A ten-minute walk from the shops and cafés in QB’s village core lies the sparkling oasis of Grandon Creek canyon. You hear it before you see it. The sound of the rushing water draws you closer, and then down into a world apart.
Nature, trees and water are so well recognized now for having restorative and health benefits that doctors, even here in BC, prescribe “nature break” therapy. Grandon Creek canyon is a perfect example of the benefits Mother Nature offers us.
Grandon Creek canyon is located in the northwest area of Qualicum Beach, a community of about 10,000 people. The upper access is at Hoylake Road W (off Arbutus St) and the lower access is at Crescent Road W (off Hwy 19A, Island Hwy), where the creek empties onto the beach and into the ocean (Salish Sea). There are small parking areas near each access point.
We begin this visit to Grandon Creek from the top. As we descend the cantilevered wooden stairway, the fragrant canyon air unleashes a surge of endorphins. The steel mesh grid on the stair treads provides secure footing.
We visited as the sun broke through, just after a week of steady rains had soaked the canyon. Listen to the sounds of the water here, tumbling down through the creek bed.
Grandon Creek could be called a “pocket canyon.” It’s only half a kilometre or so in length, but it transports souls to another time and place. Half an hour in the canyon is like a week’s vacation. The terrain and stairs can offer a good workout too, depending on whether you travel up or down, (and how many times you are willing to take the route!).
We encountered one gentleman during our trek through the canyon who recalled the recent death of a friend. At his friend’s request, the man’s daughter spread his ashes along the creek perimeter so that he could continue to enjoy this exquisite corner of the world that we are privileged to share.
Kudos to the Qualicum Beach Streamkeepers for the dlligent and highly effective efforts of their volunteers over many years to protect the precious community asset that is Grandon Creek. In our recent profile Bigleaf maple syrup runs in the family, Philip and Allison Bowers, owners of QB’s Autumn Leaves Maple Farm, were also effusive in their praise of QB Streamkeepers for their management and nurturing of French Creek which runs through their property.
The only negative thing we encountered during our latest visit to Grandon Creek was seeing that the Town of Qualicum Beach has removed yet another bench, the one that had been at the head of Grandon Creek on Hoylake Road W, overlooking the canyon below. It was the only bench along Grandon Creek.
Book celebrating QB’s Grandon Creek canyon just published
On a very positive note, Grandon Creek is being celebrated in a book by local photographer David J. Cotton, published on September 12, 2021, called Grandon Creek During The 2020-21 Pandemic.
David Cotton writes, “In the past I have often walked along Grandon Creek’s trail near our home. It is a local gem, offering new discoveries with the changing of the seasons. After escaping Spain as the Covid-19 pandemic tore through Europe in March of 2020 I sought comfort in this quiet sanctuary while the virus swept across the entire world. As the year progressed I saw some parallels between the forces shaping the life of the Creek and the struggles plaguing our pandemic- ridden planet.”
Here are samples from the 50-page book of colour images and thoughtful insights from the author.
Grandon Creek During The 2020-21 Pandemic by David J. Cotton is published by Blurb Books, and can be ordered online or from Qualicum Beach’s own local independent Mulberry Bush Book Store.