Living in Qualicum Beach

Qualicum Beach is one of many seaside villages on the northeastern coastline of Vancouver Island, Canada, and along the Strait of Georgia. Its proximity to Parksville has informally led to it being called a twin city. 

It has a population of over 9000 people and is amongst the oldest in Canada. The average age group and the largest is between 65 and 69 years. The smallest population group is between the ages of 25 and 29.

The natural beauty is breathtaking, and it will make anyone fall in love with its natural wonders. Qualicum Beach has a lot of attractions that people will enjoy exploring. The beaches are spectacular, and it is known for its thrilling water sports activities.

Let this ultimate guide which covers everything from history, real estate, schooling, communities, things to do, restaurants and shopping, and weather, assist you if you intend on moving to and living in Qualicum Beach, BC. 

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History of Qualicum Beach

Qualicum Beach is rich when it comes to its history. Its name derived from the word 'Quallchum,' is a Pentlatch language term meaning 'Where the dog salmon run.' Many Indigenous people came to this area to fish, hunt, pick berries, and dig for clams. 

In 1894, a road that once reached Parksville was extended to Qualicum, and subsequently a railway in 1914. It was incorporated as a village in May 1942 and became a town in 1983. 

Today, Qualicum Beach is predominantly a retirement community but is still seeing a rise in visitors, thus mainly as a tourist destination.  

History of Qualicum Beach

Real Estate in Qualicum Beach

Real estate properties in Qualicum Beach are a combination of single-family homes, about 80%, townhomes, and condos. Due to the location and nature of the area, you can find newer built homes, older homes, homes on acreages, and waterfront properties. About 90% of residents own their homes, while the remaining 10% rent. 

The median asking price is in the $900K range for a home, where homes have seen more than a 20% increase since the previous year. The average home listing price is in the $1M range. The median monthly rent is around $1000. 

Today there are many homes that you can rent whether you are a tourist or live here permanently.

Schooling in Qualicum Beach

Moving to and living in Qualicum Beach, BC, couldn't be more convenient for families with children. Schools in this area fall under Qualicum School District 69. 

Schools in this area include:

Arrowview Elementary School

Location: 650 Bennett Rd, Qualicum Beach, BC
Caters to: Kindergarten to Grade 7

Qualicum Beach Elementary School

Location: 699 Claymore Rd, Qualicum Beach, BC
Caters to: Kindergarten to Grade 7

Kwalikum Secondary School

Location: 266 Village Way, Qualicum Beach, BC
Caters to: Grade 8 to Grade 12

Schools nearby in the communities of Parksville, Nanoose Bay, Errington, Bowser, and Lasqueti Island include:

  • Bowser Elementary: Kindergarten to Grade 7
  • École Secondaire Ballenas Secondary: Grade 8 to Grade 12
  • Errington Elementary: Kindergarten to Grade 7
  • False Bay School: Kindergarten to Grade 7

The Vancouver Island University, Parksville-Qualicum Centre and Library is an institution located at 100 Jensen Avenue Parksville. It focuses on the economic, cultural, and educational aspects of the region. The main campus is in Nanaimo, and other regional campuses are in Duncan and Powell River. 

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Communities Around Qualicum Beach

Qualicum Beach is near many communities and towns to the north and south. 


Parksville is less than 15 minutes from Qualicum Beach. Attractions here include:

-Parksville’s Community Park
-Lion’s Venture Playground & Waterpark
-Parksville’s downtown
-Parksville waterfront
-McMillan Arts Centre
-Parksville Museum

Arrowsmith Coombs Country

Arrowsmith Coombs Country is south of Qualicum Beach. Rural communities in this area include Coombs, Hilliers, Errington, Whiskey Creek, and Meadowood. Attractions in this area are:

-Errington’s North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre
-Englishman River Falls Provincial Park
-Coombs Country Market
-Cameron Lake
-MacMillan Provincial Park

Nanoose Bay

Nanoose Bay is 20 minutes from Qualicum Beach and south of Parksville. Attractions in Nanoose Bay include:

-Notch Hill
-Fairwinds Golf Club
-Moorecroft Regional Park
-Nanoose Edibles Farm

Lighthouse Country

If you follow Highway 19 north of Qualicum Beach, you will reach Lighthouse Country. It is a small community in Qualicum Bay named after the lighthouses on Sisters Island and Chrome Island. 

