Stretched along the central east coast of Vancouver Island, appearing like arms reached out to welcome visitors, is the city of Nanaimo & Region, the heartbeat of the Island. Here, we set the pace of "Island time" with ferry horns, sea lion barks and the quiet roar of floatplanes passing above.
Nanaimo is filled with a colourful past of intriguing characters and historic roots than run deep as blackened coal, where the historic HBC Bastion still proudly stands on guard firing its cannons daily throughout the summer. Immerse yourself in a lush, green forests where a waterfall with fossils embedded in the creek sparkles as the thundering falls create a mist of magic you can't take your eyes off of. Nanaimo is a place where one can island hop to enchanting beaches, to find waters warmed by sandstone and a floating pub ready to serve you a pint of our local craft.
Here you're on island time, so you might as well crack one and sit back. Longwood Brewery has just released the uniquely crafted "Island Time Lager" using only ingredients sourced within 20km of the brewery. Be sure to say hello to greeter Milo, a Labradoodle who makes you feel right at home the moment you walk in the door.
If you prefer something dark and mysterious, White Sails Brewing can introduce you to their Snake Island Cascadian Dark Ale. White Sails encourages you to dine in by bringing your favourite fare from one of the many surrounding restaurants and pairing it with one of their great beers. With views across to Maffeo Sutton Park and the waterfront, you can sit by the cozy fireplace and drift into your happy place.
Continuing south on the trail is Wolf Brewing Company, tucked off the beaten path but not to be missed. The tasting room has a warm yet industrial feel. Here brew master Kevin will introduce you to his 'Old World Style' of brewing with beers such as the 'Wee Heavy' Scotch Ale.
In Nanaimo, you have the luxury of booking a customized Craft Brewery or Taste of Nanaimo Tour with Vancouver Island Expeditions. Leave your keys at the hotel and climb aboard with travel curator Leif for a customized tour including breweries, estate winery, vodka distillery and even a hops farm.
Nanaimo - a region that for so long has kept its beauty hidden, only those who chose to dig deeper would find the natural wonders that exist with a closer look. Come #ExploreNanaimo with us.