Nanaimo (2004 pop. 77,000) is the second largest city on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. It is about 55 km west of Vancouver, separated by the Strait of Georgia, but directly linked to Vancouver via BC Ferries. It is the seat of the Nanaimo Regional District.
By virtue of its proximity to Vancouver, Nanaimo is the gateway to many other destinations both on the island - Tofino, Rathtrevor Provincial Park - and off its coast - Newcastle Island, Gabriola Island, Valdes Island, and many other of the Gulf Islands. Nanaimo is sometimes referred to as the "Hub City" as well as the "Harbour City".
Nanaimo began as a trading post in the early 1800s; in 1849 the Snuneymuxw chief Ki-et-sa-kun ("Coal Tyee") informed the Hudson's Bay Company of the presence of coal in the area, and 1853 the company built a fort known as the Nanaimo Bastion (still preserved). Subsequently the town was chiefly known for the export of coal. The 1887 Nanaimo Mine Explosion killed 148 miners and was the largest man-made explosion until the Halifax Explosion. In the 1940s lumber supplanted coal as the main business, although Minetown Days are still celebrated in the now independent township of Lantzville.
Nanaimo is home to the Nanaimo Navigators, a minor league baseball team, the Nanaimo Clippers, a Junior A hockey club in the BCHL, the poet Tim Lander, musicians Diana Krall and Allison Crowe, actress Kim Cattrall, and author Kevin Patterson. Nanaimo is home to the oldest continuous community band in Canada, The Nanaimo Concert Band, established in 1872. Nanaimo is also known for its bathtub race during the annual marine festival, and for firing a cannon (blank) on the parapet next to the Bastion, (a bastion or fort), everyday at noon and for special events.
Nanaimo is home to Petroglyph Provincial Park, where visitors can view ancient petroglyph rock carvings and runes.
Malaspina University-College's main campus is located in Nanaimo, which brings many international students to the city.
Nanaimo is named for the Snuneymuxw people. It is the origin of the famous Nanaimo bar.
- Nanaimo homepage (http://www.nanaimo.ca)
- Friends of Plan Nanaimo (http://www.friendsofplannanaimo.org)
- Early history of Nanaimo (http://nanaimo.museum.bc.ca/bastionpage.htm)