The Parksville area was originally inhabited by the Coast Salish. They lived on the ocean shores against a backdrop of an old-growth rain forest, it looked a lot different here then. They had villages from the mouth of the Columbia River in Oregon up to Bute Inlet east of Campbell River on the mainland coast, they had a village here as well. They have lived on these shores for at least 9000 yrs.
The first settlers arrived in the 1800s and by the year 1900, there were a number of families living in Parksville, the population was around 250. The original settling families were the Craig`s, Hirst`s, Rath`s, and the Gaetjens. Quite a few of the other settlers who came after were related to these families.
In 1884, they built a log church, and it is still in use today. It’s a wonderful old building. For a few years in the early ’80s, I lived just behind the church, on church road. The old graves were from a place in history. Quite fascinating.
The Parksville area has lots to do and see, there is so much history here, and it’s celebrated at the Craig Heritage Park & Museum, this is a pretty awesome little museum, loaded with the area history, did you know that they would use snowshoes on their horses because the snow would get so deep, well me neither but this and so much more can be learned at this museum. There are a number of heritage buildings on the site that were brought here from their original settings, this is a must-see when you are in the area, it’s just south of town on the old island hwy.
In 1910, the railway was advanced to Parksville along with a big increase with logging and settlers began moving in, the town grew pretty fast, even then the town was a vacation destination for tourists, this has only grown since then, the whole region has become a retirement area, adding to the slower pace that life is lived here, the region is very friendly. The railway is not in operation anymore and now the old station is a potters guild and the old water tower has been restored and is looking great.
The natural wonders are incredible and numerous here, you are only minutes from Raftrevor Park, Englishman River Falls Park, Little Qualicum Falls Park, and Cathedral Grove Park. All these parks have so much to offer, there many hiking trails at each of them, trails that are awesome journeys to hidden falls, birds everywhere, and at times of the year, they burst in color with wildflower displays.
So come and stop by Parksville, learn some history, soak up the sun on the sandy beaches, take a walk into the wilderness to see hidden wonders, but don’t forget to bring your camera.