History of Parksville
The City of Parksville is located in the heart of Oceanside, on the sheltered east coast of Vancouver Island. We are an active community of about 13,000 made up of urban professionals, families with young children, and retirees who have chosen to live in our community for a quality of life and the region's inspiring natural environment. We were incorporated as a village in 1945, a town in 1978 and a city in 1986.
Early History of Parksville
The City of Parksville is located along the Salish Sea (Strait of Georgia) on the east coast of Vancouver Island. The Coast Salish people were first to call the Parksville area home and have lived in the region from time immemorial. The Coast Salish are eighteen First Nations located throughout the Salish Sea, each with their own distinct culture and language.
Captain Vancouver came to explore Vancouver Island in 1792 and it was not until 1850 that the Parksville area was named Englishman’s River (now known as Englishman River), due to the drowning of an Englishman trying to cross. In 1855 the area was surveyed up to the Alberni Valley by Adam Grant Horne on behalf of the Hudson’s Bay Company. In the 1860’s, preceding the arrival of the first settler John Hirst (1870), a trail was built joining Victoria to Comox. It was not until 1883 that the first non-First-Nations permanent resident settled in the area alongside the Englishman’s River. Three years later in 1886, a 24-mile wagon road was completed from Nanaimo to Englishman’s River with construction extending to Comox.
In 1887, the Englishman River Post Office was renamed the Parksville Post Office after Nelson Parks, the postmaster. Nelson Parks lived in a small shack on the land, which is now the Parksville Community Park, and it is said that during a gathering in his humble shack is where the City gained the namesake, “Parksville”.
During this time, logging was a major industry and the extension of the Esquimalt and Nanaimo (E & N) Railway in 1901, spurred Parksville’s growth and the beginning of a tourism boom, mainly Vancouver Islanders who travelled to Parksville to enjoy the incredible beaches. Motels, stores, resorts and campgrounds soon followed.
History of Parksville Community Park
Parksville telephone directory - July 19, 1935
Incorporation document - June 19, 1945