Nanaimo

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The stretch of uneven coastline that has now become an economic centre of retail, tourism, and a lively arts culture was first occupied by the Coast Salish people, also known as the Snuneymuxw, from which the city’s name, “Nanaimo” is derived. Nanaimo first began as a company coal mining town owned by the Hudson’s Bay Company. In the 1940’s, as the industrial demand for coal decreased, the main economy of the town shifted to lumber.

Real Estate Statistics

Total Listings: 477
Average Price: $656,623
Highest Listing Price: $6,588,800
Lowest Listing Price: $54,900

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Sprawled on the eastern coast of Vancouver Island, with the Salish Sea on three fronts and Mt. Benson rising at its back, the harbour city of Nanaimo is both a place of abundant natural beauty, with its numerous parklands and beaches, and a bustling urban hub of activity. Ferry services connect Nanaimo to mainland Vancouver as well as to nearby Newcastle Island (Saysutshun) Provincial Park, Protection Island, and Gabriola Island. Nanaimo also serves as the main access point to the northern parts of Vancouver Island.
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Due to the natural amphitheatre-like hillslopes of the land, most homes in Nanaimo boast spectacular landscape or waterfront views, even the ones further away from the harbour itself. This feature lends to an abundance of prime real estate properties in Nanaimo that has the best of both worlds: the serenity of nature and urban amenities. The radial layout of the roads in downtown Nanaimo is also one of the city’s key features. The streets fan out from the harbour, following the natural shape of the land and easily connecting all roads to and from the heart of the city: the harbour.

Architectural remnants of the city’s coal mining heritage and British colonial culture still currently dot the landscape, especially in the Old City Quarter of the downtown area. Homes began in Nanaimo (then called Colviletown) as rough, temporary log cabins meant to house the coal mine workers. The company town became a true settlement at the arrival of 24 of the miners’ families. To house these families, timber duplex cottages were built in a row along Front Street, close to the harbour. Later, five acre real estate properties were offered to mine workers by the company on a rent-to-own basis. A few of the original farms still exist today in Nanaimo’s Harewood neighbourhood.

 

Nanaimo Trivia:

Nanaimo’s most prominent landmark is the Bastion; an octagonal shaped fortification built in 1852 by two French Canadian loggers. The Bastion had been used as a jail, a store, a clubhouse, and a museum. Today it serves as a heritage interpretative centre. The multi-layered confection, the Nanaimo Bar, originates from this city. Although the true story of it’s origin has dissolved into various legends, the city celebrates its most famous chocolate dessert with a 34-stop Nanaimo Bar Trail that leads the explorer to all the different incarnations of the Nanaimo Bar, from a traditional brownie-shaped bar, to a milkshake, a martini, and a pedicure, among others.

Nanaimo is also known for its annual Bathtub races, involving a bathtub boat which now draws racers from all over the world. The first Bathtub race took place in 1967, with the full support of the mayor, Frank Ney, also known as “Pirate Frank” for his habit of attending civic events dressed as a pirate.


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