History

Nanaimo is the third oldest city in BC, and has a long and colourful history. The city is full of heritage buildings and interesting stories and the Nanaimo museums are packed with artifacts from the city's coal mining era, and pre-settlement First Nations communities.

Downtown Nanaimo has amazing historical sites to discover like the HBC Bastion, the Great National Land Building, and dozens of old storefronts and bars along Victoria Crescent and Commercial Street. Take a walk past the old Palace Hotel on Skinner Street and you'll feel as though the clock has turned back to the early 1900s.

For insight into Nanaimo's coal mining days, visit the impressive Morden Mine Historical Site at the south end of town. Or, head over to Newcastle Island, where pieces of coal can be found near the beach at the island's southwest corner. Downtown at Pioneer Plaza the last piece of coal taken from White Rapids Mine in 1949 is on display.

Nanaimo Heritage Walking Tour brochures are available at the Tourism Nanaimo Visitor Centre and the Nanaimo Museum. Also, check out the schedule of events at the Nanaimo Museum, you will find Cemetery Tours and Old City Walking Tours as well as everyday at Noon (May 18-Sept 2) catch the cannon firing re-enactment ceremony at the Bastion. You can tour all three floors of one of the last remaining HBC Bastion's left in North America (summer hours only).

The Vancouver Island Military Museum offers more than 25 exhibits and displays showcasing Canada’s proud Military History and Traditions.

Featured

The Bastion

The Bastion, built in 1853 as an original Hudson’s Bay Company outpost is now a museum that gives great insight into the way of life a century ago....

Nanaimo Museum

Come sit on a Nanaimo Bar at the Nanaimo Museum! Nanaimo’s regional museum is a worthwhile introduction to the area’s past, first as a home for...

Craigdarroch Castle

Welcome to Craigdarroch Castle. Designated as one of Canada's National Historic Sites, this Victorian Castle is a legendary historical house museum. V...

Milner Gardens & Woodland

Vancouver Island University owns this magnificent gardens in Qualicum Beach, BC

Nanaimo Museum

Come sit on a Nanaimo Bar at the Nanaimo Museum! Nanaimo’s regional museum is a worthwhile introduction to the area’s past, first as a home for...

Quw'utsun' Cultural & Conference Centre

First Nations Cultural Centre in Duncan, BC

Royal BC Museum

Presents the natural and human history of the area through three different galleries, natural history, first peoples, and modern history.

Snuneymuxw First Nation

Local First Nation in Nanaimo, BC

The Bastion

The Bastion, built in 1853 as an original Hudson’s Bay Company outpost is now a museum that gives great insight into the way of life a century ago....

The Port Theatre

The Port Theatre is an 800-seat theatre on the breathtaking waterfront in downtown Nanaimo. The purpose of The Port Theatre Society is to stimulate an...

Tracks Outdoor Adventures

Locally owned and operated since 2002! Vancouver Island Tours, Wine & Culinary, Nature Sightseeing, Custom tours, Heritage, Driving & Shuttle services...

Vancouver Island Military Museum

We are now in our new location! Come visit us and see our NEW exhibits includig uniforms, models, weapons, medals, pictures and other artifacts from C...
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