About Nanaimo—City with a Small Town Feel
From humble beginnings as a coal town, Nanaimo today is home to a varied and growing population. As Vancouver Island’s second largest city, Nanaimo boasts 84,000 people—but it’s a city that I like to say feels like the mainland without all the crowds and traffic. Coming to live in Nanaimo is to leave the rush behind.
And the word is out! Here’s why:
- Most newcomers to Nanaimo are between 40 and 59, either working families with teenagers or empty nesters
- Second highest group of newcomers is between 20 and 39
- Average income for Nanaimo residents in 2008 was $37,656.48
- Average house price in 2012 was $350,000
- Population growth expected to continue at 1.7% per year
- 1 in 10 residents speak a language other than English or French
- Increasingly educated workforce; about 36% of labour market has post secondary qualifications, higher than the national average
- Labour market grew by an average annual rate of 1% between 2001 and 2006
- Sales and service account for 30% of jobs, followed by business, finance, and trades at 16%
So what’s the attraction? Whether your a new family just starting out, or you’re searching for a lifestyle that’s less hectic, Nanaimo has something to offer. Based on the national census and the Nanaimo Economic Development Office, opportunities to live, work and play in Nanaimo have grown steadily over the last ten years.
When we moved to Nanaimo five years ago from Vancouver, I used to take thirty minutes or more to get anywhere--and that’s just within my local community. Now, my drive time to schools and shopping is a fraction of that. With less rushing comes a huge boost in quality of life. Beaches, parks, and outdoor pursuits of all kinds are literally right on your doorstep.
What really surprised me, though, was that I didn’t miss the amenities of the mainland at all. Nanaimo simply has everything I need. Big retail brands are here as well as wonderful boutiques, coffee shops, and galleries. Plus, a vibrant downtown arts and culture scene offers live concerts and theater.
Nanaimo is the best of both worlds—a growing urban centre with a small town feel.