The Complete Guide To Living In North Nanaimo, BC

Nanaimo, located in the middle of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, is an eclectic city full of friendly people and small-town charm—it's a hidden gem!

North Nanaimo is a tourist destination with sandy beaches, nearby mountains to hike, and a historic town centre. The north part of Nanaimo, formed after expansion beyond Long Lake and Wellington, features newer housing construction and subdivisions built within the last three decades. Waterfront properties lead down to beaches and come with spectacular ocean views. 

In recent years, homeowners have discovered the many benefits of living in North Nanaimo and have moved here to take advantage of them. 

Are you looking to move to North Nanaimo, BC? You've come to the right place! Preparing for a move is overwhelming, but getting a feel for the area before you arrive is helpful. So let this complete guide to living in North Nanaimo help you learn everything you need to know—a rundown on history, real estate, schools, amenities, things to do and places to eat.

North Nanaimo, BC

History of Nanaimo

Nanaimo is a city of about 99,000 people on Vancouver Island, just a short ferry ride from Vancouver. Previously known as the "Hub City," it is now called "The Harbour City." Nanaimo has a long history, dating back to First Nations settlements of Indigenous Peoples called the Snuneymuxw. It was discovered by European explorers in the late 1700s during a Spanish voyage and incorporated in 1874.

Over the years, natural resources have made Nanaimo an important commercial center. Coal mining helped make Nanaimo the "Hub City" of Vancouver Island, and lumber helped develop the port. To this day, fishing, forestry, shipbuilding, and tourism are still significant industries contributing to the local economy.

Real Estate in North Nanaimo, BC

With North Nanaimo's real estate market vibrant and going strong, it's no wonder why being close to Vancouver—living in a big city but not necessarily taking part in big city life—is attractive.

North Nanaimo is a newer area, and therefore the housing is also recent compared to the more established parts of Nanaimo, such as South Nanaimo and Old City/Downtown

The real estate market includes single-family homes, condos, and townhouses in various price ranges. North Nanaimo is particularly popular with families because of its proximity to schools and other community amenities.

Homes for sale in North Nanaimo, BC, vary in price from the mid $500K to over $4M. Property types feature large floor plans, waterfront homes with stunning ocean and coastal mountain views, and homes with community parks and beach access. 

View All Homes for Sale in North Nanaimo, BC >>>

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Schools in North Nanaimo

The schools in North Nanaimo fall under School District 68 Nanaimo-Ladysmith. The following are a list of schools in the area: 

McGirr Elementary

Location: 6199 McGirr Road, Nanaimo, BC

Randerson Ridge Elementary

Location: 6021 Nelson Road, Nanaimo, BC

Ecole Hammond Bay Elementary (French Immersion School)

Location: 1025 Morningside Dr, Nanaimo, BC

Aspengrove School

Location: 7660 Clark Drive, Lantzville, BC

Dover Bay Secondary School

Location: 6135 McGirr Road, Nanaimo, BC

Top Sights to See and Things to Do in North Nanaimo

North Nanaimo, bordered by mountains and ocean, also has a town area that runs along the waterfront. The harbourfront walkway is ideal for strolling, biking, and picnics. It also boasts views as far as the eyes can see, including Protection Island and Saysutshun (Newcastle) Island Marine Provincial Park. 

Having the ocean in your backyard means year-round waterfront activities such as surfing, boating, and kayaking. If you would rather stay on land, there's plenty of opportunities for biking, hiking, and running on mountain trails as well! 

Little Qualicum Falls on Vancouver Island, Canada

Parks in North Nanaimo

There are also several parks in North Nanaimo worth mentioning. Linley Valley Park features multiple trails interlinked with streams, woodlands, and wetlands. There are many lookout points that offer mountain views. Located in the middle is Cottle Lake, where you will find waterfowl and trout. 

Saysutshun (Newcastle) Island Marine Provincial Park has a beach along the shores of a natural lake. Residents and families with kids can enjoy a picnic or play at the playground and tennis courts. Piper's Lagoon Park, located along the shoreline, is where you can find many dog owners walking their canine companions.

Neck Point is a 36-acre waterfront park with pebble bay beaches, rock cliffs, and trails. At the north point of the park, you can view orcas, otters, and sealions. Eagleview Park features a designated trail system for walking and biking. These trails pass by native trees such as firs and arbutuses, and are ideal for bird-watchers.

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Restaurants in North Nanaimo

There are quite a few options for dining out in North Nanaimo.

The Longwood Brewpub offers house-made beers, Sunday brunch, and an upscale menu upstairs, while the Nori Restaurant offers Japanese cuisine, seafood, and sushi.

Hilltop Bistro is a hidden gem serving a locally inspired menu for those diners seeking an upscale meal. Simonholt is locally owned and offers a varied menu, patios, and a rooftop deck with live music.

Nanaimo Bars

Shopping in North Nanaimo

The Nanaimo North Town Centre and Woodgrove Centre are the two main shopping centers in North Nanaimo. Woodgrove Centre is the island's largest shopping mall, featuring an impressive size of over 700,000 square feet. It has over 140 retail stores, enough to create a great shopping experience no matter what you are looking for.

Nanaimo North Town Centre has over 600,000 square feet of shopping and retail space. Its proximity to public transit makes it convenient for residents of the neighbourhood and the area. Its stores include local favourites and fashionable brands. 


We hope this complete guide has opened your eyes to the Vancouver Island city of North Nanaimo, which boasts a rich history and could be the best choice for your next place to live. 

Nanaimo is so much more than just a scenic seaside city or a perfect place to raise a family. It is truly a thriving and growing community with a healthy mix of affordable and luxury homes, active and quiet social life, abundant amenities, and natural beauty all around. 

Providing Residential Real Estate services across Vancouver Island, Sims Real Estate Group not only works where we invest; we live here too. If you're looking for professional advice and expertise we're happy to serve. Our client first philosophy means that we're serious about creating exceptional experiences. Our network of partners make our company a great asset and fit. When it comes to your Real Estate needs, we've got you covered. We specialize in Vancouver Island Residential Real Estate.

A local Nanaimo real estate agent is ready to help you find your dream home!