French Creek

Ten minutes from Qualicum Beach on Highway 19A, also known as Oceanside Route, and in between Qualicum Beach and Parksville, you will find the marine community of French Creek. French Creek is a popular destination for windsurfing. It's also where you can take a ferry to Lasqueti Island. Noteworthy attractions here include Morningstar Golf Club, Little Qualicum Cheeseworks, and French Creek Harbour Days. 

French River BC

Lasqueti Island

Lasqueti Island is offshore from Qualicum Beach across the Strait of Georgia. It is one of several of the Gulf Islands. Lasqueti Island is a quaint island and home to self-sufficient residents who prefer the temperate climate and isolation. You can visit the island by taking the ferry from French Creek, a community halfway between Qualicum Beach and Parksville. 

Things to do in Qualicum Beach

There are many things to do here in Qualicum beach: swim, fish, take a boat ride, walk around and enjoy the scenery or whale watch, if you come at the right season. Tours are available that take you out on the water to observe whales, dolphins, and porpoises. 

Beaches in and around Qualicum are the perfect summer pastime. The waters are calm, and low tides allow for exploration. There are even best tide times for better planning of your trip to the beach. The three main beaches are Parksville, Rathtrevor and Qualicum Beach.

A mere kilometre from Qualicum Beach is the Heritage Forest. The Heritage Forest is 50 acres and includes trees that are over 300 years old. The forest has a salmon-bearing stream and trails that are frequented by thousands of visitors every year. 

Salmon is popular in these parts and best seen from October through to December. The Qualicum Fish Hatchery is on the Qualicum River. The Big Qualicum River is a coastal stream that originates in Horne Lake and runs for 11 kilometres to the Strait of Georgia. You can take a tour of the hatchery and learn all about salmon. Apart from salmon, you can also find steelhead, cutthroat trout, chum, coho, and chinook.  

Along the Qualicum River is the Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park. A beautiful feature of this park is the waterfalls that end in a rocky gorge surrounded by the forest. The Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park is an impressive 440 hectares and provides the perfect recreation spot for families with riverside trails and swimming holes. The park spans the south shore of Cameron Lake, MacMillan Provincial Park and the Cathedral Grove Rainforest. 

One unique annual occurrence in Qualicum Beach is the Brant Wildlife Festival. This festival celebrates the annual migration of Black Brant geese as they make their way to Alaska for breeding in May. Qualicum Beach and Parksville see thousands of these geese as they rest and feed before moving on. Guided tours of their feeding spots are available during April, or you can view them yourself with a pair of binoculars. Spring and Fall migration also brings other birds such as Scooters, Goldeneye, Wigeon, and Scaup. 

Golf is always a welcome sport on Vancouver Island. And in the Qualicum Beach area, there are world-class golf courses, including:

-Arrowsmith Golf & Country Club
-Eaglecrest Golf Club
-Pheasant Glen Golf Resort
-Qualicum Beach Memorial Golf Course

Golf Course

The Qualicum Beach Museum, run by the community, holds events and programs throughout the year. It features the following exhibits and attractions:

-Paleontology exhibit
-First Nations History exhibit
-Social History exhibit
-Natural History exhibit

Close to the downtown Qualicum beach is the town's playground, skate park, swimming pool, sports field, bike track, and an off-leash dog park. 

Other attractions around Qualicum Beach:

MacMillan Provincial Park is famous for its Douglas Fir trees, some 800 years old. Hiking the trails through this park and amongst these giants is quite the experience. 

