The Nanaimo events calendar is full of fun and unique activities throughout the year. Experience art, heritage, culture, and the flavours of local cuisine while you’re in town. 

From our world-famous bathtub races in July, to tasting your way along the Nanaimo Bar Trail at any-time of year, attending the craft beer and music festival of Longwoodstock in September, or stepping into history at the museum or attending a variety of other exciting festivals – we invite you to discover what makes Nanaimo so unique. 


Annual & Ongoing Events

The Nanaimo Museum hosts a variety of events throughout the year that focuses on heritage and culture. From exhibit openings to historical tours and multicultural celebrations, they strive to offer visitors an educational and entertaining experience.


The Historical Bastion is open to visitors throughout the summer season and is managed by the Nanaimo Museum. As the city’s oldest structure and recognized as a heritage site, it is one of the most enduring and iconic symbols of Nanaimo. Throughout the summer, there are daily cannon firings that visitors can watch.


The Nanaimo Art Gallery features local Vancouver Island artists as well as Canadian artists. It’s located downtown Nanaimo on the traditional territory of the Snuneymuxw First Nation. The gallery has excellent exhibitions by professional contemporary artists and dynamic public programs that explore exhibition themes in the gallery and the community.


The Port Theatre is chock full of amazing shows throughout the year. Located on the waterfront in downtown Nanaimo, the theatre also hosts a rotating art exhibit by talented local professional and student artists to make your entertainment experience a visual treat.


Nanaimo Bar Trail is a self-guided tour through the streets of Nanaimo & Region! Stretching from Lantzville in the north to Cedar in the south and now including a stop on Gabriola Island, The Nanaimo Bar Trail takes you to experience the many deliciously creative interpretations of our famous treat.  

Commercial Street Night Market runs every Thursday for 13-weeks from June 4 to August 29, from 5-9 pm. The area is closed off to traffic so visitors can shop the vendor booths and purchase everything from food to crafts. Live entertainment will also be staged at several points downtown, along with bouncy castles and climbing walls for the little ones. 


The Great International World Championship Bathtub Race and Nanaimo Marine Festival has been welcoming visitors for more than 40-years, to take part in this now world-famous festival and race. At the core of the bathtub festivities, Maffeo Sutton Park & Sway-a-Lana Lagoon will play host to vendors, arts & crafts, and a Kiddies Karnival, July 24-26.


Red Bull Pump Track Championship Canadian Qualifier hosts this country’s best for a spot in the world qualifiers as Nanaimo hosts the Red Bull Pump Track World Championships. The Stevie Smith Bike Park will host the Canadian Qualifier in August (TBD) for the third year in a row.


Schedule of Special Events

January 18: Waltz & Polka, The Vancouver Island Symphony

January 25: Dungeons and Drag Things 

January 25-May 9: Refuge Canada: Feature Exhibition at the Nanaimo Museum

February 1: Party For The Ocean

February 22-24: Maple Sugar Festival 

March 6: Nanaimo Whisk(e)y Festival

March 23: Vancouver International Film Festival at Vancouver Island University

April 3-5: Vancouver Island Chamber Music Festival 

May 17: Nanaimo Heritage Festival 

May 30-31: Hammond Bay Studio Tour

June 4-August 29: Commercial Street Night Markets, every Thursday.

June 6: 5km Foam Festival

June 14: Nanaimo Pride Festival 

June 19-20: Preliminary Red Bull Pump Track Qualifier 

June 21: National Indigenous Persons Day celebrations at Maffeo Sutton Park 

TBD: Daily Cannon Firings at the historical Bastion

July 1-November 23: Grow Nanaimo at the Nanaimo Museum 

July 10-12: Dragon Boat Festival 

July 19: Silly Boat Regatta 

July 24-26: Marine Festival & World Championship Bathtub Race

August 7-15: Nanaimo Fringe Festival 

August 13-16: Nanaimo Summertime Blues Festival 

TBD: Redbull Pump Track Championship Canadian Qualifier

TBD: Longwoodstock Beer & Music Festival

October 10-12: Gabriola Thanksgiving Studio Tour 

November 19-22: Kris Kringle Craft Market 

TBD: Cedar Yellow Point Artisans Country Tour

December 5-6: Nanaimo Art Walk 

TBD: Vancouver Island Market


Many more events are happening throughout the year! Visit our Festivals and Events page to learn more.