British Columbia


Known as the Habour City, Nanaimo is Vancouver Island's second largest city. Famous for its varies landscapes and more than two dozen parks, the city boasts one of the most beautiful waterfronts in Canada. A playground of land and sea activities, Nanaimo is the perfect destination for a family vacation, a year-round golf getaway, a romantic weekend, or an exhilarating adventure. Jut a few of Nanaimo's many attractions are:

  • The Habourside Walkway, a 4-km (2.5 mi) network of public walkways between Habour Park Mall and Departure Bay Ferry Terminal, grants wonderful views of the harbour and Newcastle, Protection, and Gabriola Islands. The Bastion and the Museum are situated along this walkway which passes through several park areas, including Georgia and Maffeo Sutton Park.
  • The regional museum presents excellent depictions of Nanaimo's long and colourful history. Highlights include Native exhibits, archaeological artefacts, and an amazing replica of a coal mine, complete with sound effects.
  • The Hudson's Bay Company Bastion, erected in 1852, is the oldest structure of its kind in North America. In summer, investigate the Bastion's artefacts and exhibits and watch for the daily cannon-firing ceremony at noon.
  • Incorporated in 1874, Nanaimo is the third oldest city in BC. Stroll through this historic city to see the outstanding examples of well preserved pioneer buildings and sites.
  • Several art galleries, including an incredible centre at Malaspina Univerdity College, showcase the works of local, national, and international artists.
  • Nanaimo's impressive calendar of entertainment events is highlighted by the Nanaimo Festival Theatre which presents a series of plays and special events.
  • A Mecca for shoppers, Nanaimo offers a tremendous array of shopping options from unique art and gift shops in historic buildings, to modern shopping centres.
  • Wildlife and nature enthusiasts will love the Morrell Nature Sanctuary, Piper's Lagoon Park, Buttertubs Marsh Bird Sanctuary, the hundreds of eagles at Gabriola Cliffs and the thousands of Alaskan stellar and Californian sea lions that arrive between October and March to feed on spawning herring.
Genuinely a recreation city, Nanaimo offers plenty of action-packed, outdoor opportunities:
  • Canoe, kayak, sail, or cruise the waters of the Nanaimo area. Two excellent harbours, along with Newcastle Marine Park, make Nanaimo a boater's delight. Charter and bare boat rentals are available.
  • Sport fish for salmon, cod, or red snapper year-round, or drop a trap for crab and other shellfish. Licences are available from local outlets. Fish from a boat or from the fishing pier on the on the Habourside Walkway.
  • Scuba dive in the Nanaimo waters, particularly in Gabriola Pass, and discover the richness of the area's marine life. Equipment rentals, lessons, and boat charters are available.
  • Bring the whole family to Bowen Park; this fun-filled recreation park features a petting zoo, a nature centre, swimming and wading pools, hiking trails, and more.
  • Experienced hikers and canoeists will enjoy the challenge of Nanaimo River, Dodd's Narrows, and Westwood Lake Park.
  • Board the ferry at Maffeo Sutton Park for Newcastle Island Provincial Marine Park and spend a day hiking, cycling, swimming, and wildlife watching.
  • Tee off on any of 19 golf courses within an hour's drive of Nanaimo. Courses range from family minigolf to Canadian Tour professional facilities.
  • For the truly brave, try bungy jumping from the bridge over Nanaimo River.
  • Each July, when Nanaimo hosts the internationally acclaimed bathtub race, watch hundreds of daring tubbers challenge the wild water of Georgia Strait in a 48-km (30-mi) race to the beaches of Vancouver.
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