Train Society” in 1991 to have the Qualicum station declared as a heritage site. Careful restoration began in 1994 with thousands of volunteer hours invested in order to return the ageing structure to its former glory.
3. Milner Gardens & Woodland
This historical site is perhaps best known for its gardens, which were designed and planted by keen horticulturist Veronica Milner in the 1950s. Her artist’s eye and horticultural expertise combined to create a garden that was fit for royalty. It was apt then that Prince Charles and Diana the Princess of Wales visited the gardens in 1986, shortly before Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s stay at the estate a year later. A decade later the stunning gardens were gifted to Vancouver Island University that has vowed to preserve the site in perpetuity so that generations to come can enjoy this historic site.
4. Parksville Community Park
With its stunning natural setting and unparalleled access to outdoor pursuits, the area has long been a popular attraction for visitors. Indeed its potential as a recreational haven was clear to the town’s residents all the way back in 1922 when they fundraised to purchase a slice of waterfront property that would eventually become Parksville Community Park. Thanks to the vision of those founding residents, and the hard work of hundreds of volunteers, the park has become the recreational heart of the entire region, one that’s famed across the country for its Canada Day celebrations.
4. Rod and Gun Hotel
Completed in 1898 the Rod & Gun, which was named after the hunters and fisherman who would stay there, opened its doors. In the 121 years since it has undergone countless renovations and although it hasn’t rented a room in decades, the iconic inn is still serving up history and hospitality to thirsty patrons as a pub and restaurant.
To find out more about Parksville Qualicum Beach Historic Tour check out www.visitparksvillequalicumbeach.com for all of the information you need to enjoy this extra special area.