Qualicum Beach, Parksville and Sidney have more seniors per capita than almost anywhere else in Canada.
For the first time since Confederation the number of seniors in Canada outnumber children, according to the latest Statistics Canada 2016 Census data.
On Vancouver Island, Qualicum Beach has one of the most senior populations in Canada and just down the road in Parksville, more seniors make the city home than just about anywhere else in Canada as well.
“You’re not surprised by that? No I’m not” answered Reg Klassen who was walking along the Parksville waterfront Wednesday. “Almost everyone here is grey-haired.”
The latest census data shows that 51.2% of those living in Qualicum Beach are seniors followed in BC by Osoyoos at 42.9%, Parksville at 42.4% and Sidney at 40.9%.
Parksville is known as a retirement community, a label the mayor doesn’t like very much.
“I’m not very comfortable with it because the retirees here are very, very active.” Marc Lefebvre told CHEK News.
And he’s right. CHEK News found a group of seniors playing walking soccer Wednesday at Parksville’s popular Community Park.
The men and women are part of the Parksville Golden Oldies Sports Association, that has 1500 members.
“I’ve holidayed in this area for 30-some years, I finally was smart enough to move.” said Roger Marceniuk who was playing soccer.
“We’ve got 1500 members that are busy seven days a week” said Rob Jonas, President of PGOSA. “I’m busier now than I ever was when I worked.”
David James lives in Qualicum Beach and says people like him are drawn to the area by the climate as well as the good services for seniors.
“I am actively engaged in half a dozen volunteer groups and we have all the medical and recreational services” said James. “They’re better per capita than anything I ever saw in other cities in Canada.”
A group of young people were watching the seniors play soccer during a break from school and while most of the seniors have come from somewhere else, the teenagers grew up in Parksville.
“I just feel that if this was a younger town too there’d be more stuff to do because it would be all young people trying to get more activities going.” said 18 year old Mikayla Houy.
“There’s like four lawn bowling clubs but nothing for young kids to do.” added 17 year old Emily Skorka.
Mayor Lefebvre says there are many services and activities for teenagers and says the City is always looking at ways to attract younger people and families.