Nanaimo is one of the most beautiful places on the island with a rich history and a great real estate market. The town has a population of around 90,000 and it’s known by locals as “The Harbour City” due to its waterfront location. The city has experienced an economic boom in the last few years and it’s always growing bigger.
Nanaimo is close to so many larger cities on the island but it’s a unique and cost-effective place to live. Now is one of the best times to make a move to Nanaimo so here’s a list of the top 10 best neighbourhoods to help you start.
1. North Nanaimo
With some of the best ocean views in the city, North Nanaimo is the perfect place if you’re looking for a ideally priced home with an amazing view. It’s one of the newer neighbourhoods which makes it great for shopping opportunities.
The homes in this area are generally newer than the rest of the city and they start at around $600,000 for a large three-bedroom, three-bathroom home and go up to $2.5 million for a four-bedroom, five-bathroom waterfront estate.
The are has several waterfront parks that are available for the public including
- Walley Creek Trail Park
- Entwhistle/Cabriolet Park
- Fillinger Waterfront Park 1&2
- Wellington Pump Station Park
- Westhaven Park
- Westdale Park
- Parkway Park
- Parkway Drive Park
There are also a few highly rated schools in this area including the following:
Frank J Ney Elementary School which has 429 students from grades k-7 with a teacher-to-student ratio of 14 to 1.
Hammond Bay Elementary School educates 360 students from grades k-7 with a student-to-teacher ratio of 15 to 1.
2. University District
Just above the South Nanaimo neighbourhood sit the gorgeous University District that’s in close proximity to the University of Vancouver Island. There are many different styles of homes in the area with beautiful ocean views.
Houses in the University district range from $429,000 for a two-bedroom, one-bathroom home up to $1.1 million for a six-bedroom, three-bathroom ocean view home.
This neighbourhood has a number of natural areas and parks including:
- Black Diamond Park
- Buttertubs Marsh Park
- Oak Valley Park
- Hawthorne Park
- Third Street Park
University District is named for Vancouver Island University. The University offers master's and bachelor's degrees; two-year diplomas, and one-year certificate programs in a range of areas.
Other schools in the University District of Nanaimo include the following:
Fairview Elementary School has a total of 404 students from grades k-7.
Nanaimo District Secondary School educates 1335 students from grades 8-12 with a student-to-teacher ratio of 17 to 1.
Georgia Avenue Elementary School is a school with 384 students from grades k-7.
The Uplands area is located just above the picturesque Long Lake and it includes Long Lake Heights and the area around it. Homes in this area are generally newer and built after 1970. The neighbourhood is a popular summer spot for many locals and residents due to the beauty and accessibility of Long Lake.
Homes in the area start at $479,000 for a three-bedroom, two-bathroom and go up to $1.5 million for a four-bedroom, four-bathroom mini-estate.
The major attraction of the Long Lake area is the lake itself. It features a boat launch, a walking trail, a swimming beach with two swim floats offshore and a small fishing dock. Powerboats and floatplanes are allowed to be on the lake plus it’s regularly stocked with fish for residents and visitors to catch.
There are also a number of nature parks in the area that are open to the public including
- Loudon Park and Trail
- Shaughnessy Park
- Barrington Park
- Linley Valley Park
- Ocean Pearl Park
- Sandra Road Park
- Uplands Park 1&2
There are a couple of schools in the Uplands area including the following:
Uplands Park Elementary School teaches 335 students from grades k-7.
Wellington Secondary School is a school known locally for its music program. It serves 808 students from grades 8-12 and features a student-to-teacher ratio of 14 to 1.
4. Central Nanaimo
Situated in the middle of the city of Nanaimo is the Central Nanaimo neighbourhood.
The area is populated with many of the city's major amenities, including the hospital and the popular Beban Park.
Homes in this area vary in style and size with a mix of older family-style homes and newer condos and townhouses. The older-style homes are great for first-time buyers or families looking to move to the neighbourhood.
The homes in Central Nanaimo vary in price starting at $439,000 for a two-bedroom, one-bathroom home up to 1.1 million for a three-bedroom, one-bathroom home.
One of the main features of the neighbourhood is Beban Park. The park is full of entertainment for the whole family including arenas, indoor swimming pools, a social center, soccer fields, basketball hoops, equestrian center, bike parks, community gardens, fitness circuit, off-leash dog park, golf course, driving range, two artificial turfs, BMX park along with tennis and pickleball courts.
Central Nanaimo is home to a couple of schools including the following:
- Forest Park Elementary School has 400 students from grades k-7.
- Ecole Quarterway School is a french immersion school that educates 412 students from grades K-7.
- Discover Montessori School Offers 3 programs for primary, elementary and middle school children for children ages 3-15. They are separate from the Nanaimo school system and they serve 121 students.
5. Old City Nanaimo
Parked right on the water, Old City, Nanaimo features many cute harbour-style houses with amazing views. The neighbourhood is great for walkability as it’s located close to many restaurants and fun features.
