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Pacific Shores Parksville Blog

February 24, 2014

3 Parksville playgrounds to entertain the kids

When I was little my mom babysat 5 other kids from the neighbourhood. When we were looking for something different to do, the kids would pile into the family van and go on a playground adventure. We’d be ferried all around town looking for the best playgrounds!

When we found a good one, we’d excitedly inspect every section of the playground and as soon as the playground passed our very thorough inspection, we’d launch into the game of the day or something brand new we made up on the spot. The Lava Game, tag or just plain old swings would keep us occupied for hours. Or it seemed like hours anyways. Looking back it probably wasn’t even long enough to let my mom relax for 5 minutes but it seemed like an epic adventure in time and scale for us at the time.

I’m assuming kids these days (and parents) can still enjoy a good romp around a well-designed playground, I thought I should point out a few good ones around Parksville that can keep the kids entertained for minutes, err, hours.


Pacific Shores offers a nice playground at the resort, which is convenient for families who would like to stay close to their suite and prefer not to drive. It is very close to the BBQ area so parents can keep their kids entertained while they are busy preparing a feast for the family. If you are feeling like exploring though, Parksville offers many playgrounds within minutes of the resort.

Foster Park on Pym Street is a large neighbourhood park on a quiet street in the north end of Parksville. The main attraction of the park is the playground. A few swings, a playground structure with slides as well as a merri-go-round and a couple other features round out the fun at this playground. The large grassy area, tall trees and a quaint gazebo make this relaxing park to visit. Bring a basketball and shoot some hoops on the small court or just take in the view from the many benches. You can stay for extended periods here because of all the space and bathrooms in the small building near the entrance to the park.

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January 17, 2014

The foggy "Views" from Notch Hill

Short hikes with good views are hard to find. Often the hikes are good but they don't have a nicely defined goal, they just "end" somewhere. Good hikes have nicely defined end points that are rewarding to get to. Mountain summits, waterfalls, lakes and of course beautiful viewpoints are good endings to hikes. They are a reward for having done the hike. They feel complete. 


Notch Hill in Nanoose is a short hike with a great view. Unfortunately the photos from my last trip were completely fogged in. When you can see the view you don't walk away feeling like you hadn't finished anything. A defined viewpoint with plenty of room to sit and relax sits at the end of the trail, and overlooks Nanoose Bay and mainland Vancouver Island towards Mount Arrowsmith and Mount Moriarty. 

As a pleasant surprise from my last trip the fog gives nice even light that's very good for photography. No harsh bright spots to spoil the photos. There is always an upside to being outside, even when it's foggy!

Continue reading "The foggy "Views" from Notch Hill" »

December 03, 2013

5 Ways to Get in the Holiday Spirit… Island-Style

By Neil Judson

Here on Vancouver Island, dreaming of a white Christmas ends right there -- as a chilling dream. Thank goodness! Have you seen the amount of snow our neighbours to the east are shovelling these days?

Beach tree starLiving on, or visiting, Vancouver Island during winter is a true gift. And even though some of the traditional wintry cues are lacking, there are a few ways we can get in the holiday spirit… Island-style. Here are five ways to get you started.

1. Make your own Island holiday card

Contrasting a holiday theme with a mild Vancouver Island landscape makes for a uniquely festive photograph for a homemade card. It also adds a nice personalized touch and allows you to show off how beautiful your home (or vacation spot) is. Try writing a holiday greeting in the sand at Rathtrevor Beach, or hanging a few ornaments in an arbutus tree.      

2. Make an ornament out of the Island

A stroll outside is like browsing a natural craft supply shop. A rainforest hike reveals pinecones, coniferous needles and bark. Beachcombing turns up seashells, driftwood, pebbles and sea glass of various beautiful colours. Get some exercise and then get creative! If you're particularly proud of one of your creations, why not make it a stocking stuffer? 

3. Check out local artists

Enjoyed the walk but having trouble finding your creative muse? The Parksville-Qualicum Beach area is home to a wide community of artists and artisans. Luckily, December is a busy time for craft fairs, where you can peruse multiple forms of art and craft in one place. The Errington War Memorial Hall is hosting two Errington Christmas Craft Fair events Dec 7 and 14. The Coombs Country Christmas Craft Fair is also Dec 7 at the Coombs Fairgrounds. To learn more about Parksville-Qualicum Beach area artists and artisans, visit the British Columbia Travel Guide

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November 22, 2013

Pause and Relax:  Enjoy a tea in Milner Gardens

By Ross Collicut

Travelling to any new place can be a scary experience. We try to pack so much into our trips that sometimes we don't have time to just sit and enjoy the scenery. Our goals are to see every attraction possible. 


