Start your historical day with a hearty breakfast! Choose from:
Kelly’s Kitchen – It’s not fancy but the breakfast is great, portions are a good size and service is fantastic.
Powerhouse – Your destination for fresh, healthy & delicious raw vegan food, prepared daily with love from local & organic ingredients.
Bocca Café – A cozy coffee shop with fresh baked goods daily, homemade soup and fresh bread. Many gluten free goodies available too – including a traditional Nanaimo Bar!
Nanaimo is deep rooted in history. “Choose your own adventure” with these self-guided activity options:
HBC Bastion – Mid May through mid September the 1853 Hudson Bay Company coal mining office,
arsenal and storehouse, one of B.C’s oldest buildings.
Heritage Walking Tour – Pick up a copy of “A Walk Through Time” Heritage Tour brochure to find all the heritage buildings, read about the history of each one and notice the architectural details. Some of the downtown historic stops would be:
Coal Tyee Bronze Bust – Near the waterfront you can see the former chief of Snuneymuxw First Nation Ki-et-sa-kun (Coal Tyee), who told the Hudson Bay Company about Nanaimo’s rich coal deposits.
Coal at Pioneer Square Park – The last piece of coal taken from White Rapids Mine in 1949 is on display downtown above the site of one of the city’s early mines.
Welsbach Gas lamp – Only one gas lamp still stands in town: where Church Street meets Front Street.
Hand-forged Anchor – At Pioneer Waterfront Plaza rests a massive anchor recovered from the Harbour.
Cannon Firing – Mid May – mid September watch the cannon firing at 12 noon in Pioneer Plaza (beside the HBC Bastion). A locals tip: call ahead and ask to fire the cannon yourself!
Any of these options are a great choice, all located near downtown and a short walk from the cannon firing.
Firehouse Grill – Enjoy casual dining in a high-end atmosphere. Located in the first fire hall in Nanaimo, this beautiful brick heritage building provides a beautiful backdrop for delicious food.
Minnoz Steak & Seafood – Located inside the Coast Bastion Hotel, Minnoz has beautiful views of the Harbour, a beautiful décor topped with great food!
Le Café Francais – For a truly French experience in downtown Nanaimo, visit Le Café Francais – ces’t magnifique!
Visit both of Nanaimo’s museums to see first-hand how history has shaped the city!
Nanaimo Museum – Not only does the museum have a fantastic gift shop you can walk through a replica coal mine, see Snuneymuwx First Nation exibits and sit on a Nanaimo Bar Bench while reading the first published Nanaimo Bar recipe.
Vancouver Island Military Museum – Browse through exhibits showcasing Canada’s proud Military history and traditions.
Now for something ethnic! Try one of these popular places for dinner:
Kasira Fine Thai Cuisine – A local favourite, this place is always packed! The options are endless and the food is soooo worth waiting for a table.
Nori Japanese Restaurant – Priding themselves on quality and freshness, their food is presented exquisitely and the taste is amazing.
Zougla Restaurant – A traditional Mediterranean grill, the food is consistently good and service is top notch.
Shack Island – in Pipers Lagoon Park, Shack Island has a small group of brightly painted cedar-shingle weekend cabins that were built in the 1930’s. At low tide you can walk over, otherwise you can kayak along the beach to view them up close.
Start the day off with some home cookin’.
Tania’s Restaurant – Nanaimo’s longest serving independent breakfast restaurant… and so good, too!
Morden Mine – See the most complete above-ground remains of a historic coal mine on Vancouver Island. The still standing 74 foot head frame and adjacent tipple of what was once Morden Colliery are located in Morden Colliery Historic Provincial Park.
Petroglyph Park – it’s just a short walk from the parking lot to the high concentration of prehistoric rock carvings. Get a glimpse back to a time more than 1,000 years ago when First Nation peoples created these traditional carvings.
LUNCH & BONUS ACTIVITY!
Enjoy homemade food and get your Tea leaves read by a professional tea leaf reader at the Calico Cat Tea House. This home, originally built in 1920 has an exquisite charm, with stained glass windows and fireplace.
Newcastle Island – Traditionally known as Saysutshun by the Snuneymuwx people, this marine provincial park in Nanaimo’s Harbour is a breathtaking place. Spend an afternoon exploring beaches, hiking trails and nature only a 10 min ferry ride from downtown. You’ll see remnants of the past, from First Nations villages to 1800’s coal mines, an early 1900’s Japanese herring saltery and huge sandstone quarries. There are no cars on the island, which adds to the back-in-time feel of this special place.
Immerse yourself in some amazing worldly food tonight. Choose from these 3 local favourites:
Gateway to India – This is a classic case of “don’t judge a book by its cover” as at first glance the entrance to this building seems rather plain. Inside you’ll find exotic and flavourful dishes for an incredible dining experience.
Milanos – A unique restaurant that reflects tastes and culture of Greece and Italy. Its award winning food and friendly atmosphere will not disappoint.
Kim’s Korean BBQ House – This small house along Bowen road offers authentic Korean food ranging from soups to BBQ.
Departure Bay First Nations Portal – The massive wooden structure near the beach marks the site of the burial ground and winter village where the Snuneymuxw First Nation lived until the mid-1800’s.
Have you visited Nanaimo and region recently?
We’d love for you to tell us about your experience. Kindly share your details below, and we’ll send you a short visitor experience survey. Fill it out, and you will be entered to win. Good luck!