Stretching from Nanoose to Deep Bay, Oceanside is home to more than 44,500 people. While Parksville-Qualicum in particular has often been known as a retirement destination (Qualicum has the oldest average age in Canada, with the average age at 60.9 in 2006), Parksville-Qualicum Beach has one of the fastest growing economies on the island. It enjoys a host of cultural and leisure activities, and modern facilities such as the new Oceanside Health Centre (opened 2013). It also boasts a dramatic natural setting, with the Strait of Georgia to the east and Mt. Arrowsmith inland to the west.
Currently, the region’s main industries include tourism, retail, and construction, but recognizing the need to attract young entrepreneurs to the area longterm the communities have developed the Oceanside Initiatives, in which local governments, First Nations, and local business leaders come together to work on plans for the area’s economic growth. The Initiatives strive to do this by improving the non-residential tax base and by diversifying the economic base while at the same time making it more sustainable.
These efforts include building new resorts and condominiums to provide more employment and living opportunities, and, notably, the Qualicum Beach Digital Media Studio, opened in 2014 at the old train station. This space, which boasts the fastest download and upload speeds in the region, operates based on the concept of “coworking spaces” that are becoming increasingly popular around the world in digital working environments.
Oceanside will continue to be a great place to retire, and with the area’s increasing affordability and flexible work-life balance, more young families might also soon be calling the region home.