The Island's second largest city, Nanaimo is a fun filled energetic city with a lovely harbour, glorious parks , and a huge
assortment of exciting activities.
Nanaimo, POP 72.000
Known as the Harbour City, Nanaimo is easy to get to, and it's central location makes it an excellent base for day tours of
Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.
To get to Nanaimo, take BC Ferries'ships from Vancouver's Horseshoe Bay Terminal to Departure Bay.ln addition, eight
ferries arrive and depart daily between Tsawwassen and Duke Point Ferry Terminal, just South of Nanaimo.
Nanaimo is the ideal destination for conventions and business meetings, sporting events and activities, a year round golf getaway, a romantic weekend, or an exhilarating adventure.
Famous for its varied landscapes and more than two dozen parks, the city boasts one of the most beautiful waterfronts in Canada.
Here are just a few of Nanaimo's attractions:
The Harbourside Walkway, a 4-kilometer network of public walkways between Harbour Park Mall and Departure Bay Ferry
Terminal, grants wonderful views of the harbour and Newcastle, Protection and Gabriola Island. The Bastion and the Nanaimo
District Museum are situated along this walkway which passes through several park areas.
Each July, Nanaimo hosts the internationally acclaimed Marine Festival and World
Championship Bathtub Race. Daring tubbers race from the Nanaimo harbour, around offshore islands, and back to the city with an exciting finish.
During the summer, see the artifacts and exhibits of the newly restored Bastion in downtown Nanaimo. Built in 1853, the Bastion is the oldest structure of its kind in North America. Daily at noon, watch the cannon-firing ceremony, complete with Scottish bag piper and Highland dance.
Incorporated in 1874, Nanaimo is the third oldest city in B.C.
Stroll through this historic city and see the outstanding examples of well-preserved nineteenth- century buildings and sites.
With moorage for more than 500 boats in its harbour, Nanaimo is an ideal base for boaters wishing to explore the Gulf Islands to the south and the Fjord Country Desolation Sound area to the north.
Scuba dive in the Nanaimo waters and discover the richness of the area's marine life. In June 1997, the naval destroyer "WCS Saskatchewan' was sunk oft Snake Island to serve as an
artifical reef and it is now teeming with marine life.
Wildlife and nature enthusiasts will love the Morell Nature Sanctuary, Pipers 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.
Experienced hikers will enjoy the challenges of Nanaimo Lakes, Green Mountain, Mount Benson, Nanaimo River, Dodd's Narrows, Neck Point, Newcastle Island, and Westwood Lake Park. Near Duke Point Ferry terminal , try the hiking trails at Biggs park and Jack Point.
Sport fish for salmon, cod, or red snapper year round, or drop a trap for crab and shrimp, Licences are available from local outlets.
Tee off on any of twenty golf courses within an hour's drive of Nanaimo. Courses range from family mini-golf to Canadian Tour professional facilities.
A mecca for shoppers, Nanaimo offers a tremendous choice of shopping options ranging from unique art and gift shops in historic buildings, to modem shopping centers.
Home to world-champion chefs, Nanaimo has many outstanding restaurants offering truly fine dining. Nanaimo is also home to Canada's only floating marine pub, accessible by a ten minute ferry ride from the Boat Basin.
Musically, Nanaimo has been dubbed "jazz city", and not only because it is home to divas Diana Krall and Ingrid Jensen! Local musicians perform at coffee houses, restaurants, nightclubs and pubs across the city almost every night, providing diners with a plethora of musical styles to state the senses.
NANAIMO has a rich culture and history to share with every traveller!
The city's name originated when the first white settlers tried to adapt a Coast Salish word into English. The Coast Salish people called themselves " Sneneymexw " which is translated to mean "" great and mighty people".
Day Tours from Nanaimo
Just minutes south east of Nanaimo, the communities of Cedar and Yellow Point will enchant you with their rolling landscapes and rural setting.
This region offers a wide variety of craft shops and cottage industries, from pottery to stained glass. Take a tour of Harmac Pulp Mill!
Further south, Chemainus is famous for the bright murals that bring the history of the town alive on local buildings.
In Duncan, the City of Totems, catch a steam train at the BC Forest Museum, where you can discover over a century of Vancouver Island's forest history.
Take a walking tour of the 41 totem poles erected around Duncan, to fully experience the proud First Nations heritage of Central Vancouver Island.
Stop in at Cowichan Native Village to see an outstanding museum of First Nations Exhibits, carving demonstrations, story telling, traditional salmon barbecues and more.
Just one and a half hours from Nanaimo, our historic capital city VICTORIA is a great way to spend the day. Take a horse and carriage ride through town, visit world famous Butchart Gardens, or drive up Mount Douglas for a breathtaking view over the Malahat to Mount Bakker.
In the Parksville area, visit Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park, one of the most popular beaches in Central Vancouver Island.
Go on a fantastic and educational "spelunking tour" of Home Lake Caves. north of Parksville. Englishman River Falls Provincial Park is another jewel you'll find in your trip north.
The village of Coombs is famous for the family of goats that munch on the grass roof of the town's market!
Stroll along the turbulent river and waterfalls at Little Qualicum Falls provincial Park.
Stop at awe-inspiring Cathedral Grove in MacMillan Park and take the path through the dense, towering forest to an incredible 800-year-old Douglas fir tree that survived a fire 300 years ago; most of the trees in the park date from the time of that fire. The largest tree measures 3 meters in diameter, and stands 75 meters high.
Port Alberni is the gateway to Vancouver Island's Pacific Rim region.
Board the M.V.Lady Rose or the Frances Barkley and cruise through the fjord-like Alberni Inlet to the picturesque outpost of Bamfield or to Uculet.
Angle for steelhead in the Stamp river or fly fish for trout in pristine mountain lakes.
Cruise or Kayak to the far end of Great Central Lake and trek to Della Falls, North America's highest waterfall at 444 meters, in the southern section of Strathcona Provincial Park.
Visit Pacific Rim National Park Reserve on the West Coast of Vancouver Island.
Composed of three units, Long Beach, the Broken Group Islands, and the West Coast Trail, the Park spans 130 kilometer of shoreline. Whether you choose strolling the beach, watching whales in the near shore waters, exploring a tide pool with a park naturalist, camping in the Broken Group Islands, or back-packing along the West Coast Trail's " Graveyard of the Pacific", a visit to this wondrous park is sure to provide life-long memories.
Further information on destinations on Vancouver Island can be found here: