Nanaimo Things to Do

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Best Rated Things to Do in Nanaimo

  • spitball's Profile Photo

    Go For A Ramble in Nanaimo

    by spitball Written Mar 1, 2006

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    Nanaimo has a rich history spanning from its roots as an ancient Coast Salish gathering place to the arrival of the European Explorers and the Hudson's Bay Company. Nanaimo's modern history was built upon rich deposits of coal and abundant fishing resources. Petroglyph Park has rock carvings left by earlier inhabitants, and these are something accessible to explore, not too far from the downtown core. Nanaimo District Museum provides an interactive display of its colourful history. Native exhibits, archeological artifacts, miner's cottage, a highly acclaimed coal mining exhibit and a 10,000 year old petroglyph are some of the museum's features. A collection of over 3,000 historical photos are available for public viewing. Plus there is a great little park, Piper Park, next to this museum that affords great views of the Harbour, Newcastle Island and Protection Island. A little bit of solitude in the downtown core! There's also a great little floating pub, in the harbour just off of Newcastle Island.
    A short walk from the Museum is The Bastion. Built in 1853, this white octagonal tower was the defence arsenal around which Hudson's Bay settlement grew. The newly restored fortress is the last surviving Hudson's Bay Company bastion in North America. You can witness a noon cannon-firing ceremony during the summer months complete with piper in full tartan dress.
    Ach, laddie! Just below the Bastion is Pioneer Rock, the point of arrival for emigrant miners aboard the Princess Royal after a grueling six-month voyage around Cape Horn from Britain. The Bastion also serves as a seasonal Tourism Nanaimo Infocentre.

    Nice walk around the lake in Nanaimo Small Boat leaving Horseshoe Bay in Nth Vanc. B.C. Ferries at Horseshoe Bay Gabriola Island map Nanaimo Scenes
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    Newcastle Island Provincial Park

    by Albernfrau Updated Aug 14, 2006

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    Only a 10 min. boat ride from downtown Nanaimo, Newcastle Island is a gem. Walk the 7.4 km circumference of the Island or some of the other shorter trails. Beachcomb, camp, swim, hike, kayak...There is a canteen on the Island. You can spot wildlife and marine life on this Island. You can also enjoy the magnificent views, especially at Giovando Point. On your way to Giovando Pt. you will have views of the harbour plans taking off and landing. At Gionvando Pt. you can see out into the great wide ocean. You may even see the BC Ferries coming by. Check out all my photos for the view and other areas of the Island. The ferry is $7CAN per adult. Check out the website for schedule and more details. This is a fantastic trip. You can spend 2 hours or 2 days and enjoy every moment.

    Check out all my photos and the website provided.

    Related to:
    • Beaches
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Birdwatching

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  • Camping_Girl's Profile Photo

    Shop at the Harbour

    by Camping_Girl Updated Mar 25, 2008

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    There are some really neat stores and art galleries along the harbour walk. Of course, this is also the place to buy fresh crab and other seafood. It's a great way to spend an afternoon. Then stop at one of the many little cafes (some are floating) in the harbour for lunch or a cold drink.

    We bought crabs here the day we were leaving to go home. The woman who sold them to us killed them, cleaned them and told us how to pack them on ice so they would stay fresh until we got home. She also told me how to cook them for eating or freezing when we got home.

    You could easily spend an hour just walking along the harbour too.

    Boats in the harbour Another view of the harbour You will see starfish & sunfish everywhere!
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    The park at the harbour

    by Camping_Girl Written Mar 25, 2008

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    There is a really nice park along the harbour. There were lots of people swimming and splashing around. There is a long pier where people can fish. But with the number of seals that we saw in the harbour, I'd have my doubts about catching anything there!

    Looking east towards the Strait of Georgia A spot to rest overlooking the public pier A little family fun in the park... Grey Heron was fishing for dinner!
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  • Camping_Girl's Profile Photo

    Go for a boat ride!

    by Camping_Girl Written Mar 25, 2008

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    There is plenty of fishing to be done at Nanaimo - the ocean plays a huge part in the way of life here. You can charter a boat to get out and do a little fishing, or just to spend a couple of hours on the sea, watching the seals and taking some photos.

    My cousin has lived in Nanaimo for a long time. He has watched orcas, whales and everything other type of marine life from his little boat.

    Seals on an island near Gabriola Gabriola Island I can't even remember how many sunfish we caught! Snake Island Here come my fishermen!
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  • meteorologist1's Profile Photo

    Great walking town

    by meteorologist1 Written Jul 28, 2004

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    Nanaimo is a great walking town. The downtown area is excellent for an afternoon or evening stroll. You can also see the harbor and the sea. There are also a few points of interest in the downtown area. Worth a visit.

    Streets of Nanaimo
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  • exSlacker's Profile Photo

    Get a Fishing License and Some Crab Pots!!

    by exSlacker Written Feb 25, 2004

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    Just ask anyone in any of the towns in the San Juans, and they can tell you where you need to go to get a Canadian Fishing License. If the boat you are in has crab pots, don't hesitate to use them! However, be sure that it is ok in the area where you are docked. Some bays and coves have special protections, and crabbing is illegal. The picture to the left is a huge mound of Dungeness Crab Meat. It was part of one of the best meals I have ever had.

    delicious crab meat!
    Related to:
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    • Sailing and Boating
    • Beaches

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  • stodmyk's Profile Photo

    3, 2, 1, Bungy!

    by stodmyk Written Oct 8, 2003

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    The Bungy Zone was the first legal bungy bridge in North America, and remains our sole bridge specifically built for bungy jumping. If you jump elsewhere, you're either doing it illegally or in a parking lot of an amusement park or shopping mall. Gee. Pavement. THAT's something to enjoy from high up. The view of the Nanaimo River gorge alone is worth the trek to the Bungy Zone.

