The Best High Schools in Nanaimo

A beautiful city surrounded by breathtaking scenic views goes by the name Nanaimo. It is located on the east coast of Vancouver Island and has a rich history which includes Indigenous people being the first to call this coastline city home. Europeans would make their way down to the coast as it was known to have a wealth of natural resources, coal and more.

In Nanaimo, there are a number of great high schools to be found surrounded by spectacular staff and talented young students. The schools are a part of the Nanaimo Ladysmith Public School District. Also included are a handful of alternative learning options for students of Nanaimo city. This gorgeous and historic city offers a plethora of opportunities for students and offers a welcoming, safe and diverse environment. 

Below are the best high schools to be found in the city of Nanaimo, located in British Columbia, Canada. 

Dover Bay Secondary School 

6135 McGirr Rd, Nanaimo 

Phone No. 250-756-4595

Dover Bay Secondary – Nanaimo Ladysmith Public School

Home of the Dolphins and the largest high school in the city is Dover Bay Secondary with over 1,300 students. They respect diversity; their school population includes 129 indigenous students, 46 international students and 59 English learners. The school was built in 1992 and has since then built an outstanding reputation. This spectacular high school ranked highest by the Fraser Institute ranking system in 2018.

The staff at Dover Bay has a mission to ensure their school is a safe environment for all students. If the adolescent and teenage individuals who attend Dover Bay don’t feel safe, they won’t attend which sets them up for failure. When a student fails, the staff at Dover Bay feel as if they failed. Teachers want to ensure their students are supported and are in a respectful environment. Everyone here values lifelong learning, responsibility, perseverance, diversity, empathy and more. 

Dover Bays Vision: Education that inspires our community to be kind, connected, resilient for a changing world. 

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Cedar Community Secondary School

1640 MacMillan Rd, Nanaimo, BC

Phone No. 250-722-2412

Cedar Secondary School – Nanaimo Ladysmith Public School

Cedar Community is located in the beautiful town of cedar located on the sacred land of Snuneymuxw First Nations of the Coast Salish people. This high school was open from 1999 until 2014 when it was then closed. It has since been reopened in 2016. Staff at Cedar are dedicated to teaching their students and ensure they are learning at a high level. They use evidence of student learning when they are looking to identify a student's strengths.

The school takes a unique approach and has a flexible learning schedule for those in grades 10-12. The students have a focus block each day which allows for more time the students can use to enhance their skills and connect with their teachers and peers. Taking this unique approach allows the students to feel more engaged and interested, setting them up for better success. 

School Goals: 

  • Student belonging
  • Improvement of students personal awareness
  • Communication of student learning
  • Truth and reconciliation 

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Related Post: Nanaimo School Guide: Best Elementary Schools In Nanaimo

Nanaimo District Secondary School

355 Wakesiah Ave, Nanaimo, BC 

Phone No. 250-740-2000

Nanaimo District Secondary School – Nanaimo Ladysmith Public School

Built in 1952  with a reputable image is the Nanaimo District Secondary School. Since the opening, there have been a number of renovations to make this school a great place for students to learn and staff to teach. One of the biggest renovations to take place was the tower, which is the home to a number of computer classes and other classrooms. 

The staff at Nanaimo District want to ensure their students are learning skills and needed attitudes to become successful lifelong learners. Offerings of Nanaimo District include two gymnasiums, two different cafeterias for the students to enjoy their tasty lunches, autoshop, workshop and more.  There are over 1,000 students here and the staff have a goal of teaching their students how to become respectful, responsible, caring and global citizens. 

Clubs for students to enjoy and meet new people include future teachers, wrestling, rugby, badminton, weight lifting, and more. 

This is a high school that honors dignity, purpose and options for all. Current and past students have all had incredible things to say about the staff and their experience during their time here. 

Along with being a spectacular school with many opportunities for its students, the Nanaimo district is home to the French Immersion program. 

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Wellington Secondary School

3135 Mexicana Rd, Nanaimo, BC

Phone No. 250-758-9191

Wellington Secondary – Nanaimo Ladysmith Public School

Known for its music, film and athletic programs is Wellington Secondary. They pride themselves on being inclusive, caring and engaging their students in the educational environment. They provide comprehensive programs that include allowing students to explore film and will prepare them for a successful career in the industry if they choose to do so. 

This unique high school has won a number of awards for its jazz and concert bands. Teaching these talented young individuals is the award-winning music teacher Carmella Luvisotto. The talents of this school have been able to attend festivals in B.C which has included the Jazz festival in Surrey as well as MusicFest Canada in Vancouver.

The students of Wellington Secondary have a great experience during their time here and enjoy their teachers and peers. They say it is a welcoming, and warm-hearted environment. 

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John Barsby Community School

550 Seventh Street, Nanaimo, BC


John Barsby Community School

Located in the heart of Nanaimo city with about 800 students from grades 8-12 is John Barsby. This is a school full of community and love. This unique school offers its students comprehensive learning programs that include leadership, culinary arts, along with more typical academic requirements. There are a number of opportunities for the students of John Barsby to participate in a school's team or club. 

An exceptional school with exceptional students, many of whom will go on to receive scholarships and bursaries to go towards post-secondary education. 

The staff here are proud of their students and are happy to say that their students are amazing, they have caring and supportive colleagues, the students have a great sense of humour and with their open-door policy students aren't afraid to reach out for help. 

John Barsby is a proud participant of the red dress program to help bring awareness to the national issue of missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada. 

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The high schools in Nanaimo are rich in diversity and offer their students a number of opportunities for lifelong learning, success, growth and friendships. Attending one of the best high schools in the city opens up doors in industries that include music, film, arts and more. Also included is the possibility to graduate with a bi-lingual certificate which can lead to a number of job opportunities after graduation. Many of Nanaimo’s students go on to attend highly-acclaimed post-secondary institutes after graduation or enter the workforce well equipped and ready to take on the next chapter of their lives.