Nanaimo, British Columbia

Nanaimo, British Columbia’s sixth-largest city, is also known as the Harbour City, as it has a beautiful harbour right in the heart of the town, sheltered by islands. Today Nanaimo is a revitalised town, with the harbour front walkway, new museum, art galleries and a large variety of of shopping and dining options are all good reasons for spending some time here.

The historic downtown is now divided into three, neatly designated zones: The Old City Quarter with its restaurants and heritage buildings; the Arts District, a city-centre focal point for artist galleries and performance spaces; and a sweeping harbourfront walkway dotted with public plazas, shops, dining spots, parkland and a swimming lagoon.

The downtown waterfront promenade is also the site of passenger-ferry departure points for two nearby island gems: Protection Island (home of Canada’s only floating pub) and the historic, picnic-perfect Newcastle Island. Gabriola Island, an idyllic artist’s colony and getaway spot, is also in regional waters and is serviced from downtown by a car ferry.

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