There is just something utterly romantic about trains. Almost everyone remembers The Orient Express and has some association with trains from this period. Imagine if you will, a beautiful historic steam-driven train meanders through the countryside, working its way through tunnels, over deep canyons and up over mountain ranges. The cars are full of the finest dapper gentlemen and the fairest of beautiful ladies all dressed in flowing outfits. Everyone sits in wonder as the clickety-clack of the wheels moves the procession along. The landscape rolls by the windows, slowly, allowing the passengers to really take in all the wonder of the scenes around them.
Before the train came to town, though, Qualicum Beach was primarily focused on the booming logging industry and agriculture. In 1912 the train station was built, designed to complement the town using rustic architectural features that were so predominant at the time. The main station has cottage style elements and has a freight storage area directly attached. The second story was originally built as the agent’s quarters, a concept rather familiar for the times.
HistoricPlaces.ca discusses the history of the place and details the architectural features of interest:
…the building’s rustic-vernacular architecture, including its irregular massing, wood-shingled, bellcast hipped roof, clapboard and shingle siding, eave brackets, dormers, variation in pitch between the station and freight shed roofs, twin brick chimneys and the combination of mullioned single-hung, fixed and casement windows…
All these elements come together to create a totally unique place that fits into the local setting just perfectly.
Over 10 years was spent in refurbishing this facility to bring it back to the condition we now see it in here. I have to say, we are pretty excited about all the local groups we’ve found that have a sole focus of repairing and maintaining these critically important heritage structures. This goes a long way in preserving our really interesting past to share with our future generations.
Even though Vancouver Island is around 100-150 years old, the short history we love is truly storied. People came and settled on the island and life was not easy for them. The winters were harsh and the landscape at times was unforgiving as the island features oceans, fields and high mountains… and everything in between.
The grounds today are meticulously maintained, accenting the buildings that surround it. There is a distinct old world feeling to Qualicum Beach and it’s the perfect destination if you are hoping to get away from the modern world and all the hustle-and-bustle of current day life. When you come here you find yourself almost immediately shedding the trappings of our electronic world, you are encouraged to slow down and take in the scenery and surroundings. A walk through downtown takes the visitor through an adventure exploring some really unique and special shops. We come here often, winter or summer, as a means to take a break.
In the picture above, we see a wonderful old heritage church peeking out. This church will be a feature we present in the future, and it really adds so much character to the setting. To us, quaint doesn’t even begin to describe what you see here.
As you turn to leave the station you find this wonderful old locomotive on display. This truly speaks to the importance of our past as this steam locomotive is in near pristine condition. These locomotives were rather common sights all those years ago, making their way up and down Vancouver Island bringing goods and trades with them.
We really find that this strong connection to our history is both important from the perspective of documenting our history, but is also a heart-warming experience to have on a personal level. Nothing feels quite so nice as walking through this little community, enjoying the parks and lovely little stores… and in the summer this place comes alive in grand fashion becoming home to many car shows and art exhibits. Qualicum Beach is a true destination in every sense of the term.
We hope you have enjoyed joining us today on this little adventure. Thank you so much for taking the time to visit, and as always we encourage everyone to leave us any comments that you may have as we really love to hear from all our visitors.