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Nanaimo
City
City of Nanaimo
Nanaimo
Nanaimo
Flag of Nanaimo
Flag
Coat of arms of Nanaimo
Coat of arms
Nickname(s): Hub City, The Harbour City
Country Canada
Province British Columbia
Regional District Nanaimo
Incorporated 1874
Area
 • City 91.30 km2 (35.25 sq mi)
 • Metro 1,280.84 km2 (494.54 sq mi)
Elevation 28 m (92 ft)
Population (2016)
 • City 90,504 (ranked 62nd)
 • Density 918.0/km2 (2,378/sq mi)
 • Urban 88,799
 • Metro 104,936 (ranked 35th)
 • Metro density 76.5/km2 (198/sq mi)
Time zone PST (UTC−8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC−7)
Postal code span V9R to V9V
Area code(s) +1-250
Website http://www.nanaimo.ca

Nanaimo /nəˈnm/ (Canada 2016 Census population 90,504) is a city on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. It is known as "The Harbour City." The City was previously known as the "Hub City" which has been attributed to its original layout design where the streets radiated out from the shoreline like the spokes of a wagon wheel as well as its generally centralized location on Vancouver Island. Nanaimo is also the headquarters of the Regional District of Nanaimo.

History

See also: List of Coal Mines and Landmarks in Nanaimo area

The Native people of the area that is now known as Nanaimo are the Snuneymuxw. A westernized spelling and pronunciation of that word gave the city its current name.

The first Europeans to find Nanaimo Bay were those of the 1791 Spanish voyage of Juan Carrasco, under the command of Francisco de Eliza. They gave it the name Bocas de Winthuysen.

Nanaimo began as a trading post in the early 19th century. In 1849 the Snuneymuxw chief Ki-et-sa-kun ("Coal Tyee") informed the Hudson's Bay Company of coal in the area. Exploration proved there was plenty of it in the area and Nanaimo became chiefly known for the export of coal. In 1853 the company built a Nanaimo Bastion, which has been preserved and is a popular tourist destination in the downtown area.

Nanaimo Indians, Vancouver Island, British Columbia. (On smaller backing than other photos.) - NARA - 297757
Indigenous Nanaimo people

Hudson's Bay Company employee Robert Dunsmuir helped establish coal mines in the Nanaimo harbour area and later mined in Nanaimo as one of the first independent miners. In 1869 Dunsmuir discovered coal several miles North of Nanaimo at Wellington, and subsequently created the company Dunsmuir and Diggle Ltd so he could acquire crown land and finance the startup of what became the Wellington Colliery. With the success of Dunsmuir and Diggle and the Wellington Colliery, Dunsmuir expanded his operations to include steam railways. Dunsmuir sold Wellington Coal through its Departure Bay docks, while competing Nanaimo coal was sold by the London-based Vancouver Coal Company through the Nanaimo docks.

The gassy qualities of the coal which made it valuable also made it dangerous. The 1887 Nanaimo Mine Explosion killed 150 miners and was described as the largest man-made explosion until the Halifax Explosion. Another 100 men died in another explosion the next year.

An Internment camp for Ukrainian detainees, many of them local, was set up at a Provincial jail in Nanaimo from September 1914 to September 1915.

In the 1940s, lumber supplanted coal as the main business although Minetown Days are still celebrated in the neighbouring community of Lantzville.

Chinatowns

Nanaimo has had a succession of four distinct Chinatowns. The first, founded during the gold rush years of the 1860s, was the third largest in British Columbia. In 1884, because of mounting racial tensions related to the Dunsmuir coal company's hiring of Chinese strikebreakers, the company helped move Chinatown to a location outside city limits. In 1908, when two Chinese entrepreneurs bought the site and tried to raise rents, in response, and with the help of 4,000 shareholders from across Canada, the community combined forces and bought the site for the third Chinatown at a new location, focused on Pine Street. That third Chinatown, by then mostly derelict, burned down on 30 September 1960. A fourth Chinatown, also called Lower Chinatown or "new town", boomed for a while in the 1920s on Machleary Street.

Location and geography

Namaimo aerial 4
Aerial photo of downtown and central Nanaimo and adjacent islands.

Located on Vancouver Island, Nanaimo is about 110 km northwest of Victoria, and 55 km west of Vancouver, separated by the Strait of Georgia, and linked to Vancouver via the Horseshoe Bay BC Ferries terminal in West Vancouver. As the site of the main ferry terminal, Nanaimo is the gateway to many other destinations both on the northern part of the island — Tofino, Comox Valley, Parksville, Campbell River, Port Alberni, Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park — and off its coast — Newcastle Island, Protection Island, Gabriola Island, Valdes Island, and many other of the Gulf Islands.

