Discover why Nanaimo is Nature's Playground!
Nanaimo, Vancouver Island
Nanaimo is home to beautiful natural scenery. Our very pleasant climate, considered to be one of the mildest in Canada, makes this a natural year-round playground. Enjoy some of the 2700 acres of parkland that Nanaimo has preserved. Piper's Lagoon Park off of Hammond Bay Road is a beautiful beach to view the Coast Mountain Range, Mount Baker in Washington State and the Salish Sea from.
The view that sold Marlene and I on moving here can be seen by visiting Vancouver Island University, located off 5th Street near the Nanaimo Parkway. Gaze down upon Nanaimo's beautiful harbour, Newcastle Island, Gabriola Island, the Coast Mountain Range and more.
Newcastle Island is undoubtedly Nanaimo's hidden treasure. Now a provincial park, Newcastle Island has had a long illustrious history. Our local First Nations community has long used Newcastle as a seasonal home. When the Hudson Bay Company came to Vancouver Island they 'acquired' the Island as a source of coal. Later after the coal mines were closed, Newcastle was a sandstone quarry. Herring salteries, at one time numbering over 30, were clustered along the shores of the Island facing Brechin Point and Departure Bay. In the 1970's Newcastle was designated a Provincial Park and protected for all to enjoy. Now local residents and visitors to our community enjoy the many trails, beaches, playgrounds and services that the Island offers. It really is a great place to spend a day: close to the city; yet so far away. Plan to spend several hours, if not a whole day, on Newcastle Island. Ferries leave frequently, during the summer months, from Maffeo-Sutton Park and on sunny weekends during the shoulder months. There is no ferry service during the winter however the Protection Island Ferry may be able to drop you off!
On the third week of every July is our world famous, World Championship Bathtub Race and Marine Festival. This unique event started over 35 years ago right here in our fair city. Now a Nanaimo to Nanaimo event, daring tubbers race their real bathtubs out of Nanaimo Harbour to the Winchelsea Islands and back to Maffeo Sutton Park. Boat design rules are quite stringent and flotation devices are not allowed. If the bathtub motor stops, the boat doesn't float!
Nanaimo is home to the best temperate water scuba diving in the world. Jacques Cousteau claimed that the waters of The Emerald Sea, of which Nanaimo is part of, are the next best place to dive in the world after the Red Sea.
Besides our natural underwater assets, The Saskatchewan, a Canadian Naval Destroyer sunk June 14, 1997 is B.C.'s most popular artificial reef! Hundreds of thousands of diveshave been completed, more than all other B.C. reefs combined. The Saskatchewan now breams with life and has really taken on the role of creating a new habitat for marine life. Visibility at the Saskatchewan is best in the winter with viz as much as 100 feet. You can sit on the deck of the Saskatchewan, look up and see your charter boat!
The Nanaimo Dive Association, 2001, sunk the HMCS Cape Breton, making the Saskatchewan and the Cape Breton the world's largest artificial reef system! The Cape Breton sits 700' south of the Saskatchewan and is an enormous dive!
The RivTow Lion is the most recent addition to our local fleet of reefs. Located next to Newcastle Island in Departure Bay this wreck is accessible year round for novice wreck diving and training.
And just to confirm what we know locally, the readers of Rodale's Scuba Diving Magazine, the world's most popular dive magazine, have voted British Columbia the following honours:
Biking trails abound in Nanaimo. The City of Nanaimo has recently produced a map of the hiking and biking trails in and around the many parks we have.
Nanaimo boasts an International award-winning Parkway Trailway. The City of Nanaimo won an award from the Pacific Northwest Parks Recreation Association for the Parkway Trailway design. This 22 kilometre trail follows the length of the new Nanaimo Parkway highway which bypasses the city center. This paved path is excellent for easy cycling.
In addition to the Parkway Trailway, a multi-use trail has been constructed next to the E & N Railway alongside Highway 19A. This connector provides a safe passage way for bikers, walkers, roller bladers and other enthusiasts to get from central to north Nanaimo.
Want some real off-road adventure? Nanaimo and Central Vancouver Island boast some outstanding mountain biking trails. The Nanaimo Mountain Bike Club is great group of folks to ride with and their website offers detailed pdf maps of the trails in Nanaimo and region and is an excellent source of info.
Nanaimo is the year-round destination for you to visit if golf is your game. You can choose from 20 courses within an hour's drive of the city, many with pro facilities. Nanaimo Golf and Country Club, 2 minutes from The Buccaneer Inn, is rated as one of the top 10 courses in B.C. Other courses in vicinity of Nanaimo include: Winchelsea View in Lantzville; Fairwinds in Nanoose Bay; Cottonwood in Cassidy; Gabriola Golf and Country Club on Gabriola Island and in Parksville/Qualicum Beach area Morningstar; Eaglecrest; Glengarry and Arrowsmith round out some of our excellent golfing venues. Pitch and Putt golf is available at a new 9 hole course at Beban Park.
