Part Two: Nanaimo’s Hidden Treasures

Continuing from an earlier blog post, we’ll continue our overview of some of the sights not to be missed when visiting Nanaimo.

Nanaimo Museum: If participating in hair raising physical challenges aren’t your thing, but delving into local history is, the Nanaimo Museum is a destination you simply can’t miss. Housed in beautiful quarters in the city’s historic downtown core, the Museum offers a lushly crafted glimpse at the city’s early days. With an emphasis on First Nations and coal mining history, the Museum offers dynamic exhibits and a wide assortment of lovingly preserved and presented artifacts.

collieryColliery Dam Park: Another living legacy of Nanaimo’s industrial roots, Colliery Dam Park’s origin is as a water reservoir for the area’s pioneering mines. Today the rustic but well maintained trail system that snakes through the area make for a beautiful and peaceful hike. A number of trails crisscross throughout the parkland, skirting the shores of the lakes that once served as part of the coal mine operations. It is an ideal destination for those wanting to step back and embrace Nature, in a quiet low impact way.

Petroglyph Park: Nanaimo’s industrial history may date to the 1840’s, but its human history goes back millennia. That point is brought home with simple elegance at Petroglyph Park, situated at the southern entrance to the city. Within its self-directed trail system, hundreds of rock carvings, produced by Native artists over thousands of years, stand as mute testament to the area’s First Peoples. Interpretive signage help to outline the history of these timeless creations, but only a personal viewing can fully capture the sense of living history these artworks represent.

Protection Island: Not a park, or a museum or anything preserved for posterity, Protection Island is probably one of the world’s most unique neighborhoods. Situated a short ferry ride from the city’s downtown, the Island (at the entrance to Nanaimo harbor) is home to hundreds of local residents who have made the uniqueness of island life distinctly their own. Served by city resources and protected by protectionthe local fire department, this island neighborhood serves as a showcase of distinctive homes and what is considered the only floating pub in the world. For a taste of something completely different, the boat ride to Protection Island is like a journey to another world.

Westwood Lake Park: Only minutes from the city, surrounded by housing developments yet preserved like a pristine world of its own, Westwood Lake Park offers sandy beaches, non-powered water sports and one of the most beautiful and developed hiking trails in the region. A year round destination, the Park is perfect for picnics, hikes or a cool dip in a mountain stream fed lake. While no camping occurs in the park itself, a private campground is located literally at its gate.

These are only a few of the many attractions Nanaimo and its immediate area have to offer visitors and residents alike. Take the time and do a little research and you will discover that Nanaimo is not just the place where the ferry docks, it’s a destination that offers services and sights that are distinctly its own. Discover Nanaimo for yourself, you’ll be surprised at all you will find.