Nanaimo – The Harbor City

Nanaimo is British Colombia’s sixth largest city with a population of 85,000. It is now a fast-growing urban center that is no longer merely the premier getaway to Vancouver Island. Nanaimo sports an ideally temperate climate of mild rainy winters and cool dry summers. It has a generally centralized location on Vancouver Island because of which long term visitors tend to use it as a base of operations for exploring the island. As the site of the main ferry terminal, Nanaimo also happens to be the gateway to many other destinations on the northern part of the island.

Things to do/attractions

Hiking, biking, boating, kayaking, world-class scuba diving and snorkeling are everyday activities at the bustling waterfront of the Harbor City. Trail up Mount Benson, Nanaimo’s highest neighboring peak or take a dive into Westwood Lake, a favorite spot for swimmers. Nanaimo is also famous for having a Canadian dessert named after it: the Nanaimo Bar – a no-bake custard-filled cookie bar. Annual Nanaimo Marine Festival featuring the always exciting ‘bath tub’ races, Nanaimo Art Gallery and the Buttertubs Marsh Bird Sanctuary are not to be missed. The Port Theatre in downtown Nanaimo regularly hosts excellent live performances. Nanaimo is also home to the largest sports club in Vancouver Island – The Harbor City Football Club. For a thrilling day out, visit the Wildplay Element Parks, known for its famous Bungee Jumping Bridge.

Hospitals, schools, colleges, public transport

The Nanaimo Regional General Hospital is always open for service, proffering all kinds of facilities. School District 68 Nanaimo – Ladysmith has 48 primary and secondary schools in it. Vancouver Island University is the prominent post-secondary institution in the area. Private school families are serviced by Aspengrove, Nanaimo’s first and only independent, IB, non-denominational, co-educational, university-preparatory school. Nanaimo is served by a regional airport with services to Vancouver, Calgary, Victoria and Seattle. Nanaimo also has 2 BC ferry terminals located at Departure Bay and Duke Point. Bus service in the city is provided by Nanaimo Regional Transport.


Nanaimo shopping features a wide variety of retail stores, galleries, boutiques, restaurants, grocery stores, and professional centers. North Nanaimo is best known for the shopping malls strung along the Island Highway – notably the Woodgrove Shopping Centre, one of the largest such megamalls on Vancouver Island.

Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit

The highlight of all attractions present in the Vancouver Island is definitely the Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit. Located opposite Mount Prevost in Cowichan Valley, it is a private membership club and motorsports playground. Features include a 2.3-kilometer road course, a dynamic driving area to hone reactive skills, and a 1.0 kilometer off-road proving ground. Motorsport aficionados will never want to leave!

Why would someone want to live here?

Being at once rustic and exciting, relaxing and adventurous, Nanaimo offers the best of both worlds with its unique ability to offer something for everyone, no matter what they’re seeking. There’s no shortage of amenities and facilities in this little town that houses nearly 100,000 happy residents who love their town for all its exhilarating and peaceful prospects.