Nanaimo Port Guide

Nanaimo Port is situated on Vancouver Island, British Columbia in Canada. It earned the distinction of being called “Harbor City” due to its proximity to the sea. Its welcoming cruise port is the gateway to the animated city of Nanaimo which attracts local and international tourists. Going around the city is easy via the city transit system; visitors are advised to know its schedule to avoid the inconvenience of waiting for long periods. Cars can also be rented with prior arrangements made at the harbor, ferry terminal or the airport.


Nanaimo port of call has its own shopping center which is conveniently located in the downtown of the city and close to the picturesque waterfront. Port Place Shopping Center has a wide variety of stores from health and beauty to fashion and food to gifts and souvenir items. The center has over 45 stores which include BC Liquor Store, Canada post, London Drugs, Art 10 Gallery, Falconer Books, and Harbor Shoes.  A number of entertainment and dining options are available including Charlie Brown’s Health Foods, Orange Julius and Purdy’s Chocolates.

Nanaimo Port also has a number of large malls in the city; among them is the Pioneer Waterfront Plaza which is the home to clothing retail shops as well as souvenir items. Beautiful gift items of local arts and crafts are also available in many of the town’s small shops.

Things to See

Nanaimo cruise port is an exciting place to visit. The city hosts the annual Bathtub Race; bathtubs are transformed into boats for a race through the Nanaimo Harbor. Nanaimo is the Bathtub Racing capital of the world. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy strolling along the Nanaimo seawall from Cameron Island to Nanaimo Yacht Club. Visitors can also bungee jump or have a zipline adventure at Wild Play Element Park. The Newcastle Island Provincial Marine Park has beautiful nature trail along its forest and coastline; this is a 10 minute ferry ride from the city’s downtown. The Swy-a-Iana Lagoon Park is the perfect place to stroll and have a picnic.

Aside from these, the following are interesting places to visit:

  • The Bastion is the oldest Hudson Bay Company fort in North America.
  • The Pioneer Plaza has markers for self guided walking tours of the downtown area.
  • Nanaimo Museum is in the heart of the downtown. It is the home of interesting artifacts from the early settlement of the city. There are audio visual presentation and exhibits. Piper’s Park is a miner’s cottage; an 1890 locomotive can also be seen.

Restaurants and Bars

Dining in Nanaimo offers a varied selection of local, regional and international dishes all of which are gastronomical feasts. Local treats include the delicious Chocolate Fridge Cake. Lighthouse Bistro and Pub offers local cuisines amidst the breathtaking Newcastle and Protection Islands.

Have a taste of international food in Phoenicia. Mediterranean Cuisine is set in a cozy colored Old Quarter district. Gina’s Restaurant serves Mexican food in a pink building in the downtown area. There are also Vietnamese restaurants in town with prices that are relatively cheap. Fine dining and hearty serving is The Green Olive’s specialty. Discovery Room has secret gourmet dishes at Vancouver Island University.

Enjoy a bottle of beer and meet new friends at The Old City Station and dance the night away at the Spice Lounge in Commercial Street.

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