The discovery of coal thrust the community into prominence in the 1850s and coal mining along with forestry and fisheries drove development for 100 years. Nanaimo later emerged as the business and service centre for central Vancouver Island and has continued to expand and diversify. Now, Nanaimo is home to Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, one of only two tertiary hospitals on the Island, and the Pacific Biological Station which is part of a network of nine major scientific facilities operated by Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Nanaimo, though one of the oldest communities in British Columbia, is still in the process of becoming. There is room for you here in this still-to-be-defined space. While Vancouver is internationally known and Victoria, the BC Capital, has an iconic identity, Nanaimo is unfinished, full of contrasts, and undefined. Nanaimo is urban, rural, and suburban. It’s industrial and surrounded by natural beauty. It’s close to Vancouver, and yet far away. It’s unapologetically itself—informal, non-conforming, and unpretentious.

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