The city of Nanaimo is a classic West Coast community, offering natural beauty at every turn, and vast recreation potential. Nanaimo has one of the longest shorelines in Canada, and a forested mountain backdrop just outside downtown. Here, you can go from the wilderness to the city centre in just a few minutes, and spend more time in the places you want to be.
As the second largest city on Vancouver Island, Nanaimo promises a lively and unique urban experience. Downtown along Commercial Street, Victoria Crescent, and Fitzwilliam Street is a thriving mix of restaurants, music venues, shops, galleries, and exciting nightspots. The Vancouver Island Conference Centre, a brand new, state-of-the-art facility set in the heart of the city, is already attracting another wave of retail and service businesses that cater to visitors. Nanaimo is also home to Woodgrove Centre, the largest shopping centre on Vancouver Island. There are also several other attractive retail shopping centres throughout the city.
What's special about Nanaimo is that it has it all, in a surprisingly affordable package. From hotel room rates to restaurant menus, experiences are generally less expensive and more accessible here than in Vancouver and Victoria.
Where is Nanaimo?
Nanaimo, BC is located on the east coast of Vancouver Island, 113 km north of Victoria, and 55 km across the Strait of Georgia from Vancouver. The city projects out into the strait like a headland, affording waterfront on three sides and spectacular ocean views at every turn. BC Ferry terminals in Departure Bay and Duke Point link Nanaimo directly to the Vancouver metro area, and smaller ferries offer service to and from several islands pressed up against the shore here. Gabriola Island, Protection Island, and Mudge Island (without ferry service) are home to small communities, while forest and field-covered Newcastle Island is designated as a provincial marine park. The local landscape is defined by Mount Benson, which rises 1,006 metres (3,300 feet) just west of Nanaimo, and the Nanaimo River estuary, the largest estuary on Vancouver Island, which flows into Nanaimo Harbour at the south end of the city.