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Moving To / From Nanaimo

Nanaimo - Community Overview

The Coast Salish First Nation was the region's first inhabitants. The word Nanaimo is derived from the Salish word “Sney-Ny-Mais” meaning “meeting place”. The Spanish explorers, Galiano and Valdes, arrived in the area during the 1790s.


The Hudson’s Bay Company established a trading post in 1849, but the discovery of coal in 1852 led to permanent settlement. In 1862, the Vancouver Coal Mining and Land Co. bought out the HBC Mines and expanded operations. Completion of the Esquimalt to Nanaimo Railway in 1886 spurred development. The city grew with its increasing coal output. Production from the 3 main seams in the area reached its peak in 1923 when over 1 million tonnes were mined. Once the easily accessible coal was mined, it became increasingly dangerous and expensive to extract the fuel and by the early 1950s the city turned to forest products to support the economy.


Nanaimo was incorporated in 1874 when it had a population of only 1,500.


Today, with its beautiful natural setting, mild climate and numerous beaches, parks and nearby camping sites, Nanaimo is an important tourist centre. Rich agricultural land and abundant timber resources surround Nanaimo. Its excellent deep harbour, the only all purpose port city on Vancouver Island, has made it an important distribution and regional centre. It is also the axis of several transportation routes: the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway; the Trans-Canada and Island highways; and ferry services to and from the mainland.


Nanaimo is the birthplace of the Nanaimo Bar, an amazing dessert made with chocolate, graham wafers and vanilla cream.


The City of Nanaimo is situated on Vancouver Island. Nanaimo is located on the Trans Canada Highway, approximately 112 km north of Victoria and 60 km northwest of Vancouver, across the Strait of Georgia. The Regional District of Nanaimo includes the Greater Nanaimo area, plus the towns of Parksville and Qualicum.


The population of the Greater Nanaimo area numbers approximately 80,949.


For more information about Nanaimo:

City of Nanaimo
455 Wallace St.
Nanaimo, BC
V9R 5J6


Nanaimo has an average July temperature of 18.3°C and an average January temperature of 5.3°C. The average annual precipitation is 158 mm.


For daily or historical weather conditions, visit:


One of the best ways to learn about your new community is to subscribe to the local newspaper:


Nanaimo News Bulletin


For information regarding curriculum and enrolment procedures, please contact:


School District #68 (Nanaimo-Ladysmith)
395 Wakesiah Ave.
Nanaimo, BC
V9R 3K6


Conseil Scolaire Francophone de la Colombie-Britannique (School District 93)
180-10200 Shellbridge Way
Richmond, BC
V6X 2W7


Additional educational institutes:


Vancouver Island University

Medical Information

Public Services


Motor Vehicle & Driver Licencing


Public Transit

Nanaimo Regional Transit System


BC Ferry Corp


For more information about transportation in Nanaimo, visit:


Parks, Recreation and Culture


Harbourfront Branch Library


Nanaimo Wellington Library


For information about upcoming events in Nanaimo, visit:

Sports and Leisure

Special Attraction

Annual Events
Nanaimo is host to numerous annual festivities including the Bathtub Race across the Strait of Georgia to Vancouver in motor-powered bathtubs, Canada Day Celebrations and the Dragon Boat Festival in July, Vancouver Island Exhibition in August and the Festival of Trees from November to December.


Downtown Farmers Market
Held on Fridays from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm during the months of May to October, in the downtown area, vendors include fresh produce, baked goods and crafts.


Nanaimo District Museum
A journey back in time to the beginnings of Nanaimo, including First Nations artifact and crafts.


Nanaimo Art Gallery
This gallery has two locations and exhibits works from local, regional and national artists.


Parks and Trails
Nanaimo offers 588 hectares of city operated parks and 100 km of walking and biking trails.

Grocery Stores

To find a grocery store in the Nanaimo area, visit:




Quality Foods


Thrifty Foods


Save on Foods

 Shopping Centres

Woodgrove Centre
102-6631 Island Hwy N.
Nanaimo, BC
V9T 4T7


Nanaimo North Town Centre
4750 Rutherford Rd.
Nanaimo, BC
V9T 4K6


Movie Theatres
To find a movie theatre near you, visit:


To find local restaurants, visit:


For information about bars and nightclubs, visit:

Moving Tips Brochures

Call at 1-888-708-7700 to order the following brochures:

  • Protecting your goods in transit

  • Handling dangerous goods

  • Do-it-yourself packing guide

We Serve All of Vancouver Island and Canada with Our United Van Line partners.

Moving with Care Everywhere since 1948!


1855 Boxwood Road

Nanaimo, BC V9S 5X9


Parksville/Qualicum Phone:


2-2913 Allenby Road,

Duncan, BC V9L 6W2

Contact Details

Minute Men Moving & Storage

Nanaimo Phone:


Parksville/Qualicum Phone:


Duncan Phone:


Head Office:

Toll Free: 1-888-708-7700

Phone: 250-754-7557

Fax: 250-754-5475

Let's Get Moving

Nanaimo Office

Minute Men Moving & Storage

1855 Boxwood Road

Nanaimo, BC V9S 5X9

Duncan Office

Minute Men Moving & Storage

2-2913 Allenby Road,

Duncan, BC V9L 6W2


Call for Appointment

Service Area

 Vancouver Island, BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, 

Ontario, Quebec and Maritimes


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