101 Things to See and Do in Nanaimo

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101 fun ideas of things to do in Nanaimo.


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    Things to seeThings to seeand doand do in Nanaimoin Nanaimo

    in co-operation with Tourism Nanaimo

    Published by the

  • 2 Nanaimo News Bulletin - 101 Things to See and Do in Nanaimo 2010

  • Nanaimo News Bulletin - 101 Things to See and Do in Nanaimo 2010 3

    ITS AMAZING WHAT YOU CAN DO HERERegardless if you want to go kayaking, sailing, rock climbing, diving, golfing, shopping, biking, bungy jumping, hiking or any of the 92 other things to do, Tourism Nanaimo can help you get the most out of your stay.

    Visit our Visitor Centres at Beban Park or the Port of Nanaimo Centre,online at www.tourismnanaimo.com or call 250-756-0106

    Free Map and Attractions Guide available

    NANAIMOM A P A N D AT T R AC T I O N S G U I D E 2 0 1 0

    I T S A M A Z I N G W H A T Y O U C A N D O H E R E !



    Welcome to Nanaimo!BY JOLYNN GREEN

    Welcome to Nanaimo. Discover our harbour city and all the amazing things that you can do here. Residents and visitors alike, whatever age will find a host of activities and local sites to enjoy.

    Surrounded by ocean vistas, mountains, lakes, ocean, rivers and valley views Nanaimo has a myriad of landscapes and natural attractions. Whether you like to hike, bike, fish, camp, swim, kayak or just kick back and relax Nanaimo is a perfect place to base your Island adventure.

    Nanaimo is rich in history from our early Hudson Bay trading post beginnings to our coal mine boom days. Take a walking tour of our city centre. From historical treasures such as the Bastion and our Old City Quarter, you can also experience our Arts District and a variety of quaint shops and restaurants.

    The citys newest addition, the Vancouver Island Conference Centre, is also home to the new Nanaimo Museum and our downtown Visitor

    Information kiosk. From local farmer

    markets to fine cuisine, you will be sure to find eating and dining a pleasure. We love to boast our island fresh-Island grown produce and products from fresh seafood to locally grown fruits and vegetables.

    If it is the spirit of a festival or a thrill-seeking adventure, Nanaimo has an event or attraction to suit all types of enthusiasts.

    If adrenaline seeking is your game, try out WildPlay with bungy jumping and the king swing. If relaxing and enjoying an ocean vista is your wish try out Pipers Lagoon and its fabulous views of Georgia Strait.

    If culture and music are your fancy the Vancouver Island Symphony in the Park is a wonderful experience. And if camaraderie and spirited competition are your game visit the Dragon Boat

    Festival or the bathtub race and marine festival.

    Nanaimo is host to a wide selection of shop-ping centres, restaurants,accommodation provid-ers, shops, services and attractions. With so much to offer, we just cant do it all justice in this article.

    So, please visit our website at www.tourismnanaimo.com or visit our Visitor

    Information Centre on Bowen Road or our kiosk in the conference centre.

    Our knowledgeable staff and volunteers will be pleased to assist you with any plans.

    Its amazing what you can do here. With so much to do and see, we hope that you will stay and play in Nanaimo.

    Jolynn Green is president of Tourism

    Nanaimo. Please call 1-800-663-7337 or 250-756-0106. Visit online at www.tourismnanaimo.com.

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    High ambitionsRomper Rooms indoor climbing


    Hearts of dragonsDragon Boat Festival draws thousands


    Hikers heavenPlenty of options from light strolls to treks 23Terrific tubbingNanaimo known as bathtub racing capital 24Digging into historyNew museum provides peek into the past 26Cycling cityFrom paved paths to sick singletrack 32




    Fascinating rhythmUnique store triggers music memories 37

    Gabriola IslandGet off the beaten path to gulf island 33

    Silly sailorsSummer in Nanaimo means silly boats 10




    Visit www.nanaimonorth.com and sign up for the e-newsletter and keep up to date with events, store specials and news!

    Everything for a DollarsPeoplessSuzannessRegis SalonsBentleysTelus sRogersBest BuysUrban PlanetsNanaimo 1 Hour OpticalsFan Fever Game WearsPaws N Jaws

    Front Side Beach and BoardsScotiabank sLondon DrugssZellerssSearssGalaxy Theatres Kelseys sMontanas ...and MORE!

  • Nanaimo News Bulletin - 101 Things to See and Do in Nanaimo 2010 5

    Discover Nanaimo

    Whether you are a visitor or resident, its worth your while to get to know the Harbour City.

    The second-largest city on Vancouver Island, Nanaimo and its 90,000 people are snuggled in between Georgia Strait on one side and wilderness on the other.

    The starting point for visiting other parts of the Island, Nanaimo has one of the most stunning waterfronts in Canada, and offers everything from parks, lakes and trails to sports and some of the most fascinating history in all of British Columbia.

