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?

Qualicum Heritage Inn - Qualicum Beach, BC, Canada

Qualicum Heritage Inn - Qualicum Beach, BC, Canada

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.

Qualicum Heritage Inn - Qualicum Beach, BC, Canada

Qualicum Heritage Inn - Qualicum Beach, BC, Canada

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.

Qualicum Heritage Inn - Qualicum Beach, BC, Canada

Qualicum Heritage Inn - Qualicum Beach, BC, Canada

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.

Qualicum Heritage Inn - Qualicum Beach, BC, Canada

Qualicum Heritage Inn - Qualicum Beach, BC, Canada

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.

References

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



  1. I’ll go with the ghost receptionist theory, it sounds cool. Great post and photos Toad

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Sounds good to me, my friend, thanks Chris! LOL A ghost receptionist it was. We really appreciate you taking the time to pop by and leave us your comments here, thanks my friend!

  2. avatar Eden says:

    What a lovely old building! Nicely processed as always, Toad, and neat comp in the last shot. Have a great weekend!

  3. avatar Edith Levy says:

    Ok the way you started this story out was a little creepy but I agree with Chris the ghost receptionist story is an interesting theory. It’s an awesome building Toad and I like the way you’ve photographed it. I really like the composition of the last image. I was looking closely to see if there were an ghost in the window looking out a us.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      It sure FELT like there was a ghost watching us, that’s for sure!! Thank you for your ongoing friendship & support here, Edith, it really means so much to us!

  4. I can never forget this place, it creeps me out every time I see it because of a movie that was filmed there. Did you ever see “Ants”? Its was in the mid 70s and the ants infested the hotel – eeek!! So freaky. Ok I was only 10 but it freaked me out so much I can only think of ants every time I see it! Beautiful images Toad, especially without the ants.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      No, can’t say I ever saw that one, Anne! But I did see reference to it on some sites when we were doing our research for the post. I think the place looks great, it doesn’t need any ants to spruce it up. LOL :) Thanks so much for your visit my friend!

  5. avatar Len Saltiel says:

    Lovely images Toad with a great historical story. Your ability to find these places and get the information on them is awesome, my friend.

  6. avatar Adam Allegro says:

    Toad that last image is pretty spooky! Nice work as usual. Thesae are all filled with some much awesome detail!!

  7. avatar Chris Nitz says:

    I think I’d risk it and stay the night here. Looks like a great setting!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      You are, indeed, a brave soul, Chris! :) Thank you so very kindly for taking the time to pop by, and to volunteer for spending the night!!

  8. avatar A.Barlow says:

    Maybe it will end up like that movie House :)

    Sweet shots and wonderful write up as always Toad!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thanks Aaron, you sir are a scholar amongst gentlemen my friend! We really appreciate your visit and comments here!!

  9. avatar Jim Nix says:

    nice work Toad, great series of shots!

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thank you so very much Jim, all your friendship and support here really means more than we can properly express, my friend!

  10. avatar LensScaper says:

    I’m always suspicious of signs on properties that declare ‘Coming Soon’. That often means nothing of the kind. It’s just whistling in the wind. Time will tell I guess. As always a great piece of story writing to wrap around some great shots.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thanks Andy, I see that you and share the same belief about those “Coming Soon” signs! LOL I actually think the one on this facility has been there for quite a while now. Anyways, thanks so much for taking the time to give us a visit here today, and for leaving us your comments!!

  11. I have seen this building without taking much notice, but its classic style puts the building up there in terms of historic significance. Reading a comment about an ant infestation makes me think there may be some rot in the building, and seeing it boarded up I am pleasantly surprised by the building’s development plan. As always you have given us an informative essay with excellent photographs

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Thanks so much, from the bottom of our hearts here, Joseph, we sure do appreciate your support my friend!

  12. avatar ehpem says:

    Lots of great information here Toad – very interesting. Like Joseph I have wondered if this building was being left to rot and am pleased it may have a future after all. I love your treatment of the sky, it is just right.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Why, thank you kind sir! We sure do appreciate your friendship & support here, my friend, that means so very much to us!

  13. avatar A.Barlow says:

    I half expected to see someone peaking at me from one of those windows! Once again, excellent work here.

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      You didn’t see a ghost? Obviously, we’ve got to head back and try again!! :) Thanks so much for your kind visit here, Aaron, and for leaving us your fabulous comments good sir, we sure do appreciate it!

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