A great way to break out of the busy pace and relax is to stop and enjoy the scenery. Just sit, breathe and enjoy the world around you. You will get best results if you are in nature somewhere. Fresh air, relaxing sounds and soothing views on a clear day can really slow down that hectic pace. 

Good places to pause and take a breath while travelling can be hard to find. Cities are busy and full of noise. Parks and trails can be far away from town and hard to get to. Parksville is no exception. But if you look hard you can find the good spots. In the Parksville area, one in particular stands out among the rest. 

Milner Gardens is just north of Parksville in Qualicum Beach on the West Island Highway less than 20 minutes drive from great places to stay. 

Enjoy the variety of scenery. When you first arrive, you'll wind your way along dirt paths under massive cedar trees down to the gardens. No matter what type of temperate garden plant you like, you'll probably find something to inspect closer in the 4 hectares of woodland garden. 

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September 25, 2013

Tips for Bringing a Babe to Parksville

By Neil Judson

BabeIt's no secret that Parksville is a family friendly destination with sprawling beaches, warm ocean water, and resorts like Pacific Shores Resort and Spa that offer play structures and pools for kids to discover. But what if your child isn't charging through the sand yet, but rather peering over your shoulder with wide eyes and a damp burp cloth? As intimidating as it can be to travel with a baby, Parksville is the perfect choice.

The trick is keeping it simple and sun safe.

What to do?

One must-see spot in Parksville is the sprawling and sandy Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park.
The challenge is keeping a wee one away from the sun since delicate baby skin burns easily. But that's no reason to hide indoors. The park offers a shady strip of mature Douglas fir trees along the edge of the beach, providing families a place to tuck into the shade while enjoying the ocean view. For those craving the feel of warm sand below their feet, consider purchasing a sunshade with UV protection that will provide a cover for baby on the sand. It doubles as a discreet place for diaper changes and nursing, if desired.

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August 14, 2013

The Best Thing to do on Windy Days at the Beach

By Ross Collicutt

IMG_0799The brush of the soft green blades off grass between your toes, the heat of the sun on your face, the light scent of ocean salt in the breeze coming off the water, and the gentle tug of the long string rising high into the sky to your flying machine. I remember well the days spent running around trying to save my kite from hitting the ground and seeing just how high it would go. Kiting is one of those kid-only activities that doesn't just have to be for kids.

Parksville Beach

When the sun is out, Parksville Community Beach is great for soaking up some sunshine and relaxing but sometimes that pesky wind comes up. This would normally be a chilly end to relaxing on the beach and time to look for other activities. But if you've come prepared with a kite you won't have to go far. The fields right next to the beach are perfect for launching your new high-flying kite.

Where to buy a kite

If you haven't got a kite yet then you can pick one up at many places in Parksville. Home Hardware, Thrifty's and a few other places in Parksville often have a variety of kites in the summer. 

The basics of kiting

You're in for a great surprise if you're new to kiting. It's very easy to get started. Pick up a kite at one of the stores above and follow the instructions to put it together. They are usually made with a bit of fabric for the kite itself and a couple of thin wood or plastic poles to hold its shape. Attach the long thin string included and you're ready to fly. 

The Delta or Diamond are the basic styles of kite you can find almost anywhere. The Delta is a triangular shape and often has a tail coming off the end. The Diamond is, well you guessed it, diamond shaped and is the easiest style to put together. If you'd like to get more advanced, the sky is the limit. More advanced kites can be controlled with multiple strings, zipping around the sky in exactly the direction you choose. Box kites look like a rectangular box with the ends and middle cut out and can fly extremely high. Parafoil kites can be enormous with many strings all holding the kite in place. The world record holder for biggest kite is a modified parafoil. 

Now all you need is some wind. You can often find a nice breeze at Parksville Community Beach. If you are with a friend, get them to hold the kite while you roll out some of the kite string. Facing your friend holding the kite with the kite string taught, pull up and launch your flying bird, fish, plane or other contraption into the air. Not so much wind around? Why not be like a kid and create your own. Running around the fields will not only keep your kite flying it will give you a great workout!

If you want to see the pros go to the Lions Kite Fest in July each year. Kite flyers from all over the world land in Parksville for this 2-day event. You can see their biggest kites, highest number of kites on one line or even build your own. Great for the whole family. 

For more info on the festival and some interesting kite history check out the Parksville Kite Festival website http://members.shaw.ca/parksvillekitefest/.


July 18, 2013

Building Better Sandcastles

By Ross Collicutt

SandcastleParksville has a lot of sand. With Rathtrevor Beach and Parksville Community Beach so close to town and to Pacific Shores Resort & Spa, there's a good chance you'll end up at one of the beaches when you visit. 

