Welcome to Nanaimo, BC, Canada

Life really is better out here on the West Coast. Here, you can go from downtown board meeting to wilderness hiking or biking trails in just a few minutes. Hop a seaplane and you’re in Vancouver in 20 minutes. Your weekend surfing adventure in Tofino with the family is less than a three-hour drive away. Mountain climbing in Strathcona Provincial Park is even closer.

A classic West Coast community, the city of Nanaimo offers natural beauty at every turn. Nanaimo has one of the country’s longest shorelines and a forested mountain backdrop just outside downtown. You’ll find natural wonders, vibrant festivals, buy now unique culinary experiences, and so much more. You’ll find your work-life balance in no time.

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A Commercial Hub

Located on the east coast of Vancouver Island, Nanaimo is a commercial hub for the island’s central and northern communities. Nanaimo serves the 400,000 people living north of the Malahat Mountain – more than half of Vancouver Island. The city is home to satellite offices for Vancouver companies, a busy harbour port authority, and a cruise ship terminal that serves megaships.

By the Numbers

    • 96,000 pop. in Nanaimo
    • 175,000 pop. in regional district
    • 90 min. drive (113 km) north of
    • Victoria, BC’s capital
    • 20 min. flight (55 km)
    • via floatplane or Helijet
    • from Vancouver Harbour

Major Industries

    • Construction & real estate
    • Retail
    • Education
    • Health care
    • Government services
    • Tech innovation & development
    • Tourism
    • Transportation

Meet Our Indigenous People

Nanaimo was first settled thousands of years ago by the Coast Salish Peoples who named the area “Sne-ney-mous” which means “a meeting or gathering place”. The Snuneymuxw First Nation traveled from villages along the Nanaimo River and False Narrows to build longhouses at Departure Bay. Take a harbour ferry to Newcastle Island, traditionally known as Saysutshun, to explore one of their sacred places and hear fascinating stories.

Amazing West Coast Lifestyle

Nestled between the ocean and a mountain range that runs the length of the island, our protected city enjoys one of the mildest climates in Canada … making golfing possible nearly year-round. Yes! You can golf, sail, surf and ski all on the same day for many months of the year and absolutely love where you live.

© Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce | Photography by Dirk Heydemann HA Photography | Video by Tannar Pictures