Editorial Written by Kristen Ross
Is Reality On Vancouver Island’s East Coast
In a place blessed with such an abundance of natural beauty, the difficulty for newcomers to Vancouver Island is not in finding somewhere to live, but rather in choosing which place to call home. Nanoose Bay and its neighbouring communities of Parksville and Qualicum are an excellent possibility for anyone who longs for coastal waters and the serenity that accompanies them.
With its modest community of approximately 5,000 residents, Nanoose enjoys the benefits of being an Oceanside destination while remaining decidedly rural. Located on the east coast of Vancouver Island, Nanoose claims a slice of seaboard just off the “Oceanside Route” (or, Highway 19A) between Nanaimo and Parksville as home. A major destination for boaters throughout the region, it overlooks the Strait of Georgia’s clear waters and is hedged by some truly spectacular forest.
Despite embracing its rustic roots, Nanoose is only a stone’s throw from urban amenities offered in neighboring Nanaimo and Parksville. True locals however, enjoy shopping at the charming Red Gap commercial hub; a focal point for Nanoose Bay, it offers a number of services and shopping choices for everyday essentials. Schooner Cove, a lovely Oceanside marina, is slated to become a seaside village with shops, amenities and condos. With plans in the works for marine-focused housing, it could easily develop into a destination itself, as well as a lift-off point for those looking to explore the surrounding Oceanside and islands.
Housing options in the area include the Fairwinds Oceanfront Golf Community, a sweeping residential development that includes Fairwinds Golf Club and Schooner Cove Marina. At Fairwinds, housing options include custom-built golf course or ocean view properties. To date, over 700 homes have been unveiled and another 2,000 are scheduled. Oceanfront lots and undeveloped lots can also be found in the area, and properties vary from contemporary condos to elegant Tudor style homes for larger families.
Just northwest of Nanoose Bay and half an hour’s drive from Nanaimo’s ferry terminals is Parksville; a seafaring population of 12,000 residents proud to call this protected UNESCO Biosphere Reserve home. The area inhabits roughly half of a region known as Oceanside, which includes neighbouring Qualicum Beach, and this nature-loving bunch takes full advantage of their unique coastal location. Some of the best kayaking, parks and wildlife on the island are found here. Among them, Arbutus Grove Provincial Park is 22 hectares of soft-growth trails and thick Arbutus tree forest after which the park is named. Due west of Parksville is the Englishman River Falls Park which features, not surprisingly, a number of falls that cascade into small lagoons and freshwater pools.
Nearby Qualicum Landing, with its strand of homes who have their feet planted firmly in the sand, is the stuff dreams are made of. Describing itself as a “luxury beach house community,” this 62-unit waterfront community even counts a clubhouse among its features. Both Parksville and Qualicum Beach have a healthy real estate market that is typically advertised side-by-side. Recently, the area has seen everything from one-of-a-kind one-bedroom beach houses, to sprawling family estates so close to the surf you can practically skip stones across the water’s edge from the living room. For those who can’t commit to full-time residence but still pine for rocky bluffs and fresh ocean air, vacation homes with the option to rent are real possibilities here.
With its Mediterranean microclimate and protected ecosystem, this region is a unique answer for those who want a very special place to call home.