At low tide the beaches offer an immense amount of room to stretch out, walk, relax, play bocce, or fly a kite. Building sandcastles is another past time that's too much fun when there's all that sand around. If you're like me, though, you build sandcastles the exact same way you did when you were a kid. Maybe that's how you're parents did it. Maybe that's how you're curious, creative child-mind thought would be the best way to make a pile of sand look more like a castle. No one has told you over the years, but there's a better way.

Here are 4 tips for great sandcastles:

Moist, compact sand

Nothing is going to stand very tall or very long with having a good solid foundation. For that you need moist compacted sand. You'll want to be near a source of water. The ocean right beside Parksville makes a very convenient source of water. Take into account how far you will have to walk to get some though, outgoing tides can uncover almost a kilometre of sand. That's a long walk for every bucket of water. One trick for getting water is to dig a big hole in the sand. The water will usually fill it from the bottom if it's deep enough. 

Once you have your water, make sure all the sand is nice and moist. Dry sand doesn't stick together well. You can compact the sand with your feed, hands or shovel but make sure it's nice and solid. Think of making a snow man. Wet snow sticks together really well but dry snow doesn't.

Get good tools

Your hands make great sandcastle tools but you will be limited with what you can do. Shovels, trowels and anything with a small sharp edge can make the detail in your sandcastle really stand out. Buckets are almost a necessity to carry water around but they also serve another good purpose. Cut the bottom out of a bucket and then you can make great towers and still be able to pack down the sand from the top. If you really want to get into it, a straw works well to blow away any sand that's fallen onto your sculpture from above. 

Work from top to bottom

The whole process of carving your castle starts at the top and moves down to the bottom.  As you carve out your castle, the sand has to fall somewhere. If you start at the bottom all the sand will fall onto your beautiful carvings at the bottom. Best to start at the top and then move down as you go. 

Shave away the sand

After compacting all your sand into towers or a mound with the buckets, you can start carving away what you don't need. It's hard to add sand back onto your creation and have it stick well so you start with much more than you need and then carve away the excess. This is where your tools come in. Garden tools and kitchen utensils work great for removing those little bits of sand.

Now you're a sandcastle building expert. You just need to get out to the beach and find some sand to make your masterpiece. Good luck!

If you want to watch the masters at work, be sure to check out the Canadian Open Sand Sculpting Competition from July 13 to August 18, 2013. For more info visit http://www.parksvillebeachfest.ca/  

May 27, 2013

Interactive Resort Map

Resort-mapWe're happy to announce that our interactive resort map is now ready! You can discover the hotspots of Pacific Shores using this new interactive tool on our website. Explore the resort on your computer to view spectacular photos of our resort's suites, amenities, favourite areas and hidden gems that our guests enjoy during their visit!

Some of the point of interests include:


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February 08, 2013

Raw Food: A New Experience

By Ross Collicut

When you’re out hiking at all these great places around Parksville like Cathedral Grove, Top Bridge and Hamilton Marsh, you’re bound to work up an appetite. It’s a good thing Parksville and Qualicum have some great places to eat.
If you want to stay close to Pacific Shores, The Landing West Coast Grill has all you need plus an incredible fish tank. You can watch the native west coast sea creatures cruise around underwater while perusing the menu. The Landing offers delicious food but most of it is cooked. Well that’s pretty normal, right? Not if you’re looking for a new way of eating entirely that’s gaining momentum around the world: the raw diet!
The idea with raw food is that nothing is heated above 40 degrees Celsius, in other words it’s raw. Advocates of the diet say not cooking the food retains important nutrients in the food that would otherwise be cooked out. They use a ton of vegetables, seeds and nuts to make everything from lasagna and stir-fry, to cheesecake and chocolate bars.

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December 07, 2012

Hamilton Marsh

By Ross Collicut

I took a wrong turn. There were only 2 directions in the fork and I took the wrong one. 50% chance and I got it wrong. But wrong wasn’t a bad thing. Wrong was almost a good thing in fact.

Most would call a beautiful meandering path in the forest with glistening droplets of light rain resting on the bright green leaves a good thing. It wasn’t bad that I’d taken this path. Though longer, some would say the left fork on the way to Hamilton Marsh the better way to go. 


I parked in the second parking lot 1.1 kilometers down Hillier Road just off Highway 4. Only one other car sat in the parking lot and they packed up their tired muddy dog and left just as I arrived. The trail begins to the right of the parking lot. A wide trail to begin, it quickly narrows and forks. Which fork to take? It was my first time there so I took the left. Not wrong per se, but it does take longer to get to the well-maintained dock on Hamilton Marsh. 

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