There was a brief incident at the June 27 Commercial Street Night Market that has been described in at least a couple of different ways in mainstream and social media. There is some truth to each of the stories. The most important points we’d like to make are:

Between the beginning of the incident and the point where we had the situation fully under control, no more than two minutes time passed. Our team was notified just after the first encounter between a Night Market customer and an individual clearly in mental health distress. We caught up with him only meters away where he was engaged in a physical struggle with a bystander. We attempted to intervene and calm the situation when a table knife was thrown to the ground and the individual who dropped it ran. He was pursued by the bystander and the physical altercation escalated. As soon as there was safe space to intervene, our security staff pinned the original perpetrator to the ground and police arrived to bring it to a final resolution.

The Nanaimo Chamber, organizers of the Market, have a robust security plan in place that includes our own staff, local uniformed private security, bylaw enforcement and the RCMP Bike Squad. It is imperative that attendees of the Market not get involved in any security issues but notify any of the above when there is a concern. We wish to maintain the highest level of site security and guest safety. Our staff are all wearing high visibility vests and carry radios in order to respond rapidly to any reports of trouble and put our procedures in place to ensure your safety.

The incident had a minimal impact on the Market, its vendors and guests, was confined to a small space and very brief time frame. Our apologies to any guests who may have been exposed to our first security incident in two years and felt negatively impacted by the experience.

The Members’ Open is just 4 weeks away! It would be great to have you out, whether you can join solo or field a team. Keep in mind that all guests, colleagues, clients, and future-members are welcome! If you haven’t attended in the past, it’s a wonderful event to connect with the local business community and your fellow Chamber members.

And if you suck at golf – you’ll fit right in! All levels are encouraged.

We’ve also put together some fantastic sponsorship options designed to provide unique, engaging, and fun exposure throughout the day. Use a day at the links to elevate your brand, hand out swag, and generate leads for your business. Host-a-hole for just $200!

The event is also an important fundraiser for the Chamber. If you’re unable to attend, we hope that you’ll consider donating products or services to the raffle, which also provides a great opportunity to raise your profile. No donations are too big or too small.  We’re also looking for swag to add to our golfer goodie bags.

Event Details: Click Here
Registration: Click Here
Raffle donation:


The Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce is turning Commercial Street into a pedestrian mall every Thursday evening again hosting artisan vendors, entertainers, food and fun for Nanaimo families this summer.

The inaugural Night Market event is June 20, followed by 11 Thursday night celebrations. Commercial Street from Terminal Avenue to Church & Chapel Streets will be closed to cars as artisan vendor booths, crafters, food producers, and downtown merchants line the streets offering food, crafts, beverages, farm to fork, entertainment, curios and whatever our 100+ quality vendors offer.

Visit the Food Truck Circle on Diana Krall Plaza alongside local beverage purveyors sampling amidst the market farm atmosphere. Downtown restaurants and cafés are extending their hospitality to the street. Live entertainment is presented at the Plaza Stage as well as the Modern Café on ‘Upper Commercial Street’ and in surprise pockets throughout the market site.

Family activities, bouncy castles, face painting and wall-climbing are included. For a more leisurely pace follow the self-guided Art Walk through downtown’s galleries and shops highlighting local arts and culture. Or just mix it up in the fun and colour of the Commercial Street Night Market!

Come on down just to experience the hospitality and meet the friendly faces of the downtown business community and the festive Night Market atmosphere every Thursday all summer long. It’s a huge hit!

For more information:

KIM SMYTHE: 250-756-1191


The Nanaimo Chamber announces it will be holding an All-Candidates Forum for the federal byelection called for May 6 in the Nanaimo-Ladysmith riding.

“The community has come to expect this from the Chamber so we are pleased to offer an event that we’re becoming very well-practiced at,” according to Kim Smythe Chamber CEO, “This will be our fifth such event within the past two years.”

The Forum will be held in Beban Park Social Centre on Thursday, April 25 with the doors opening for a Candidate Meet and Greet at 5:30 pm. A debate among the candidates will begin at 7:00 pm.

