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Quick Facts About Nanaimo

Ask me about living in Nanaimo and I’ll say that we’ve got something for everyone; water views everywhere you turn, one of the mildest climates in all of Canada, and affordable house prices.

If you’ve got another thirty seconds, read on for a fast rundown of fabulous Nanaimo facts:

City of NanaimoSize and Location

  • Centrally located on the east coast of Vancouver Island, 114 km (68 miles) North of Victoria and 55 km (34 miles) by boat from Vancouver
  • Population 84,000 and the second largest city on Vancouver Island

Weather and Climate

  • Winter temperatures rarely below freezing
  • Average daily summer temperature 24 C (75 F)
  • Called by Environment Canada one of the comfiest climates in all of Canada

Getting Here

  • By ferry, two routes from the mainland: Horseshoe Bay,West Vancouver, to Departure Bay, Nanaimo (1 hour 40 minutes), or Tsawwassen to Duke Point, Nanaimo, (2 hours)
  • By seaplane, Vancouver harbour to Nanaimo harbour (20 minutes flight time)
  • By airplane, daily flights from Vancouver International Airport to Nanaimo Airport (20 minutes flight time)
  • By car, drive Highway 1 (Transcanada Highway) from Victoria to Nanaimo (1 hour 39 minutes)  


  • Four major shopping malls including the largest on Vancouver Island, Woodgrove Centre, located along Island Highway (#19A)
  • Boutique shopping, artisans and galleries in the revitalized downtown core: Arts District, Old City Quarter, and Waterfront
  • Farmers markets for fresh, seasonal fare from late spring to Thanksgiving: Lantzville Farmers Market, Cedar Farmers Market, Bowen Road Farmers Market, Nanaimo Downtown Farmers Market

House Prices

  • Average house price in Nanaimo is $350,000
  • 18 different Nanaimo neighbourhoods, each with its own character, offering waterfront locations, new developments, and acreages.


  • Over 30 public elementary schools and secondary schools with bus service for select areas
  • Private schools for elementary and secondary, including Aspengrove university-prep school, Nanaimo Christian School, and Discover Montessori School
  • Universities and colleges, including Vancouver Island University and Discovery Community College

Health Care

  • Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, boasting a new, state-of-the-art Emergency Department

Things to Do

  • More than 200 parks, dozens of beaches and lakes, and surrounding islands to explore, including Newcastle Marine Park and Gabriola Island
  • World’s largest artificial upright reef for scuba diving
  • Skiing at nearby Mount Washington during the winter
  • Golfing, kayaking, biking, whale watching, fishing, and swimming during the summer

Fun Facts

  • Home of the sweet, no-bake treat, the Nanaimo Bar, including over 100 variations of its chocolaty, creamy goodness
  • Home of the Great International World Championship Bathtub Race (must be seen to be believed)
  • One of the top ten island destinations in the world, right up there with Maui and the Great Barrier Reef (according to Travel & Leisure Magazine)
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