Nanaimo and area is full of breathtaking sights that the locals are very proud of. Full of rich history, here are a few of the reasons people have fallen in love with Nanaimo:
Visit Nanaimo’s oldest building, and the only original wooden bastion in North America. The Bastion was constructed in 1853 using traditional the construction techniques of the time.
While the timbers in the Bastion are original, the interior has undergone several reconstructions over the past few years. The interior showcases the history of Nanaimo as an early mining post for the Hudson’s Bay company and beyond.
The Bastion has survived multiple moves and renovations, but still stands as one of the most iconic symbols of Nanaimo.
The Bastion is operated by the Nanaimo District Museum, and is open from the May Long Weekend to the Labour Day Long Weekend. The Bastion also features a daily cannon firing during the summer months, a must see and a great photo opportunity!
Newcastle Island Located in the Nanaimo Harbor this 336 hectare park is only accessible by boat and is a must visit for any trip to Nanaimo! With over 22 kilometers of trails to hike, and beautiful beaches to swim at this park is a must see for any eco-tourism lover!
In addition to being beautiful in nature, the island is rich in local history. You can search for the remains of a Coast Salish village, or explore the remains of a fish-salting operation, sandstone quarry and a shipyard. In 1931 the island was purchased by the Canadian Pacific Steamship Company and operated it as a pleasure resort. The company built a dance pavilion, teahouse, picnic areas, change houses and a soccer field, with most of these buildings still standing today.
Today, services and facilities at the park include: campsites, washrooms, a visitor’s centre, and a picnic area.
For more information on Newcastle Island please visit their website.
Self Guided Tours
Self-guided tours are a great way to explore Nanaimo and it’s history. Self-guided tours are available thanks to the City of Nanaimo and feature a guides through 5 different neighbourhoods in the city. You can easily spend an hour or two or an afternoon exploring these neighbourhoods:
Check out more information on the history of Nanaimo, and a virtual walking tour on the City of Nanaimo’s website.
Great Parks and Trails in Nanaimo:
There is an abundance of beautiful parks here in Nanaimo. There is over 100 kilometers of trails, 65 playgrounds and 22 sports fields there is something for everyone!
Bowen Park – A 90-acre park located near downtown Nanaimo. The park is full of walking trails that wander through this green space including, a decent waterfall, colourful gardens and more. The park also offers lawn bowling, golf and swimming.
Buttertubs Marsh – 49 acres of natural wetlands and grasslands. The park’s 4.5 km of trails make it easy to view the numerous wildlife that make their home here. (1780 Jingle Pot Road)
Collery Dams Park – This 28-hectare (70-acre) park encompasses the Upper and Lower lakes with hiking trails throughout. The park has plenty of wildlife, including deer, raccoons, and various species of birds. (653 Wakesiah Ave)
Harbourfont Walk – A paved walk along Nanaimo’s Waterfront. The trail starts at Departure Bay Ferry Terminal and ends at Cameron Island, but you can pick up the trail at numerous points.
Morrell Nature Sanctuary – a network of trails that meander through a forest last logged in the 1920’s.
Linley Valley – is very dense forest and full of wildlife. It involves a small amount of hiking, suitable for most people, with well-established paths.(Accessed off of: Uplands Drive, Rutherford Road, Hammond Bay Road, Rock City Road, and Departure Bay Road.)
Neck Point Park – This 14.5 hectares (36-acre) and is surrounded by water on most sides, creating a lot of great beaches. The park is full of trails and includes a lot of picnic areas, parking and recreational areas. (1055 Morningside Drive)
Pipers Lagoon Park – Piper’s Lagoon Park is a piece of land loosely resembling a smoking pipe and is almost completely surrounded by water. Totaling 8 hectares (20 acres), the park has many look-out areas to enjoy sunsets over the water, sailing regattas or ocean wildlife. (3600 Place Road)
For more information on Nanaimo Parks and Recreation please check out their website.
Mount Benson: With an elevation of 3,356, Mount Benson is a popular hike for the locals. At the peak is a breathtaking view of all of Nanaimo, the Straight of Georgia and the mainland coast of British Columbia. 100% worth the trek for the views!