Nanaimo, B.C.'s sixth largest city, is the
terminus for ferries to
Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver, to Gabriola Island, and to Newcastle Island.
If you need to take a ferry from Nanaimo, you'd be well advised to come
at least a day early so that you can sample some of the delights of this
vibrant town of a hundred thousand. All amenities await you, with a wide
choice of accommodation, restaurants, and shops. In addition, you can
enjoy the waterfront scene, perhaps take in a play at the luxurious Port
Theatre, or just enjoy a harbor front meal.
Three self-guided heritage walks leaving from one of Nanaimo's most
famous landmarks, the Bastion, are worthy of exploring: the Railway
Connection, the Coal Connection and Harbour Connection. You just have to
follow the colour coded footprints and read the historical plaques en
In the past few years, the waterfront of this booming town has been
transformed into a trendy and fun place to be. Stroll along the Harbour Side Walkway, a four kilometer walkway along the harbour and Newcastle
Island Passage, which passes storefront parks, businesses and marinas
with views of Nanaimo District Museum and Port Theatre, across Front
Carry on to the Bastion, a white, octagonal, three-story blockhouse open
to the public and containing historical relics. Read the historical
plaques as you wander, stop at an outside espresso bar and listen to the
buskers, tuck into a nautical shop, say hello to "Black Frank's" bronze
statue, and check out the boats in Nanaimo's boat basin.
This walk can wind up taking all day!
Try to find time, though, to also take the little ferry over to
Newcastle Island. This 336 hectare island is all parkland, beloved of
locals, boaters and tourists alike. It has a fun filled history dating
back to the early 20th century, when it was a popular resort
destination. The dance pavilion is now an interpretative centre, the
restaurant still dishes out mouth watering food, the docks and sports
fields are still enjoyed.
There is definitely a bygone air about this
place, combined with a happy feeling: nineteen kilometers of trails
wander around and across the island, beaches and fun places to explore
abound, swimming is popular, and camping is coveted. Boaters have known
about Newcastle Marine Park for a long time. It may be time you