Stretched along the central east coast of Vancouver Island, appearing like arms reached out to welcome visitors, is the city of Nanaimo, the heartbeat of the Island. Here, we set the pace of “Island time” with ferry horns, sealion barks and the quiet roar of float planes passing above. Filled with a colorful past of intriguing characters and roots that run as deep as blackened coal, where the historic Bastion still proudly stands on guard firing its cannons daily throughout the summer. Where one can island-hop to enchanting beaches, to find waters warmed by sandstone and where mystical albino raccoons appear to find supper.

Immerse yourself in a lush, green forest where a waterfall with fossils embedded in the creek sparkles as the thundering falls create a mist of magic you can’t take your eyes off of. Experience a wave like rock formation chiseled by years of tide changes to create a piece of art you can walk along.

If you slow down and look up, the mighty Mount Benson watches over us sending an invitation to challenge your limits with a climb to reward yourself with the 360 degree views of what else can be explored. Nanaimo - a region that for so long has kept its beauty hidden, only those who chose to dig deeper would find the natural wonders that exist with a closer look. Come #ExploreNanaimo with us.

Part of the charm of visiting Nanaimo is getting there! The most direct route to Nanaimo from the USA is to take your car on the Coho ferry from Port Angeles, Washington to downtown Victoria, British Columbia. Then drive 1.5 hours along the beautiful eastern coast of the Island to reach downtown Nanaimo.