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Parksville Beach part of nation-wide contest

Parksville Beach may be officially deemed paradise if it wins a nation-wide contest seeking the greatest place in Canada.

The sandy, expansive beach has recently been nominated for the Canadian Institute of Planners' awards, which has three categories: public places, neighbourhoods and streets.

Parksville Beach is in the public places category. Mayor Chris Burger said it's no surprise the beautiful oceanfront was put forward as a candidate for one of the best places in the country.

"The waterfront is the jewel in the crown of this community," said Burger. "We're so fortunate to have such a beautiful place that is such a great destination for so many people."

In 1923, the Parksville Women's Institute fundraised money to purchase 39 acres of waterfront land. This area became the Community Park which was run by the Community Park Society for 40 years before being turned over to the City in 1963.

Parksville Beach is best known for hosting the annual five-week beach festival, which includes the Quality Foods Sand Sculpting Competition and Exhibition. This year, the festival welcomed more than 90,000 visitors.

The beach also boasts a one acre wheelchair accessible playground and water park, both of which are funded by the Parksville Lions Club. Moreover, the park includes amenities such as sports fields, beach volleyball sandpits, a skate park, tennis courts, a lacrosse box, curling rink, outdoor gym equipment, picnic shelters and an arboretum.

Aside from the many recreational activities that take place at Parksville Beach, there is also a one-kilometre long, five-metre wide boardwalk that lines the oceanfront offering unobstructed views of the Georgia Strait and coastal mountains.  Parksville Beach is located near the city’s downtown core and provides a sense of identity and community for residents and visitors alike.

Parksville Beach is vying against Ontario’s Blockhouse Island, Alberta’s Broadmoor Lake Park and Port Alberni’s Sproat Lake, among others. To vote for your favourite place in Canada visit: www.greatplacesincanada.ca/en. Voting is open until Sept. 25 and the winners will be announced on World Town Planning Day Nov. 7.

The winners will be determined by a panel of professional planners chosen by the Canadian Institute of Planners. A plaque will be presented to the mayor in the community of the winning location.

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