This is the original core of the city so the homes are older and date back to the late 1800s and early 1900s. Many of the streets have recently been revitalized and the homes have gorgeous waterfront views. Houses in the area are moderately priced and start at $419,000 for a two-bedroom, one-bathroom home and go up to $587,000 for a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home.
The neighbourhood is located next to the harbour which makes for beautiful views and easy access to the water for any boating enthusiasts. The Swy-a-Lana fishing pier is located in the south of the neighbourhood and features a nearby man-made lagoon that’s great for children and families. Fishing and crabbing opportunities are available for those on the pier with the proper licenses.
The Maffeo Sutton Park is the largest and most popular park in the city. It connects to the pier area and it’s the hosting place of many events put on by the city throughout the year. The park features access to the Swy-a-Lana lagoon, a walking trail, a Playdock destination playground, Lions Pavilion covered stage, spirit square, ferry access to the Newcastle Island ferry, and washrooms.
The only school in the Old city Nanaimo area is the Ecole Pauline Haarer french immersion school. The school has 250 students and 20 staff members and they are a community-oriented school.
6. Chase River
The Chase River area is at the south end of Nanaimo and it’s a great area for older farmhouse styles homes along with new, updated subdivisions. This residential area is filled with schools and great amenities.
Homes in this area start at $609,000 for a two-bedroom, two-bathroom house and go up to $1.2 million for a three-bedroom, three-bathroom. The area is excellent for young families.
The area is located in south Nanaimo and right near the Chase River Estuary Park. This park is teeming with wildlife and it features 1.3km of trails with boardwalks over wetlands. This is a great park to take the family on an afternoon walk.
The Chase River community has a few public parks available for residents including:
- Roberta Road Park
- Wexford Park
- Elaine Hamilton Park
The only school in the area is the Chase River Elementary School which has 239 students in grades k-7 with a student-to-teacher ratio of 18 to 1.
7. South Jinglepot
South Jinglepot is a perfect neighbourhood for anyone who loves to be close to amenities but still wants the luxury of living in a rural area. Located in the valley beneath Mt. Benson, this is a great area with a large combination of housing styles.
Homes in the area start at $624,000 for a three-bedroom, one-bathroom home and increase up to $1.4 million for a five-bedroom, four-bathroom house.
South Jinglepot features the amazing Westwood lake which is one of the city's best-loved parks. There is a 5.51km trail that surrounds the lake with shorter loops available for hikers and walkers. This is the only lifeguard patrolling freshwater swimming spots in the city and it also features a small playground for children.
Parks in the South Jinglepot area include the following:
- East Wellington Park
- Egli Park
- Westwood Lake Park
- Tralee Park
The only school in the neighbourhood is the Nanaimo Christian School which has 550 students in grades k-12 with a student-to-teacher ratio of 13 to 1.
8. Diver Lake
Situated in the area directly above central Nanaimo, the Diver Lake area is an area that’s great for nature lovers. Diver lake offers plenty of real-estate opportunities and it’s located close to many shopping areas including the North Nanaimo neighbourhood.
Homes in the Diver Lake neighbourhood start at $529,000 for a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home and go up to $1.7 million for a four-bedroom, two-bathroom home.
Diver lake has its own park but other parks in the area include:
- Curmudgeon Park
- Ravine Park
- Horth Park
- Therese Terrace Park
9. South Nanaimo
Just south of downtown Nanaimo lies this beautiful stretch of land next to the water. Many new developments are being built in the area and it’s given the neighbourhood a fresh reputation. The homes are reasonably priced with many good investment properties available and the neighbourhood has the Southgate Shopping Center along with several smaller shopping opportunities.
The homes in the area are a combination of newer and older houses. The pricing starts at $449,000 for a 2 bedroom, one bathroom house up to $2.5 million for a 2 bedroom, 3 bathroom riverfront estate.
There are several smaller parks in the area including:
- Petroglyph Provincial park
- Chase River Estuary Park
- Applegreen Park
- Ryan Road Park
- Railway/ Connaught Park
- Knowles Park
10. Pleasant Valley
Nestled in north Nanaimo is the beautiful neighbourhood of Pleasant Valley. This area features homes with mountain and lakefront views and it’s close to local amenities such as the Woodgrove Mall. The location is great for nature lovers as it’s nice and close to Brennan Lake.
Homes in this neighbourhood range from $769,000 for a 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom home up to $1.5 million for a 6 bedroom, 4 bathroom estate.
Locals love the nearby Brennan lake and it’s a great place for anyone looking to camp, swim or take the boat out. The park offers campsites for tents and RVs but there is also a public beach that features picnic tables, a swimming float and warm water swimming.
Parks in the Pleasant Valley area include
- Pleasant Valley Park
- Doreen Place Park
- Everest Drive Park
- Big Bear Park
- Jeevan’s Road Park
- Dunster Park
There is one school in the area which is Pleasant Valley Elementary School. The school teaches 385 students from grades K-7.
Nanaimo is a wonderful place to find a new home and there are so many great neighbourhoods to choose from. Choosing a neighbourhood based on the features you and your family are looking for is the best way to find the one that suits you best. Pay attention to each neighbourhood's features and it will be easy to find the one that’s perfect for you.