Nanaimo is a community rich in the homegrown: from handmade beverages (we are home to four craft breweries and 2 wineries) to free-range buffalo raised on the land, farm-fresh produce and of course fish straight from our cold waters. We also have a vibrant artistic community, blending everything from tinctures to teas, and crafting traditional First Nations art, as well as glass work and wood sculpture. All of these delights, for each one of your senses, can be found at one of our three outdoor Farmer’s Markets, which typify our homemade handmade lifestyle and the local colour that makes Nanaimo a truly unique place to be.
Browse crafters and farmers and sample their wares at one of these farmer’s markets located in the city of Nanaimo and just beyond.
Downtown Nanaimo Farmer’s Market, City Centre: Friday 10-2pm
Located at the harbour, where you will be at the centre of Nanaimo’s distinct culture and outdoor beauty, this Farmer’s Market features local food and crafts each Friday from 10am – 2pm. The market is now in its 19th year. It is open this year until October 6th.
Make a day of it: Enjoy a farm-to-table breakfast at Gabriel’s café and take a trip into Nanaimo’s history at both the Nanaimo Museum, featuring artifacts from the Snuneymuxw First Nation, and Nanaimo Military Museum, with an impressive collection of war memorabilia from all decades. Be sure to leave plenty of time after your market visit to walk along the harbour (we recommend an ice cream cone to make the walk even sweeter). Check in at any one of the downtown-area hotels to rest up for another day of adventure.
Cedar Market, About 20 minutes south of Nanaimo’s City Centre, Sunday 10-2pm
Find a celebration of food, music and artisans at the Cedar Farmer’s Market every Sunday from 10am to 2pm. This is the largest market in the central Vancouver Island region, with around 70 full-time vendors, and it is bustling with live music, activities for kids and of course farm-fresh produce, homemade bread, fresh meat and artistic creations. The Cedar Market is located on a grassy field near Crow and Gate pub in the beautiful community of Cedar.
Make a day of it: If you haven’t eaten your way through the market (always a risk!) save room for lunch at Crow and Gate pub, a British-style Pub serving the best in pub food, or a frothy beverage at the very least. Take a beautiful stroll through Colliery Dam Park and pack your swimsuit for some of the best freshwater swimming. Visit Yellow Point Cranberry Farm and learn more about how these delicious fruits are grown. Take the 10 minute drive back into Nanaimo’s City Centre and rest your head at any number of hotels, motels, campgrounds and bed and breakfasts.
Island Roots Market Co-Op, About 5 minutes north of the City Centre, Wednesdays 4-6:30pm, Saturday 10-2pm
Head to Beban Park close to central Nanaimo and enjoy this food only Farmers Market every Wednesday and Saturday. Browse the many stalls for farm-fresh food, enjoy a bite to eat when the food trucks are on-site and many times you can also experience live music and activities for kids.
Make a day of it: Work up your appetite for the market by hitting Westwood Lake early Saturday morning. Rent a paddleboard at Westwood Lake Campgrounds and hit this still lake for a delicious and refreshing paddle and swim. Head to the market and enjoy a late morning meal from a food truck, while grazing on farm-fresh produce. After the market, hit Blueback Beach in North Nanaimo. When the tide is out, you can walk the shoreline or simply set up camp on this amazing sandy beach. Be sure to look for the little sea life that call this beach home. After such a delicious day you’ll want to close the curtains on pristine Long Lake before you nestle into the comfort of Inn on Long Lake, a beautiful lakeside hotel in central Nanaimo. Or stay at the Grand Hotel, also in Central Nanaimo, where you can sample from their famous whiskey bar.