Qualicum Beach History

Commercial Growth

Commercial growth occurred in a town-site near the railway rather than along the road, thus avoiding strip development and creating the attractive town we have today. Memorial Avenue 1940s Growth was slow in the early years as the land was cleared by logging and the creation of a subdivision by the Newcastle Land Company. The Village was formally incorporated in 1942.

Old School House

From its inception Qualicum Beach has had a strong sense of community-led by active community groups and service clubs. Through their efforts, we have first-class amenities like the Civic Centre.

The Old School House (TOSH) is another example of the Community Spirit we have. This building was completely renovated and restored by volunteers.

Qualicum Beach Hotel

 

Constructed in 1913, the Qualicum Beach Hotel was the pride of the community and a prime destination for the rich and famous (including Shirley Temple, Bing Crosby and the King of Siam). The hotel and the attached golf course were managed by Noel Money, an enthusiastic game hunter and fisherman. The Brigadier General passed away in 1941, and the hotel was torn down in 1969, but the stories of this fascinating era of our town’s history lives on at the Qualicum Beach Museum.

While the QB hotel tells the story of Qualicum’s wealthy visitors and residents, our pioneer kitchen and classroom reflect the lives of everyday citizens. The historical objects in the kitchen date back to the first half of the 20th century, including a circa 1910 Hoosier cabinet owned by the Garrett family. How was laundry done before electricity? How did pioneers make butter? Where and how did people get their food? There is also a section on school history dating back to 1896, and many stories of colourful individuals who have made Qualicum Beach their home over the years. Do come and visit, you will find ‘more than a little history’ about this fascinating place.

 

Qualicum Train Station

In 1905, CPR (Canadian Pacific Railway) employee H.E. Beasley was put in charge of expanding the island’s railway north from Nanaimo, and this promoted development in the Qualicum Beach area. The surrounding land was surveyed and divided into 20 acre lots. In 1913, the train station was built. One year later, the railway was extended to Qualicum Beach.

Trains operated on the line from 1913 to 2011, which facilitated easy travel to the Qualicum Beach area. This caused tourism in the area and Qualicum Beach’s local population to quickly expand.

This Station was built in 1913 and leased to the Town in 1988. It has been completely restored by a group of dedicated volunteers associated with the Museum. The Station now provides office space for community groups, a home for Weavers and Spinners and storage for the Town in the freight shed.

Qualicum Beach Museum

The Qualicum Beach Historical and Museum Society was formed in 1982 by Elizabeth Little and several friends. The Museum was given a home in the small power generating station shown here on the left.

After restoring the Power House as a Heritage building the society volunteers built the larger building shown on the right. They built this building using materials salvaged from a BC Hydro building that had been demolished in Port Alberni. The entire project was done by volunteers.

To learn more about Qualicum’s historical buildings, please view the Canadian Federal/Provincial/Territorial governments’ National Historic Register here: National Historic Register