    Nanaimo is also a happening place with events going on year-round.

    Nanaimo is known for its world-class scuba diving and nationally and internationally renowned performances at the Port Theatre.

    Nanaimo is sports of every nature. Nanaimo is people volunteer

    groups serving the community to make it a better place.

    Nanaimo is business and Nanaimo is recreation.

    In short, Nanaimo is something for everyone.

    And youll find it all here in our pick of the top 101 ways to spend your time.

    Be a tourist in your own town and see what youve been missing. Or welcome a tourist to your town.

    Show them what Nanaimo has to offer.

    They will be back, and that is good for everyone.

    SEE A MOVIE Nanaimo has several big screen theatres with comfortable seating and surround sound. Try the Galaxy Th eatre at Nanaimo

    North Town Centre at 250-729-8000 and Avalon Cinema at Woodgrove Centre at 250-390-5021.

    FESTIVAL OF BANNERS TOUR Now in its 22nd year, runs May 1 to Oct. 31. Th is years theme is Th e Best of Nanaimo. Artists create

    banners that refl ect the chosen theme

    and they are displayed on street lamps throughout the city. Th e display is a symphony of colours that can be seen right through the fall season before being sold. Proceeds go to charity. 250-740-6350 or www.nanaimogallery.ca.

    NANAIMO AQUATIC CENTRE Stay in shape or just cool down, the Nanaimo Aquatic Centre has it all. A 52-metre pool, three water slides, a lei-

    sure pool, wave pool, steam room, hot tub, lazy river, spacious weight room and restaurant will keep you busy and healthy all day.


    1 TRY SOME TRICKS OK, so unless youve practised your skills, maybe you just want to watch some of Nanaimos two-wheeled daredevils in action. People like Alex Kilpatrick (above) strut their stuff in various places around Nanaimo, including the dirt jumps at Doumont Road and the Skate Bowl behind the Nanaimo Curling Club.

    Your kind ofgolf course

    Nine holes - Par 33Morning or early afternoon groups

    155 Pryde Avenue, Nanaimo

    250-753-6188Ask about our 10 and 50 game passes

    Pryde Vista

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    WHALE WATCHINGCowichan Bay!


    Only 45 Minutes South of Nanaimo


    HARBOUR CITY NanaimoWere friendly and we cant wait to see you here!

    This Place This Place

    ROCKS!ROCKS!Take exit 16 off the parkway. On the corner of 5th and Bruce in the University Village Mall.


    Charity operated



    bingo in



    Charity operated



    bingo in


    Know your limit, play within it.Call 250-754-1421 ext. 2 for jackpot info

    Reservations Recommended WildPlay.com

    Nanaimo 1-888-716-73748888888888888-8-8-8-8-8-8-8-88-888 717171717171717171717171717171716-6-6-6-6-6-6-6-6-7373737373737373737337474747477474747444

    Bungy Jumpungy Jumm

    ppCanyon ZipZip

    Monkido Kids


    nananananananananananananaanaaaimimimimimimimimimimimimmmmo o o o o o oo ooo 888888888888-8-8-8-8-8-8-8-8-8-88 71717171717171717171716-6-6-6-6-6--6-6-7373737373737373737373747474747474747474747




  • Nanaimo News Bulletin - 101 Things to See and Do in Nanaimo 2010 7

    clung to the rock wall, paralyzed, not wanting to look down. My arms were starting to get sore,

    ngers were starting to slip. I had nowhere left to go but down.

    Grab the rope in front of you, called a voice from below.

    It was my belayer, Matt Walker. I was at Nanaimos indoor climbing gym, the Romper Room, securely harnessed in place, not halfway up Mt. Everest, and I had reached the top of my rst climb it was time to come down.

    Getting up was easy enough, it was the coming down I didnt want to do. Entrusting my entire body weight to a stranger at the other end of a rope 23 feet below didnt appeal to me. Unfortunately, the alternative was to stay at the top of the wall. Finally I gave in, let go of the wall, grabbed my rope and leaned back.

    With my feet back on the ground I gained a newfound con dence. I was ready to try something harder! Bring it on, I told Matt. So, he brought me to the second easiest climb in the gym. After that, going up became more dif cult and coming down got easier. I soon adjusted to dangling in mid-air (excluding the climb with a bit of an overhang where you swing when you fall) and was able to focus on getting up more challenging climbs.

    The Romper Room is Nanaimos only indoor climbing gym, and has climbs for people of all experience levels, with walls ranging from 23 to 26 feet tall.

    We have levels of climb to suit everybodys ability right from rank beginners to top climbers, said Colleen Roy of the Romper Room.

    Roy said one of the great things about climbing is that people of different skill levels and ages can climb together.

