Approximately 100 miles up the east coast of Vancouver Island from its capital Victoria, Parksville is a small city facing the city of Vancouver on the mainland and connected by ferry via the larger island community 22 miles to its south, Nanaimo. With as population of 12,000, Parksville gets most attention during its annual sandcastle festival named Parksville Beachfest that runs for a couple of weeks in late July and August, which more than 90,000 attend. Parksville has a couple of popular beaches and a campus of Vancouver Island University. The great, huge, beautiful, pristine Northwest Pacific Coast scenery, in addition to unique Parksville MICE venues, are huge draws for this city and region.
The closest international airport to Parksville is the Victoria International Airport (YYJ), which is 100 miles south of Parksville and involves a hook around the Saanich Peninsula. It has direct service to such American cities as Las Vegas, San Francisco, Seattle and Toronto, as well as to Nanaimo on a small jet. Vancouver International Airport (YVR) has even greater reach but, of course, requires a ferry ride and bus transfer first.
The largest meeting space in the area of Parksville is the 15,000-square-foot Qualicum Beach Civic Centre, eight miles farther north, which has reception space for 650 persons, banquet space for 450 and five meeting rooms for up to 100.
Parksville MICE hotels with wonderful sea views include the 192-room Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort & Conference Centre, which has an array of hotel rooms and log bungalows and 10,000 square feet of event space; the 149-room Beach Club Resort, which has the Oceanic Ballroom for 150 persons and another cozy meeting room; the 82-room Travelodge Parksville, with room for meetings of up to 110 persons; the 65-room Sunrise Ridge Waterfront Resort, which can cater to groups of up to 70 persons; and the 50-room Beach Acres Resort, which sits on 23 acres of forested land and has space for up to 200 persons.
Unique MICE venues in the Parksville and Qualicum Beach areas include Oceanside Place Arena, which not only has an ice rink but also two arenas for up to 1,000 persons, a 1.200-square-foot meeting room and a lobby, among other spaces; Pheasant Glen Golf Club, which has 18 holes of golf and function space for up to 120 persons; McMillan Arts Centre, which has three function spaces, including the very attractive Concert Gallery; very pretty Crown Mansion Boutique Hotel & Villas, a seasonal resort built I 1912, has welcomed such luminaries as John Wayne and the King of Siam and has 11 guestrooms, a wonderful restaurant, meeting space and neat gardens, and, for something very different, Horne Lake Cave & Outdoor Centre, which can set up a meeting in the centre or in the cave and, with full equipment, arranges adventurous tours of its subterranean depths of up to five hours.
Restaurants able to host groups in the area include Shady Waterfront, which opened in 1924 and has a terrace and a pub room; Black Goose Inn, inside the 1921 Samuel Maclure House and with a Scottish vibe; Thalassa Restaurant, which is part of the Qualicum Beach Golf Club and has a fine-dining menu with views across the Georgia Strait (look for whales); Bistro 694, another fine-dining spot featuring local wines, and the casual Bayside Bistro & Lounge at the 59-room Quality Resort Bayside, which has meeting space for 200 persons.