    Once a year they have a naked weekend; anyone who'll jump in the buff jumps for free. It's worth the experience, even if you go on another weekend, with or without clothes.

    There's just nothing quite like the feeling of bungy jumping. I found it FAR scarier than parachuting, and have jumped about 7 times over the past 10 years (and yes, my first time was sans clothing, for free). The pictures you see are from a jump about 6 years ago -- I was 26 years old, and decided since it was my 5th jump I'd go backwards. Worth it, worth it, worth it.

    I'm here all week; try the veal.
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  • CatherineReichardt's Profile Photo

    Celebrating the local salmon

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Nov 14, 2012

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    (work in progress)
    You don't have to spend very long in British Columbia to realise that salmon in all its incarnations forms a major component of the province's economy. Given its economic significance, it's not surprising that the salmon is celebrated in local artforms, including municipal art.

    This fountain is located close to Nanaimo's casino and celebrates the importance of salmon. It's a pleasant piece of piece of sculpture (with some nice mosaic work edging the inner surface of the ponds), but to my mind, is nowhere near as attractive as the beautiful salmon fountain in Port Alberni.

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    Whimsical art celebrating local history

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Nov 14, 2012

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    (work in progress)
    I love it when art is used to transform an everyday item into something that's interesting as well as functional, so I was delighted to find this amusing piece next to the casino.

    A large metal box (presumably housing telephone or electrical infrastructure) has been painted to make it look as though you're looking into the stopes of an underground coal mine. Given that Nanaimo has a coal mining history, it's a witty nod to the town's past, and is a clever way to make an otherwise unattractive piece of instrastructure into an attractive feature.

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  • shavy's Profile Photo

    The Bastion

    by shavy Updated Jul 5, 2014

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    We walk away from the harbor at the main road we met this Bastion . The Hudson is Bay Company completed the Bastion in 1853 as the centre of a settlement dedicated to coal mining. The Bastion is perhaps most famous for its exciting cannon firing ceremony every day at noon from International Museum day (Sunday, May 18, 2014) to Labour Day (Monday, September 1, 2014). Also adding to the entertainment every Thursday and Saturday between late June and Labour Day is the Brigadoon Dance Academy's highland dancers, who perform just before the cannon firing from 11:30 am to 12:00 pm.

    Costumed interpreters are onsite throughout the summer season to answer historical and tourist inquiries. The Bastion is open every day from May until the Labour Day long weekend from 10am to 5pm. Winter hours begin in September, where the Bastion is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10am to 5pm. Located at the corner of Bastion and Front Street on Pioneer Waterfront Plaza

    Related to:
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    • Fishing
    • Sailing and Boating

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  • kehale's Profile Photo

    Walk Along the Waterfront

    by kehale Written Aug 5, 2014

    The Waterfront Trail is the perfect thing to do while visiting Nanaimo, and the best part is that it is free! After breakfast on our first morning, I headed straight there with my daughter. It's easy to get to, as long as you can get to Front St, as there are a number of entrances onto the path from Front St.
    It's a great thing to do with little one's as there is much to see. Our 3 year old enjoyed the boats, geese and of course watching the float planes take off and land. There are usually buskers and people selling small items along the path (they won't bother you if you aren't interested) and you can walk along to the public dock where people often go crabbing and you may even be lucky enough to see the seal who comes in looking for free handouts from visitors.
    Keep walking and you will find the Harbourside Play dock and a large park where they are often markets and other events taking place. You could walk for a long time and just get some good excercise and take in all of the fantastic views that Nanaimo has to offer. If you are visiting the Harbour City, how can you not take in all of the Harbour views that they have to offer... FOR FREE!!

    One of the Marnia's on the waterfront Checking out the boats The crab sculpture on the trail
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  • kehale's Profile Photo

    Hit the Playground

    by kehale Written Aug 6, 2014

    Travelling with a 3 year old always means finding child friendly things to do... for us, if they are free it's even better. When I stumbled across the Harbourside Playdock on the Waterfront Trail I was thrilled... as was our daughter. This is one of the biggest playgrounds I have ever seen and my daughter went nuts when she found it. There is a fantastic variety of equipment for the little ones to run, climb, balance, swing, slide and just generally play on. Every single day that we were in Nanaimo we visited the park for a varying amount of time and my daughter never grew tired of it... and neither did I! If you are in Nanaimo with a little one, definitely spend some time at the playground with them! You will all enjoy it!

    Arriving at the Park Climbing
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  • CNevinT's Profile Photo

    Bungy Jumping at WildPlay on the Nanaimo River

    by CNevinT Written Aug 26, 2014

    An iconic, steampunk sculpture of flowing heavy metal, the Bungy Jump bridge itself arcs above the Nanaimo River, stretching across a narrow, forested gorge that is as deep as a 15-story building. A steep, wide flight of stairs leads up to the bridge deck and the bungy jump-off point – it’s so steep it seems to block out the sky entirely.

    North America's first purpose-built bungee bridge
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  • pieter_jan_v's Profile Photo

    Nanaimo Museum

    by pieter_jan_v Written Oct 12, 2012

    The Nanaimo Museum displays the history of this Pioneer town from its founding year till present.

    The perminent exhibition addresses Nanaimo's lifestyles, the Coal Mine, the Harbour, In The News, the Snunéymuxw, Educating Nanaimo, Timber! , the Bastion Era and the Sports Hall of Fame.

    Furthermore additional temporary exhibitions are organised.

    Admission: CAD 2.00 (Adult)

    Opening hours:
    Summer: Daily: 10AM - 5PM
    Winter: Mo-Sa: 10AM - 5PM

    Nanaimo Museum
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    • Museum Visits
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Nanaimo Things to Do

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