Parksville and Qualicum Beach

Qualicum Beach beckons hermits, celebrities and everyone in between

Qualicum Beach is as pretty as postcard

Qualicum Beach at sunset
Picturesque views are a hallmark of Qualicum Beach. — Photo courtesy Fiona McDonald

As you might expect from a town with the word “beach” in its title, Qualicum Beach is best known for its four-kilometre, curving, postcard-perfect sandy beach. Surrounding this beach is a paved promenade lined with picnic tables, shade trees, a wash/change room and lots of parking. Photographers and birdwatchers gather at the Brant Geese Viewing area, located at the west end of the waterfront, which provides a great viewpoint from an elevated platform.


The name Qualicum means “where the dog salmon run” in the Pentlatch language. Although the town was not incorporated until 1942, it has a strong historical identity. Thomas Kinkade was the first settler to register land in the Qualicum area, 64 hectares (160 acres) at the mouth of the Little Qualicum River in 1884. Land development began late in the 19th century. Qualicum Tom and his wife, Qualicum Annie, were active residents during the later part of the century. The couple had a hotel and store for those traveling via the Horne Lake Trail. Tom also had a canoe for hire to cross Horne Lake.

One man responsible for Qualicum Beach’s popularity is General Noel Money. He was a wartime soldier and world traveller. He moved to Qualicum Beach in 1914. In the early 1920s he purchased the Qualicum Beach Hotel and Qualicum Beach Golf Club. He was very well known throughout England and Canada. His influence managed to attract Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Errol Flynn, Shirley Temple, Spencer Tracy and each governor general of Canada to holiday in the village and golf at the Qualicum Beach Golf Course. The course is the fourth oldest in B.C. and still extremely popular with golfers from around the world.

Events to enjoy this summer

Aside from typical outdoor recreation—walking along the sandy beach, paddle boarding, canoeing, hiking, swimming and fishing—there are a few special events you’ll want to dive into this summer. The Show N’ Shine, Beach Day, Airport Day and Ocean Mile Swim all have merit and deserve your attention.

The sandy paradise of Qualicum Beach
The sandy paradise of Qualicum Beach stretches over four kilometres. — Photo courtesy Fiona McDonald

The Show N’ Shine takes place in June on Father’s Day weekend. The whole town is wired for sound and music from the ’50s and ’60s while spectators admire a collection of cars ranging from flashy to vintage. The Show ‘N Shine is such a popular event that it was mentioned on the Oprah Winfrey Show as one of the 10 best things to do on Father’s Day.

Beach Day is in July and celebrates the beauty of the beach. Tents hold activities, games and entertainment on the beach, and the main stage is reserved for Qualicum Beach’s Got Talent, a live music competition.

Airport Day is also held in July and features airshows, other aircraft attractions and static displays.

The Ocean Mile Swim is in August and it’s the longest running annual event on Vancouver Island. Swimmers travel a well-marked loop totalling one mile and return to the Beach Hut start area. Awards are presented shortly after the final swimmers come in.

Ready to hit the beach yet?

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