Existing happily between mountains and ocean, the Harbour City of Nanaimo is located on the east side of Vancouver Island, off the southwest coast of British Columbia. Stretching approximately 500 km long and 200 km wide, Vancouver Island is the largest North American island in the Pacific Ocean and features impressive and diverse coastlines; in late fall and early winter, these coastlines become home to thousands of sea lions. With a population base of 775,347 (2016), Vancouver Island varies from small rural communities to modern urban centres like Nanaimo. The economic hub of Vancouver Island, the Nanaimo region is easily accessible by sea or air to the Lower Mainland and the Pacific Northwest.
With its exceptional beauty, enticing lifestyle, skilled workforce, and top-tier infrastructure, the Nanaimo region is attracting new residents and business to the area every year. The region’s mild climate (over 1,800 hours of sunshine each year), and the island’s quality of life attracts people from all across the country; over half of all new residents come from other provinces in Canada and include working aged families with young children, empty nesters and pre-retirees. Construction activity is strong and continues to thrive as Nanaimo’s economy experiences residential and commercial growth. At one third the price of Vancouver and approximately half that of Victoria, potential Buyers are often surprised at the cost advantages of doing business and owning real estate in Nanaimo. With a full spectrum of housing options, most with sensational ocean and mountain views, Nanaimo offers an abundance of real estate value.
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Nanaimo offers a host of recreational activities. Residents enjoy the use of 63 playgrounds, 4 public beaches, 20 picnic areas, 3 pools, 4 indoor ice rinks, 3 golf courses, and a staggering number of parks, 200 of them in fact. Once such park, which was recently acquired by the City of Nanaimo, is located in the Linley Valley area; it is a 5.8-hectare undeveloped park that contains many old growth trees, open meadows and wetlands. Residents enjoy the informal walking trails, the beautiful scenery and the abundance of wildlife, including bald eagles that frequent our skies throughout the year. In addition, strolls along the waterfront sea wall, challenging hikes up Mount Benson, exploring the boundless trail system at waterfront Neck Point Park, and picnicking at Newcastle Island, a charming provincial park just off the shores of downtown Nanaimo; are just a few of the popular outdoor activities afforded to locals and visitors alike. On those rainy coastal days, Nanaimo has three branches of the Vancouver Island Regional Library to get comfortable in. Available at each branch or through interbranch request services, is about 1 million books, magazines, videos, and newspapers. Each branch also offers access to the Internet and other electronic information sources.
Nanaimo Park and Recreation
Regional District of Nanaimo
Vancouver Island Regional Library
Nanaimo’s public schools are administered by District 68 School Board which serves Nanaimo and Ladysmith. There are currently 29 elementary schools (kindergarten to grade 7), and six secondary schools (grades 8 to 12). French immersion programs are offered at four elementary schools and two secondary school. The District offers a number of special programs, including an outstanding music program, work experience and career preparation, a modern languages program which includes French and Japanese. Nanaimo is also home to three private schools offering elementary and high school programs. Nanaimo Christian School, Aspengrove School and Nanaimo Montessori School.
The Nanaimo region is home to a well-trained, highly motivated, and educated workforce. Helping to build the future of the island is Vancouver Island University (VIU); located in Nanaimo, VIU is a leader in contract training for business and industry and is influential in producing many of the Island’s most qualified and desirable recruits. VIU provides training in academic, vocational, and technical fields.
Nanaimo - Ladysmith Public Schools
Vancouver Island University
Qualicum (Parksville) Public Schools
Nanaimo has a modern and efficient transportation network, one airport, two float plane terminals, two ferry terminals, a recently updated highway system, and a public transit system. Nanaimo is easily accessible to the mainland by ferry, air, and to other Island destinations by road. It is a 20 minute flight to downtown Vancouver or a 95 minute ferry ride to West Vancouver.
Water transportation services provide an important link between Vancouver Island and the mainland. Regularly scheduled ferry service is available between Nanaimo and Vancouver. There are two main ferry terminals in Nanaimo, operated by the British Columbia Ferry Services Inc. The Departure Bay terminal serves the Nanaimo to Horseshoe Bay route, while the Duke Point terminal in the city’s south end serves the Nanaimo to Tsawwassen route.
Nanaimo Airport (YCD) is located 18 km (9 miles) south of the city in Cassidy. Nanaimo Airport has seen steady growth in the last decade as key investments since 2006 have transformed YCD into a trusted transportation partner. Nanaimo Airport is serviced by Air Canada Jazz, WestJet Encore and Island Express.
The Nanaimo Seaplane Terminal operated by the Nanaimo Port Authority, provides facilities for seaplane flights from downtown Nanaimo. Regularly scheduled flights to downtown Vancouver and Vancouver International Airport are available through Harbour Air, and Seair Seaplanes; flight time is 20 minutes. Harbour Air flies to 9 destinations in British Columbia with frequent service between Nanaimo and the Lower Mainland. Sunshine Coast Air provides flight service between Nanaimo and Sechelt as well as Victoria. Helijet provides 14 scheduled flights between 7 am and 7 pm weekdays from Nanaimo and the Cruise ship welcome centre in downtown Vancouver. Helijet is equipped to operate in daylight, after dark and in most inclement weather.
Vancouver, BC 81 km 50 miles |Victoria, BC 113 km 70 miles| Tofino, BC 207 km 128 miles
Courtenay, BC 107 km 66 miles |Campbell River, BC 153 km 95 miles| Port Hardy, BC 391 km 242 miles
Seattle, WA 217 km 135 miles| Calgary, AB 983 km 609 miles | New York City, NY 4889 km 3,038 miles.
*Source Nanaimo Region Economic Profile
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