Nanaimo offers plentiful year-round saltwater sports fishing for salmon, cod or red snapper. Fish, drop a crab trap from a boat or from the fishing and crabbing pier situated just off the Harbourside Walkway next to Maffeo Sutton Park in our beautiful harbour.
Fresh water fishing is readily accessible at one of the many stocked lakes in Nanaimo. The lakes are stocked with rainbow and cut-throat trout each year. Long Lake, Nanaimo Lakes, Westwood Lake, Diver Lake, Quesnel Lake in Cedar, Colliery Dam and Brannen Lake are the best places to fish.
Brechin Boat Launch, across from The Buccaneer Inn is Nanaimo's main boat ramp. You can launch your own boat and park your trailer there or we have a few long parking stalls that can accommodate your truck and trailer;(40' maximum).
Be one of the shoreside enthusiasts cheering on the sailors racing in the next Van Isle 360 Yacht Race. This bi-annual race starts and finishes in Nanaimo. Nine other communities around Vancouver Island hosted overnight festivals and celebrations to make these yachtsmen feel welcome. Held each odd year.
Hop on a charter boat and take a tour of the surrounding islands and our gorgeous harbour. Or take the Protection Island ferry from the boat basin in the downtown core and enjoy the Dinghy Dock, Canada's only floating pub.
Want to go sailing? Nanaimo Charters and Sailing School, located across from The Buccaneer Inn, rents sail boats. Experienced sailors can skipper the boat themselves or your can hire a skippered charter. Sailing instruction and extended sailing vacations are also available.
For the more adventurous traveller, Nanaimo offers activities you'll never forget. Try one of the many heart-pumping adventures at Wild Play. 'The Adrenaline Centre' features a specially designed and built bridge over the Nanaimo River, the first legal bridge of its kind in North America. With well over 100,000 jumps since 1990, the Bungy Zone boasts an unblemished safety record. Tandem jumps, zips and swings are also available. The 'ultimate swing' promises to be the most terrifying ride in North America, with participants reaching speeds up to 140 kilometers per hour. Wild Play features Monkido, a multi level obstacle course elevated in the trees.
Climb the indoor rock climbing wall at Romper Room. They have great family packages and this is an excellent rainy day or evening event.
Indoor swimming is available at Nanaimo's leisure pool at Beban Park. The tropical, pirate theme will keep your family entertained for hours. The pool features a 30 foot high, 200 feet long, water slide, a shallow water leisure area with a jet-propelled lazy river channel and pirate ship and slide. The facility includes a hot tub, sauna, steam room, new family change rooms, gym, 25 metre lap pool and a tot's pool. The Aquatic Centre, next to Nanaimo District Senior Secondary School and Vancouver Island University, has waterslides, wave pool, huge hot tub and Olympic sized tank complete with dive platforms in addition to a fully equipped fitness centre. The Aquatic Centre is a major destination for residents and visitors alike.
Tennis is a sport well looked after in Nanaimo. We have over 42 indoor and outdoor courts. The most popular places to play are courts in Bowen and Beban Parks. Courts are also available at several other parks including Maffeo-Sutton Park and the Westwood Tennis Club.
Ice skating is available at Cliff McNabb and Frank Crane at Beban Park and The Nanaimo Ice Centre across from The Nanaimo Aquatic Centre . Public skating sessions and adult scrub hockey are some of the ice programs open to the public. At Frank Crane you can catch the Nanaimo Clippers battling it out with other B.C. hockey teams.
Curling is located adjacent to Bowen Park at the Nanaimo Curling Club. Bonspiels occur throughout the winter and the public is welcome to attend.
Bowlers will find both five and ten pin facilities in Nanaimo. Lawn bowling enthusiasts can play their sport at Bowen and Beban Parks. There is a new outdoor, all-weather lawn bowling facility at Beban Park.
Interested in theatre, concerts or attending a large presentation? Nanaimo is home to a striking professionally equipped performing arts theatre. The Port Theatre is our 800 seat multi-purpose facility located across from our beautiful Inner Harbour. Over 250 events each year are planned for 'The Port'. TheatreOne occasionally uses the Port Theatre but mainly presents their productions at Malaspina University College. The Chemainus Theatre is only 40 minutes drive from The Buccaneer and puts on great dinner theatre performances.
The Vancouver Island Symphony uses The Port Theatre as their base of operations. They have a diverse selection of performances. Information about The Symphony is available at the Port Theatre Ticket Office @ 250-754-8550.
Christopher loved going to the BC Forest Discovery Centre in Duncan, about 30 minutes south of The Buccaneer. They have a real working steam engine and train. There are forest trails to hike on, a forestry museum, playground and picnic areas. This is a great place! They are open May to Labour Day from 10 to 6 daily. The train leaves every 30 minutes. Call 250-715-1113 for more information.
Thanks for visiting buccaneerinn.com and we hope we were able to help you plan your activities in Nanaimo and on Vancouver Island , find the right restaurants and show you why you should use Nanaimo as your base for touring all of Vancouver Island!
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