Horne Lake Caves Park has seven protected caves that you can explore. You can also go on guided tours with the Canadian Cave Conservancy or visit Main Cave and Lower Main Cave on your own. Exploring the caves in Hornes Lake Caves Provincial Park is thrilling. For a more challenging activity, you can join the tours for Karst Trail and Riverbend Trail. 

Milner Gardens and Woodland is 70 acres of nature situated on the edge of the oceanfront overlooking the Strait of Georgia. The expansive green space provides an opportunity to meander through Douglas Fir forests and gardens abundant in plants.  

Spider Lake Provincial Park is a lake close to Horne Lake, 8 kilometres west of Highway 19A. There is a beautiful stretch of sandy beach, with warm waters. Perfect for picnicking, kayaking, and canoeing. 

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Arts and Culture in Qualicum Beach

Outdoor attractions are plentiful in Qualicum beach, but there are also various large events every year, so it is very lively especially when it becomes summertime.

Recognized for its local festivals, many visitors and residents flock to the arts and cultural events, exhibitions and fairs, and floral displays. 

The Old School House has a learning center and art gallery. The gallery includes artwork with acrylic and watercolour, wooden, stoneware, and pottery. You can also find jewelry and glasswork. 

The Village Theatre in Qualicum Beach was built in 1948. It is a historic building and a landmark and has been a source of entertainment for more than 60 years, thus contributing significantly to the culture of Qualicum Beach. The Village Theatre offers productions in summer and winter. 

Well-known and popular events in Qualicum beach include: 

-Beach Day
-Airport Appreciation Day
-Farmers Market

Restaurants and Shopping in Qualicum Beach

Downtown Qualicum is known for its unique boutique-style shops, cafes, galleries, and restaurants. Some restaurants include:

-The Shady Rest restaurant and pub
-Qualicum Beach Cafe
-Camellia Tea Room at Milner Gardens & Woodland


Transportation and Getting Around Qualicum Beach

Getting to Vancouver Island is easy because of its proximity to Vancouver. Most travellers come by ferry from Vancouver. 

Qualicum beach is 30 minutes north of the ferry terminus in Nanaimo and approximately two hours Victoria. From Nanaimo, you can take Highway 19 heading north.  

Qualicum Beach also has an airport that offers flights. Qualicum Beach Airport has parking and a restaurant. 

Amenities in Qualicum Beach

Qualicum Beach has two private health care offices on-site, the Dr. Kevin Coffey Medical Clinic and Drs. Mok & Chan Medical Associates on 29th Avenue North West. 

The Economy in Qualicum Beach

The major industries in Qualicum Beach are agriculture, services, and manufacturing. More than 60% of the employment in Qualicum Beach is in the services industry. Demand for jobs in the services and health industries is projected to increase as the median age of the current population sits at 64. 


Weather in Qualicum Beach

Qualicum Beach has a sub-tropical climate throughout the year. The warmest months are from May to September, while the cooler months are from December to February.

The Parksville Qualicum Beach area is known as 'Canada's Riviera.' This is mainly because of its Mediterranean weather. In the middle of winter, temperatures rarely dip below zero degrees Celsius, and in the summer months, temperatures average between 21 and 24 degrees Celsius.  

Qualicum Beach is a seaside getaway that always brings people back. If you're thinking about moving and living here, think no more because there are plenty of fun things you can do in Qualicum Beach, BC. It is also the ideal hub to venture out, explore, and enjoy the east coast of Vancouver Island. The beaches and provincial parks are beautiful, and the scenery is just breathtaking. 

Providing Residential Real Estate services across Vancouver Island. Sims Real Estate group not only works where we invest; we live here too. Our mission is to build trust and value through genuine and meaningful connections. Our comfortable approach to Real Estate makes working with us a great experience. Our business is built one meaningful connection at a time. Your future matters.

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