    Anyone can climb with anyone else, she said. A three-year-old can climb with their parent if they want. Because one person belays while the other climbs, you could be scaling be-

    ginner climbs while your partner pushes up the hardest walls.Roy estimated the age of climbers coming through the

    Romper Room ranges from three to 73. Climbers can get their belay ticket when they are 12 years old.

    With 7,500 square feet of climbing space, the Romper Room is a top-notch facility.

    We have more variety of slab and overhang, she said. The Romper Room has hosted nationals and is also a host

    of the bouldering circuit Tour de Bloc. It offers three types of climbing. Top rope climbing what I did is what most people think of when they hear indoor rock climbing a rope goes from you to a pulley on the ceiling then down to a belayer.

    Bouldering is climbing without a rope. Its not as high up, but offers a different dynamic than top rope.

    See page 38


    High ambitions



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    DINGHY DOCK PUB Canadas only fl oating pub is on Protection Island, a 10-minute ferry ride from the Nanaimo Boat Basin.

    Chow down on pub fare and seafood. Th e Protection Connection ferry leaves 10 minutes past the hour beginning at 7:10 a.m. weekdays, 8:10 a.m. Saturdays and 9:10 a.m. Sundays. A walk around Protection Island is a popular post-meal activity.

    OLIVER WOODS COMMU-NITY CENTRE Nanaimos newest community centre features city programs and recreational facilities. Call

    250-756-5200 or check the Leisure Guide for programs.

    BOWLING A great activity for rainy days. Brechin Lanes at 1870 East Wellington Rd. off ers fi ve-pin bowling with automatic lanes and scoring,

    and bumpers for the kids. Call 250-753-2341. Splitsville at 171 Calder Rd. off ers 10-pin fun, call 250-754-2442.

    SKATEBOARDING Th e Nanaimo Skateboard Park can be found on the corner of Comox Road and Wall Street while the Pioneer

    Skate Park can be found behind Cana-dian Tire in the north end.

    HORSESHOES A great way to spend an aft ernoon. Six public pitches are maintained at Bo-

    wen Park near the tennis courts.



    HARBOURFRONT WALK-WAY Whats a water-front city if you cant stroll along the waters shore? In Nanaimo, the Harbourfront Walkway leads from Cameron Island past downtown

    and all the way to the B.C. Fer-ries ter-minal at Depar-ture Bay and is a popular

    attraction. Along the way, strollers get a look at the downtown Boat Basin and can stop in for coffee or ice cream, or browse the shops clustered below the Bastion.

    the way to theB.C. Fer-ries ter-minal atDepar-ture Bay and is a popular

    attraction Along the



    FISHERMANS WHARF Fresh seafood right out of the sea can be found at the Boat

    Basin below Front Street.

    SPRING ART FEATURE Th e Spring Showcase is a display of art from Nanaimo and

    area painters, photographers, potters, sculptors and others. Th e show can be

    viewed during April at the Nanaimo Arts Council gallery in the North Town Centre. Held during April every year.

    TENNIS Tennis, anyone? Beban and Bowen parks both feature six public tennis courts that

    operate on a fi rst-come, fi rst-served basis. Bowen also has three nighttime token-operated courts for nocturnal en-thusiasts. Tokens cost $8 per hour from the Bowen or Beban Park offi ces or the Nanaimo Aquatic Centre.




    (250) 248-7829Info & Reservations: www.hornelake.com

    AYSCAMPINGBeach & wooded sites, teepee camping, boat launch, free parking & picnics.

    DAILY ACTIVITIESAmazing care tours canoe & kayak rentals rock rappel sessions family Amazing Race guided sunset paddle.

    SUMMER CAMPS6 day camps with adult counsellors. Healthy meals Explore Camp ages 9-11 Rock & Ropes Camp ages 12-14 Cruisin in Canoes Camp ages 12-14

    FAMILY CAMPS4-day All-Inclusive camp includes all meals, guided activities and a family-size teepee!

    VotedBest Natural

    Outdoor Site in BC

    by Attactions Canada

    tand a family size

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    Your Outdoor Store

    BIG CANOE SALMON TOURSPaddle the waters around Newcastle Island and the Nanaimo Harbour in a Coast

    Salish Big Canoe. Aft er your paddling adventure enjoy a salmon BBQ feast on Newcastle Island.

    For more information or to book your tour phone:1.800.760.0011 or 250.760.0044 or 250.754.6626

    This years event, July 9-11, will be the eighth annual in the Harbour City and is expected to be the largest yet.

    Last year close to 80 teams par-ticipated compared to 25 in the events rst year and thousands of people attended the festival at Maffeo Sutton Park and Swy-a-lana Lagoon.

    This year, organizers dedicate the fes-tival to Alex Marriott, who passed away on Feb. 6, 2010. Marriott was a found-ing member of the Nanaimo Dragon Boat Festival.

    With his impos-ing stature, big grin and larger than life person-ality, he capti...