Buttertubs Marsh is a bird sanctuary located in the middle of the city. The marsh covers approximately 100 acres (40 hectares). Within this is the 46 acre (18.7 hectare) "Buttertubs Marsh Conservation Area", owned by the Nature Trust of British Columbia.

Climate

Like much of coastal British Columbia, Nanaimo experiences a temperate climate with mild, rainy winters and cool, dry summers. Due to its relatively dry summers, the Köppen climate classification places it at the northernmost limits of the Csb or cool-summer Mediterranean zone. Other climate classification systems, such as Trewartha, place it firmly in the Oceanic zone (Do).

Nanaimo is usually shielded from the Aleutian Low’s influence by the mountains of central Vancouver Island, so that summers are unusually dry for its latitude and location — though summer drying as a trend is found in the immediate lee of the coastal ranges as far north as Skagway, Alaska.

Heavy snowfall does occasionally occur during winter, with a record daily total of 0.74 metres (29.13 in) on 12 February 1975, but the mean maximum cover is only 0.2 metres (7.9 in).

The highest temperature ever recorded in Nanaimo was 40.6 °C (105 °F) on 16 July 1941. The coldest temperature ever recorded was −20.0 °C (−4 °F) on 30 December 1968.

Climate data for Nanaimo Airport, 1981–2010 normals, extremes 1892–present
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 15.6
(60.1)
18.3
(64.9)
21.7
(71.1)
27.0
(80.6)
34.3
(93.7)
34.5
(94.1)
40.6
(105.1)
36.7
(98.1)
33.2
(91.8)
29.3
(84.7)
19.4
(66.9)
18.2
(64.8)
40.6
(105.1)
Average high °C (°F) 6.9
(44.4)
8.5
(47.3)
11.0
(51.8)
14.1
(57.4)
17.7
(63.9)
20.8
(69.4)
23.9
(75)
24.3
(75.7)
20.9
(69.6)
14.6
(58.3)
9.3
(48.7)
6.3
(43.3)
14.8
(58.6)
Daily mean °C (°F) 3.5
(38.3)
4.3
(39.7)
6.3
(43.3)
9.0
(48.2)
12.5
(54.5)
15.6
(60.1)
18.1
(64.6)
18.2
(64.8)
14.9
(58.8)
9.9
(49.8)
5.6
(42.1)
3.1
(37.6)
10.1
(50.2)
Average low °C (°F) 0.1
(32.2)
0.0
(32)
1.7
(35.1)
3.9
(39)
7.2
(45)
10.3
(50.5)
12.3
(54.1)
12.1
(53.8)
8.9
(48)
5.2
(41.4)
1.8
(35.2)
−0.2
(31.6)
5.3
(41.5)
Record low °C (°F) −18.3
(-0.9)
−17.2
(1)
−12.2
(10)
−5.0
(23)
−4.4
(24.1)
0.6
(33.1)
2.8
(37)
3.3
(37.9)
−1.1
(30)
−6.7
(19.9)
−16.1
(3)
−20.0
(-4)
−20.0
(-4)
Precipitation mm (inches) 187.9
(7.398)
126.0
(4.961)
113.0
(4.449)
67.4
(2.654)
54.3
(2.138)
43.4
(1.709)
25.4
(1)
28.4
(1.118)
35.8
(1.409)
102.2
(4.024)
197.2
(7.764)
184.3
(7.256)
1,165.4
(45.882)
Rainfall mm (inches) 167.8
(6.606)
115.2
(4.535)
106.9
(4.209)
67.2
(2.646)
54.2
(2.134)
43.4
(1.709)
25.4
(1)
28.4
(1.118)
35.8
(1.409)
101.2
(3.984)
186.5
(7.343)
166.1
(6.539)
1,098.2
(43.236)
Snowfall cm (inches) 21.0
(8.27)
10.9
(4.29)
6.2
(2.44)
0.2
(0.08)
0.1
(0.04)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
1.2
(0.47)
10.7
(4.21)
18.4
(7.24)
68.7
(27.05)
Humidity 81.5 71.1 65.5 59.6 57.8 57.0 52.7 52.1 56.2 68.5 78.4 83.2 65.3
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm) 19.7 16.0 18.2 15.6 14.8 12.4 7.6 6.8 8.2 15.5 20.5 20.4 175.6
Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm) 18.0 14.9 17.8 15.6 14.8 12.4 7.6 6.8 8.2 15.4 19.8 18.8 170.0
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.2 cm) 3.1 2.3 1.0 0.0 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1 1.2 3.2 11.0
Sunshine hours 56.8 88.6 133.1 179.0 224.4 226.1 288.8 280.0 213.9 131.9 67.0 50.8 1,940.2
Source: Environment Canada

