As the heart of Vancouver Island, Nanaimo is home to a diverse collection of creative artists, musicians, actors, writers, and artisans. With a history of collaboration, an ecology of acceptance, and a community of creativity, Nanaimo is a natural environment where culture thrives.

The Snuneymuxw First Nation settled in what would eventually become Nanaimo, and played a big role in the region becoming known as one of the biggest sources of coal on the west coast of North America. The Snuneymuxw people are working with the community to create a just foundation for future generations of First People, demonstrating their strength, perseverance, and endurance.

“I look forward to meeting you on Saysutshun (Newcastle Island) and sharing the stories of my Snuneymuxw people. You will learn about the importance of a number of sacred places and will gain a deeper understanding of our people’s way of life on the island.”

— David Bodaly


Shopping in Nanaimo gives you the best of all worlds, from major big-name retailers to funky one-of-a-kind shops and boutiques. Nanaimo boasts more than a dozen indoor and outdoor malls, including the largest shopping centre on Vancouver Island.

It’s for good reason that Nanaimo has been named the Island’s “shopping mecca.” Many of the major brand name retailers you know and love are located along the old Island Highway 19A in one of the city’s many fine quality shopping centres including: Port Place Shopping Centre, Country Club Centre, Nanaimo North Town Centre, and Woodgrove Centre, the largest shopping centre on Vancouver Island.

Downtown Nanaimo features three distinct shopping districts: The Arts District in the city core, the Old City Quarter up the hill, and the Waterfront District along the Harbourfront Walkway, each offering distinctive shops and services.


Strong Nations
Suite 1 – 1970 Island Diesel Way
Nanaimo, BC, Canada, V9S 5W8


Diversity is embraced and encouraged in the Harbour City, enabling high calibre creativity for all. Canadian music icons Diana Krall, David Gogo, and Allison Crowe were all born in Nanaimo, and have earned respect globally for their contributions to the world of bluegrass and jazz.

From indoor to outdoor venues, Nanaimo offers live music and theatre performances that helped it earn the title Cultural Capital of Canada.

Art, HIstory, & Culture BUsinesses

Common Foundry
Kool & Child: Kool Toys & Teaching Tools!
Nanaimo Museum
Woodgrove Centre
Saysutshun (Newcastle) Island
Yellow Point Cranberries
My Undies
Cayo Fashions
Cedar Farmers’ Market
Vancouver Island Military Museum
Pure Spa
Tea Desire
The Jolda Gallery
North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre
Nanaimo Downtown Farmers Market
78 Wharf Street Gallery
Cultured Coast
Snip and Stitch
Newfoundland to Nanaimo
Stephen Cole Fine Art
Lobelia’s Lair Metaphysical Treasures
Island Roots Farmers’ Market
Nanaimo Art Gallery
The Port Theatre
The Shoppes at Gallery Row
Wildwood – Ecoforestry Institute Society
McLean’s Specialty Foods
Flying Fish
Vancouver Island Symphony
Gallery Merrick
Serge & Sew
Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park
Kiyo Salon & Day Spa
JoVic Pottery
Old City Quarter Association
Chemainus Theatre
Van Isle Soap Works
NYLA Fresh Thread
Newfoundland to Nanaimo Canadian Gift & Souvenir Store
Tracks Outdoor Adventures INC
Yonder Wood Country Store
Nanaimo Fringe Festival
The Bastion
Artzi Stuff
Fredrich’s Honey Farm & Shop
St. Jean’s Cannery & Smokehouse
Lohmann Gallery
Nanaimo North Town Centre
Kleijn Nurseries and Garden Centre