“We’re not able to announce which candidates will be attending. Not all parties have announced their official candidates for the race but we will update our event announcement as more information becomes available”, Smythe continued.

For more information:

KIM SMYTHE: 250-756-1191


Click here to vote

The Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce is proud to recognize ‘leaders and achievers’ in this 19th annual celebration. Held at the Port Theatre on April 11th, 2019 the Awards Gala will honour individuals, businesses, and non-profit organizations that have contributed to the fabric and growth of the Nanaimo community.

The Nanaimo Business Awards recognize the achievements of individuals or groups, and are a sign of the community’s appreciation. This recognition also serves as a reminder of the Chamber’s mission statement – “Better Community Through Better Business”.

The Nanaimo Business Awards instill a local pride-of-place. If you would like to raise awareness of the achievements of a deserving individual or organization, we encourage you to nominate, vote, and come out to enjoy the show!

The Process:

The event is the culmination of a process that includes public nominations, online voting, independent judging, and a formal announcement of the winners at the Awards Gala. There are 22 categories represented, from ‘New Business’ to Youth Spirit’ and everything in between.

  1. NOMINATE between February 1st – 14th – Closed
  2. VOTE for nominees between February 15th – 28th – Click here to vote
  3. CELEBRATE at the Port Theatre on April 11th – Click here to get your tickets

The awards are presented at the Port Theatre on Thursday, April 11th in an Oscar-style ceremony complete with a red-carpet reception, networking mixer, and jazz band.

Click here to view the Process & Eligibility Document

Click here to view more information on the 2019 Awards Categories

Thank you Nanaimo!!!

What a summer that was… somewhere around 50,000 people visited downtown Nanaimo over the 11 weeks of the Commercial Street Night Market. We certainly found out there is a lot of interest in downtown, and in its ultimate success as the heart of our community.
We were so excited to host food and beverage vendors on Diana Krall Plaza including farmers, fishers, market garden people, bakers, pretzel makers, ice ‘creameries’, wineries, cideries, breweries, distillers and food trucks. On Commercial street we had a diverse collection of artists and artisans totalling well over 100 different individual vendors of very high quality.
Our entertainment really shone. From the ‘piano man’ Marty Steele who opened every Thursday night, to fiddlers, singer/songwriters, ukulele players, The Big Mess – a father and son team featuring trumpet and beat box and huge audience interaction, to our unicyclist jokester Akron the Barbarian and the incredibly talented Jake West, our juggler with a message. Oh, and don’t forget the hundreds we had dancing in the streets during the salsa/tango and hip hop demonstrations.
And finally, thanks to the wonderful merchants of downtown Nanaimo who opened their hearts and their stores to show off the fantastic and unique mix of merchandise and warm, friendly service they offer downtown every day.

We’ll be back downtown doing it all over again next summer. In the meantime, we’re working on new ideas to keep bringing people back for things like Christmas shopping and other events in the heart of the City. Thanks for being part of the fun so far!

Kim Smythe, CEO
Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce

PS: I invite you to send me an email and tell me about your Night Market experience and let me know if you have any ideas about doing it better or differently.

Spirit of Christmas

Vote for Your Favourite Christmas Light Display

A sure sign of the holidays is the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce’s SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS Lights Display Contest. Homes and businesses participate in this decorating ‘competition’ to attract the attention of the community and claim bragging rights for their creativity!

Click here to see the map of all the beautifully decorating homes and businesses for the Spirit of Christmas, then vote for your favourite!  Look back at the voting link to see which displays are getting the most votes.


For more information about the Street Market – see link NightMarketNanaimo


A huge thank you to all the Sponsors, Exhibitors, and Participants who came out for yesterday’s #NanaimoBusinessExpo. Hundreds of people walked through the Expo at Vancouver Island Conference Centre. Harris Kia took over the lobby with a selection of new vehicles to showcase. Coastal Community Credit Union hosted an entertaining Awards Ceremony in the evening. New connections and relationships were formed by many.