Located on the east side of Vancouver Island, Nanaimo is a vibrant town that is full of recreational activities for visitors and residents alike. Nicknamed the “Harbor City”, Nanaimo is nestled between mountains and the ocean. Because of its premier location which connects the Central and North Vancouver Islands, it is known as an economic hub and has a bustling business community, and provides an exceptional quality of life for its residents.
Read along as we discuss the top 10 most common questions about Nanaimo and discover what makes this town a great place to live in
1. What to do in Nanaimo?
There is no shortage of things to do in Nanaimo. In this town, you will get beautiful and unique Canadian views of the mountain and ocean. The most attractive thing about this town is the plethora of outdoor activities that you can do. There are public nature parks that house hiking trails that lead to picturesque waterfalls. If you are looking for adventure, you’ve come to the right place.
With over 800 hectares and 170 kilometers of trail, the biggest asset of Nanaimo is its park system. Here are some of the popular parks that you can explore:
Nanaimo is first and foremost a great community to build a family because of the plethora of outdoor playgrounds that you can take your kids to. Here are some of the kid-friendly spaces that you can take advantage of:
- Altrusa Playground
- Harewood Centennial Park
- Harbourside Playground
- Mansfield Park
- Oliver Woods Playground
If you are looking for a sporting field that you can practice your sport in, Nanaimo has a lot of options when it comes to athletic fields. Some of the fields that you can check out are:
- Barney Moriez Park
- Departure Bay Centennial Park
- Caledonia Sports Field
- Diver Lake Park
- Elaine Hamilton Park
When it comes to art and culture, there are several museums that you can check out in Nanaimo that exhibit the rich culture of this vibrant and urban town. Some of the museums are:
- Nanaimo Museum
- Port Theatre
- Harbour City Theatre
- Nanaimo Art Gallery
- Vancouver Island Conference Center
Shopping in Nanaimo is an eclectic mix of big-name retailers and one-of-a-kind boutiques that you will not find anywhere else. Whatever it is that you are looking for, you will surely find it in Nanaimo. Popular shopping centers include:
- Port Place Shopping Center
- Country Club Center
- Nanaimo North Town Center
- Woodgrove Center
- The Arts District in Downtown Nanaimo
- Old City Quarter
- Waterfront District in the Harbourfront Walkway
Throughout the year, Nanaimo has a fun-filled calendar of things to do when it comes to festivals and outdoor events. Some of the famous festivals that you can partake in are:
- Bathtub Races
- Longwoodstock craft beer and music festival
- Nanaimo Bar crawl and trail
2. How far is Nanaimo from Victoria?
Victoria is the capital of British Columbia and is located on the Southern end of Vancouver Island. The distance between Nanaimo and Victoria is 68 miles and it will take you 1 hour and 38 minutes to travel between the two places by driving.
3. What time is it in Nanaimo?
The time in Nanaimo is in the Pacific Time Zone.
4. How far is Tofino from Nanaimo?
Located on the West Coast of Canada, Tofino is a small district on Vancouver Island. The distance between Tofino and Nanaimo is approximately 182 miles. You can cover this distance by driving through the Trans-Canada Highway which will take you 4 hours or you can cut this travel time in half by traveling through Ferry Boat.
5. Where to eat in Nanaimo?
Nanaimo has a lot of restaurants and eateries that you can try out, which makes it a destination for foodies. Whether you are looking for a fine-dining sit-down restaurant or a place where you can grab quick bites, you will be treated to gastronomical feasts in any of these restaurants and breweries:
- Modern Cafe
- Top Notch Burgers
- Melange Restaurants
- Asteras Greek Taverna
- Sukkhothai Restaurant
- Firehouse Grill
- Pirate Chips
- Wolf Brewing Company
- Longwood Brewery
- White Sails Brewing
6. What is the population of Nanaimo?
With around 90,000 people, the town of Nanaimo is considered a mid-sized town because of its population. The number of people living in Nanaimo is a testament to the livability of Nanaimo and the great quality of life that it brings to its residents. Whether you are a local, looking to relocate, or a retiree looking for a new town to call your home, Nanaimo is very attractive because of the abundance of recreational activities that you can do and the general friendliness of its residents.
7. Where is Nanaimo?
Nanaimo can be found on the eastern side of Vancouver Island. It is located around 69 miles off of the coast of Victoria and 55 miles west of Vancouver. Nicknamed the Harbor City, Nanaimo is the location of the main ferry terminal that connects the northern parts of the island to the rest of the areas.
8. How to get to Nanaimo from Vancouver?
Since Nanaimo is the main ferry destination, the easiest way that you can get from Vancouver to Nanaimo is by ferry. You can depart from Horsehoe Bay in Vancouver, travel 1 hour and 40 minutes and get to Downtown Nanaimo. The other option is you can travel to Tsawwassen and add another 15 minutes to your travel time and get to the other part of Nanaimo.
9. What to see in Nanaimo?
Regardless if you are visiting, live in Nanaimo, or just simply passing by, there are a lot of activities that you can engage in and enjoy the sights and sounds of Nanaimo. Here are some of the popular activities that you can do to fully immerse yourself in the Nanaimo experience:
- Walk along the Harbourfront Walkway
- Shopping and Dining in Downtown Nanaimo
- Whalewatching Tours
- Snorkel with the Seals
- Take a seaplane ride along the Sunshine Coast
- Dedicate a whole day in Neck Point Park
- Walk along the Nanaimo Bar Trail and be treated to gastronomic food and drinks
- Take a Ferry Boat ride to Newcastle Island
10. How long is the ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo?
The ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo will take you approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes covering a distance of 58 kilometers.
If you love nature and doing outdoor activities that will expose you to the different elements of nature, Nanaimo is the town for you. There are a plethora of activities that you can do in this Harbor Town. All the activities that you do will afford you the beautiful views that are truly unique and incomparable. It is not a surprise that 90,000 people call Nanaimo home because of the great quality of life that it bestows to its residents. Look no further and call Nanaimo your next home!