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Tour Memorial Avenue

After you’ve enjoyed a visit to the Parksville Outdoor Theatre in the Community Park, it’s time to discover Memorial Avenue.

Memorial Avenue

Make a left turn onto Memorial Avenue, and you’ll find yourself on one of Parksville’s most storied and welcoming streets. In the wake of the First World War, the Parksville Women’s Institute made a poignant choice by designating this avenue as a memorial to the brave men from Parksville who lost their lives in service overseas during the war.

As a tribute to each fallen soldier, an elm tree was lovingly planted, and these trees stand tall and proud to this day, preserving the memory of these courageous individuals and their sacrifice. Walking along Memorial Avenue, you can’t help but feel the weight of history and the enduring spirit of remembrance that graces this remarkable street.

Memorial Plaza

Established in 2022, Memorial Plaza has quickly become a vibrant hub for a myriad of events that grace Parksville throughout the year. This inviting space offers a multitude of opportunities, whether you’re seeking a tranquil spot to enjoy takeout for a leisurely and shaded lunch or planning a rendezvous with a friend beneath the comforting canopy of the city’s historical elm trees.

Memorial Plaza stands as a testament to the town’s commitment to community and connection, serving as a welcoming place for residents and visitors alike. For a comprehensive overview of the exciting events happening in Parksville Downtown, be sure to click here to access the Parksville Downtown Calendar of Events.

Rod and Gun Bar & Grill

As your visit to Memorial Plaza ends, head towards Alberni Hwy. Cast your gaze to the right and you’ll come upon the historic Rod and Gun Bar and Grill. The roots of this establishment trace back to the early days of Parksville’s history.

In 1885, the pioneering spirit of John and Anne Hirst led them to be the first to settle at the mouth of the Englishman River. Here, John and his brothers embarked on farming endeavors and constructed their first hotel, the Seaview. Unfortunately, the Seaview met a fiery end, but this setback didn’t deter John Hirst. He purchased a wooded plot of land from Theodore Parks, the town’s inaugural postmaster and the source of Parksville’s name.

With determination and vision, John erected a new hotel in 1896, known as the Rod and Gun Hotel. The name was a reflection of the hotel’s popularity among the numerous hunters and fishermen who frequented the area. This landmark was among the very first structures to be built within the present town site, symbolizing the enduring spirit of Parksville’s past and its continuing commitment to hospitality.

Over the years, the hotel has undergone several renovations and transformations. While it may no longer offer accommodations as it did in its early days, the Rod & Gun has maintained its presence as a thriving pub and restaurant on the same historic site since 1998.

During the summer months, visitors and locals alike are drawn to the charming and shaded patio located on the side of the building. This delightful outdoor space serves as an ideal spot to enjoy a leisurely lunch or partake in a refreshing afternoon beverage, adding to the enduring allure of the Rod & Gun as a beloved gathering place in the heart of Parksville.


Ready for the last leg of our tour? Discover the heart of Parksville Downtown and Middleton Avenue.


Parksville Downtown

Once you have enjoyed the sights at the Island Hall and Old Beach Club resort, continue the tour towards Parksville Downtown.

Hwy 19A

Climb the small road up to Hwy 19A – affectionately known to the locals as the old Island Highway. This historic route has woven itself into the local memories since its inception in 1912. Originally a rugged gravel road, the Island Hwy underwent several progressive expansions to accommodate the burgeoning growth of this region throughout the 20th century.

During the late 1990s through the early 2000s, a significant construction effort gave birth to the ‘Inland Island Highway,’ designed to modernize travel routes on Vancouver Island. While the new Island Highway replaced Hwy 19A as the primary choice for most island travelers, the old Island Hwy remains a beloved choice for those seeking a picturesque and relaxing journey along the coast.

Parksville Downtown

As you cross the old Island Hwy, you will be entering the heart of our downtown business district – Parksville Downtown. Greeting you as you cross is a captivating public art installation that eloquently conveys the three fundamental layers of our biosphere: the sky, the land, and the sea. It’s a testament to the deep connection between this community and its natural surroundings.

You will also see one of several information kiosks placed throughout the Parksville Downtown area to assist in your exploration.

Vintage Shops

Heading up McMillan Street you will pass by Morison Street, the home of eclectic restaurants and vintage shops. Morison Street is just the beginning of your culinary and shopping adventure in Parksville Downtown. Throughout the area, a treasure trove of restaurants, vintage shops and locally-owned businesses eagerly await your exploration. Each of these establishments adds its own unique charm and character, personifying the way of life in Parksville, and promising a delightful and diverse experience for all who visit.


As you draw near to Memorial Avenue, you will discover the home of the McMillan Arts Centre (The MAC) on the right side of McMillan Street. Once Parksville’s McMillan School, it originally constructed in 1914 to accommodate the area’s growing student population. For decades, it served as an educational cornerstone for the community. With the opening of the new Parksville Elementary School in 1977, the McMillan School bid a farewell to its last generation of students. But its story was far from over.

Thanks to the determined efforts of the local arts community, the old McMillan School underwent a remarkable transformation. In 1986, it reopened its doors as The MAC – a vibrant community art center. Today, The MAC serves as a cherished venue for art exhibitions, captivating music performances, and a variety of other arts and culture events. It proudly functions as the ticket office for performances at the Parksville Outdoor Theatre in the Community Park, embodying its commitment to fostering creativity and culture within the city.


Continue to make memories down Memorial Avenue on this leisurely walking tour.