I swear this wasn’t like this the last time we were here. Not even a year has passed since our last visit to this storied place, and suddenly everything has changed and looks different. We pulled up to the front doors and were pretty much ready to hop out and book ourselves a room in this fabulous facility, but something made us change our minds.
As we conducted our research into the Qualicum Heritage Inn we came to several surprise conclusions. Firstly, this wonderful old character site located in Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada was originally Qualicum Beach School for boys. And secondly, it changed hands in 2007/2008 and was closed.
Yes, you read that right… it’s been closed for 4 years or so now. So, how could it be that we were about to book a room just last year? Was it that a ghostly attendant had opened the facility in anticipation of our stay? Or, more likely, have I become somewhat confused and lost track of time?
In September 1935 Robert Ivan Knight designed and built the school. It soon became a well-known local school for boys with the intent stated:
in the conviction that with the background of a good home, the comradeship of boarding school enables boys to enjoy the happiest kind of childhood and youth, and provides them with the finest preparation for life.
In 1949 it was renamed as Qualicum College and remained as such until 1979 when it was sold and became the Qualicum College Inn and then shortly thereafter the Qualicum Heritage Inn.
In 2008 it changed hands to a development group, and the side annexes that were additions made in the 1970’s were pulled down. We see the effects of that work in this image. At this point in its life, the news stories and information on this facility became rather silent. A publication on Canada.com states that in the summer of 2010, the developers were met with stiff local resistance to the plans they had underway and this may be the cause of the sudden cessation of work on the project.
This is a gorgeous heritage facility. In this photograph we get to see many of the intricate details that Robert Knight incorporated into his design. The building definitely has the presence of a stately manor, complete with incredible front wooden doors that strongly resemble the entrance to a castle. Time and the local vandals have taken their toll on the facility, yet with that being said we were quite surprised to find that the building had not been completely boarded up, allowing for air flow and sunshine to still grace its warm interior. We understand that some of the woodwork inside is really quite extraordinary; at the bottom of our post here we include several links to external sources, some with older photographs taken when the building was open.
As we researched the inn to include details in our blog post, we found the site the development company has put up to advertise it. The official Qualicum College Heights site has great details regarding the plans for this location, including a YouTube video presentation that is quite interesting. One of the key points with the future plans is how determined the current developers seem to be to maintain the heritage aspect of the original building, and are planning on constructing new style condominiums around the site itself leaving the original building intact. This is an absolutely heartwarming concept and design that we were thrilled to see. Maintaining these critical links to our past is something that we hold in great importance here locally, and any time a new development project considers this as part of its design foundation we are delighted.
And this all brings us full circle to where we are today. As we conducted our research, we not only found all the information we discuss above about the plans for the condo development and some of the local issues at play when it comes to planning for such facilities, but we also found a treasure-trove of articles discussing the hauntings experienced here over the years. All records seem to point to rather benign entities that roam the halls of this wonderful old historically rich place. Voices heard in the main halls when the building was empty, the sounds of footsteps running up and down the hallways late at night… those sorts of reports. We can’t help but wonder if the ghosts who call the Qualicum Heritage Inn home are going to remain once development begins, slated for spring of this year as far as we can tell.
All of this only serves to further confuse us… what was it we experienced the last time we were here? The place was clearly open; all the windows were intact, the doors were not secured. Have we lost track of reality and found ourselves confused in our timelines, or indeed was a ghostly desk attendant patiently waiting for our arrival with the intent of hosting us upstairs in one of the haunted guest rooms?
I guess we’ll never know.
Thanks so much for taking the time to pop by and visit us here today! We really enjoyed bringing this story to you, and sincerely hope you enjoyed experiencing this with us. As always, we love to hear from all our visitors so please don’t hesitate to leave us any comments you may have.
Qualicum Beach Condos – Qualicum College Heights – official development and sales site
Qualicum College – Wikipedia page discussing the history; includes a black-and-white photograph circa 1949
The History of Qualicum College Heights – a brief document describing the interesting history of the building, as provided by the development group
Announcement – official announcement of sale
The Qualicum Heritage Inn | Vancouver Island Paranormal Society – a brief article describing some of the seemingly haunted events recorded at the facility. Note, this article states the building was constructed in 1835 and that is incorrect according to our research, it was actually built in 1935
Qualicum Heritage Inn – a thread posted on the Nanaimo Information site that chronicles a several year experience by someone interested in the facility. Unfortunately the pictures that once were in the thread are now gone (removed) but the 9 pages of information weave a bit of a tapestry for anyone interested