Nanaimo Heritage and Culture

February 3, 2016

Nanaimo is a city that has undergone tremendous growth through the twentieth and twenty first century and stands as British Columbia’s third oldest city. Once a mining town with a small population of a mere 24 families in 1864, the city now boasts a population of roughly 85 000. With this growth comes a rich history, important to understanding the foundations upon which the city stands. Here are our top cultural experiences in Nanaimo:

  1. Nanaimo Museum

Located in the Nanaimo Conference Centre the Nanaimo Museum is a great stop for all ages. It contains exhibits pertaining to the Coal Mine, Habour, Timber, Hub city, Sports Hall of Fame, the Bastion Era and The Snunéymuxw exhibit. Admission is also highly affordable at $2.00 for adults, $1.75 for students and seniors and free for children under the age of five, definitely worth checking out!

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  1. The Bastion

The Bastion is a former Hudson Bay Company outpost built in 1853 and serves as one Nanaimo’s oldest historical artifacts. The timber is still original and it also amazingly survived two moves. It is open seven days a week from May long weekend until Labour Day, make sure to pass by around noon so you can experience the cannon firing ceremony.

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  1. Petroglyph Park

Petroglyph Park is located in South Nanaimo and contains traditional First Nations carvings dating back to 1000 years ago. There are multiple information boards throughout explaining all of the carvings and their significance. The images are carved into sandstone and depict everything from animals to people. While there enjoy going for a walk on one of the park’s many trails

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  1. Newcastle Island

Newcastle Island Marine Protected Park is part of the Snuneymuxw First Nation Traditional Territory and was used as a place of healing. When loved ones would pass away the Snuneymuxw would travel by canoe to the island and spend time there to overcome their grief. In present day, you can access Newcastle Island by water taxi and explore the nature and cultural aspects the small island has to offer. Great for a day trip on a sunny day!

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  1. Vancouver Island Military Museum

Considered to be one of British Columbia’s major military museums, this museum boasts over twenty five exhibits which aid in depicting Canada’s military history. Artifacts age from 1812 to more current ones residing from Afghanistan. Conveniently located in downtown Nanaimo it would be ideal coupled with visiting the Bastion or the Nanaimo Museum.

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We hope that the information we provided can help to diversify your cultural knowledge about Nanaimo!

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact