Festivals and Events

Nanaimo is famous for its love of quirky fun, which truly kicked off in 1967 when a former mayor of Nanaimo famously donned a pirate costume, raised his sword and launched Nanaimo’s first annual Bathtub Race. “Tubbers” and visitors from around the world have been coming to Nanaimo for more than 40 years to take part in this now world famous festival and race.

Bathtub Races is just one of our many festivals and events in Nanaimo. Check out our Calendar of Events for exciting events showcasing everything from wine and food festivals to the Diwali Festival of Lights and the Nanaimo Pumpkin Festival.

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Events for September 2017 › Public

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The play’s the thing – Shakespeare by the Sea and more in Nanaimo

August 17, 2017

More than 400 years after William Shakespeare penned a play, we still can’t get enough of the loveable Bard. It’s no wonder Will’s timeless wit, wisdom, tragedies and comedies keep people coming back every year for Nanaimo’s immensely popular festival, Shakespeare by the Sea. This year it will be held Sept. 15 -17. The seaside location at Pioneer Waterfront Plaza puts a Nanaimo spin on Shakespeare’s works, as does the Vancouver Island Shakespeare Arts Society (VISAS) interpretation on his plays. This year, VISAS will perform the tragedy, King Lear, along with an abridged version of The Complete Works of William […]

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Legendary fun in Nanaimo: First the Dragon Boat races, then some otherworldly adventures

July 5, 2017

The Dragon Boat Festival in Nanaimo doesn’t have a lot to do with the mythical, fire-spewing creatures they’re named after. It has everything to do, however, with fierce fun, teamwork and enjoying a slew of events over three days. Dragonboat image by Nancy Shields The main event goes July 7-9 at the harbour near Maffeo Sutton Park. You can cheer on the 70 teams of 20 paddlers as they churn up the waters in a battle to cross the finish line first. Before- and after-race fun includes land-based events like the Shriner’s pancake breakfast, Longwood Brewery beer gardens and sampling […]

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