Parksville attracts hundreds of thousands of summer tourists to any one of its many events and festivals. This includes their lauded summer sandcastle-building competition, which started in 1982.
Parksville has already established itself as a tourism draw, offering a wealth of summer events, outdoor performances and an international sand sculpture competition attracting more than 500,000 annual visitors. Despite strong attendance, events often require renting a stage truck or be held beneath picnic shelters, due to lack of a dedicated outdoor venues that would otherwise enhance the experience for residents and visitors.
The Parksville Beach Festival Society is undertaking development of a community-oriented, multi-purpose, open-air theatre for the performing arts. The 50’x 35’ covered stage will accommodate a wide range of uses from small musical groups to symphony orchestras, as well as dance troupes, stage plays, musical theatre, movies in the park and Indigenous celebrations. Project works will also include lighting, sound and movie screen installation, along with dressing rooms and accessible washrooms to be built in the community park.
The venue, owned and operated by the City of Parksville, will enable events to accommodate 2.5x larger audiences and a higher caliber of performances. As a result, the Parksville Beach Festival Society will be able to organize a greater calendar of events with a higher potential visitor draw, generating associated spending toward local retail, hospitality and new business development. Set to be complete in 2021, the theatre is projected to support nearly $3M in incremental tourism spending in the community, creating 25 permanent jobs. As hotel occupancy rates in all the markets tracked by Destination BC remain significantly higher than earlier in the decade, rising by 15 to 20% from 2012 to 2019, this project also fits well within the region’s future tourism projections.