Nanaimo has a unique and colourful history. Founded on coal mining in the early 1850s, the City has evolved from a small Hudson Bay Company outpost to a dynamic regional city that has become the gateway to Vancouver Island.
Nanaimo is centrally located on the east coast of Vancouver Island, 113 km north of Victoria and 55 km across the Salish Sea (formally known as the Georgia Strait) from the City of Vancouver. Nanaimo is situated in one of the most beautiful harbours on Vancouver Island, which affords boaters and residents alike with unrivalled natural beauty and vast recreational opportunities.
Come spend a day exploring Newcastle Island (Saysutshun), traditional Land of the Snuneymuxw First Nation. Cruise around Gabriola Island and explore the sand stone formations at Malaspina Galleries. Stroll along the waterfront promenade that connects Townsite Marina to Maffeo Sutton Park, Swy-a-Lana Lagoon and Downtown Nanaimo. Enjoy our fine restaurants and shops in both Downtown Nanaimo and the nearby Old City Quarter. Follow the Nanaimo Bar Trail and taste both the classic as well as inventive variations on our city’s world-famous sweet treat – the Nanaimo Bar.
Nanaimo can be reached by cruising across the Salish Sea from Vancouver with BC Ferries, by float plane or Helijet into the Harbour from downtown Vancouver or Vancouver International Airport (YVR), or by flying into our regional Nanaimo Airport (YCD). Nanaimo is an accessible and affordable Vancouver Island destination.