Transportation

Nanaimo is served by three airports: Nanaimo Airport (YCD) with services to Vancouver (YVR) and Calgary (YYC), Nanaimo Harbour Water Airport with services to Vancouver harbour and Vancouver Airport (YVR South Terminal), and Nanaimo/Long Lake Water Airport. Nanaimo also has three BC Ferry terminals located at Departure Bay, Duke Point, and downtown. The downtown terminal services Gabriola Island while Departure Bay and Duke Point service Horseshoe Bay and Tsawwassen respectively.

Highways 1, 19 and 19A traverse the city. Bus service in the city is provided by Nanaimo Regional Transit.

The Nanaimo Port Authority operates the inner Harbour Basin marina providing mooring for smaller vessels and the W. E. Mills Landing and Marina providing mooring for larger vessels. The Port Authority also operates two terminal facilities one at Assembly Wharf (near the downtown core) and the second at Duke Point for cargo operations. In 2011 the Authority completed the addition of a $22 Million Cruise Ship Terminal at Assembly Wharf capable of handling large cruise ships including providing Canada Border Services Agency clearance.

Demographics

The 2011 Canadian Census reported that Nanaimo had a population of 83,810, a 6.5% increase since 2006. The size of the city's land area is 91.30 km², making the population density 918.0 people per km². The average age of a Nanaimoite is 44.8 years old, higher than the national median at 40.6.

The average number of people occupying one dwelling in the city is 2.3 people. In Nanaimo, there are 38,800 private dwellings, 36,204 which are occupied by usual residents (93.3% occupancy rate). The median value of these dwellings are $348,460, which is a fair-bit higher than the national median at $280,552. The average (after-tax) household income in Nanaimo is $48,469, slightly lower than the national median at $54,089. The median individual income is $27,620, which is also a bit lower than the national median ($29,878). The unemployment rate was 9.2%.

The racial composition of Nanaimo is mostly made up of descendants of Europeans, however the Aboriginal population ratio is larger than the national ratio. The entire racial make up is:

More than half of Nanaimo's residents do not practice any religion (51.7%), considerably higher than the national ratio (23.9%). However, for those who do participate in religions, most are of a Christian faith (44.7%), but there are still sizable Sikh communities (1.1%) and Buddhist communities (0.6%).

Nanaimo's population is predominately Anglophone. According to the 2011 Census 88.6% of the population reported English only as mother tongue, 1.4% reported French only, and 9.1% reported only a non-official language.

Arts

The Nanaimo Art Gallery has two locations, and showcases works by many artists year round. The Port Theatre in downtown Nanaimo hosts many performers and shows during the year. Smaller, local theatre companies such as In Other Words Theatre [1], Western Edge Theatre [2] and Schmooze Productions [3] perform at the Nanaimo Centre Stage [4]. Nanaimo also began running a fringe theatre festival in 2011 [5].

A huge component of the underground music scene in Nanaimo is from the student body of Vancouver Island University. The Nanaimo Blues Society has organized and presented five highly successful, Summertime Blues! festivals. These outdoor Blues festivals have been held in downtown Nanaimo featuring local, provincial, national and internationally renowned Blues musicians.

The Nanaimo Concert Band, known as the oldest continuous community band in Canada, was established in 1872. They maintain a regular schedule of concerts and feature some of the best musicians in the area.


The Music Department at Vancouver Island University offers a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies. Faculty members include guitarist Pat Coleman, trumpeter Greg Bush, and bassist Ken Lister.


The Nanaimo Conservatory of Music, a non-profit, charitable organization has been offering classical music lessons and producing concerts since 1977.


Other prominent musicians in Nanaimo include classical trumpeter Paul Rathke and jazz composer and author Andrew Homzy.

Culture

The Nanaimo bar, which is a no-bake cookie bar with custard filling, is a Canadian dessert named after Nanaimo.

Nanaimo hosts the annual Nanaimo Marine Festival. Part of the festival includes the bathtub race. The race starts in the Nanaimo harbour downtown, goes around Entrance Island, north west to Winchelsea Islands by Nanoose Bay and finish in Departure Bay back in Nanaimo. Until the 1990s the race alternated between racing from Nanaimo to Vancouver and from Vancouver to Nanaimo.

Sister cities

Nanaimo has one sister city:

Coordinates: 49°09′51″N 123°56′11″W / 49.16417°N 123.93639°W / 49.16417; -123.93639

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