Communities of Vancouver Island
Nanaimo, 68 miles / 110 km north of Victoria, is British Columbia's third-oldest city and is best known for its meandering walking tours of 19th century buildings and delightful waterfront vistas. Historic landmarks such as the Nanaimo Bastion, a former Hudson's Bay fort dating back to 1853, the Miner's Cottage (1897) and the 1898 elegantly steepled St. Andrews Church, are dotted throughout the city. Summer evenings are commemorated in traditional BC style on the Bastion grounds, replete with Scottish bagpipes and a ceremonial cannon firing.
walking tour of Nanaimo is generally not complete without a stop at the Scotch Bakery, home of the world-famous Nanaimo Bar confection. There are also numerous restaurants, tea shops and coffee bars to sample in the Old City Quarter, where antique stores and gift shops provide a reflective glimpse into Nanaimo's early history.
These days, Nanaimo's notoriety as the bathtub racing capital of the world gains almost as much attention as the city's historic roots. Started in 1967, the Loyal Nanaimo Bathtub Society's wacky races lay proof to the claim that with enough ingenuity, one can make just about anything float. Scheduled in July, the races are still considered one of BC's more popular festival events.
Nanaimo's rich Native history as an ancient meeting place for five separate First Nations communities can be appreciated at Petroglyph Provincial Park, on the south end of the city. The rock carvings date back more than 1,000 years and can be viewed throughout the park.
Recreation is year-round. Vancouver Island is famous for whale watching, birding and kayaking opportunities. Numerous cruises depart from the Nanaimo area throughout the summer. Winter recreation at Vancouver Island's Mt. Washington includes 1,200 acres of alpine skiing and snowboarding and 35 miles of Nordic skiing trails.
Best selection of books on the Northwest.
British Columbia Handbook: Including Vancouver, Victoria, and the Canadian Rockies by Jane King, Andrew Hempstead May 2000, Paperback, 5th edition, 430 pages, (non-fiction) Covering recreation, accommodations, food, transportation, and sights for all regions in British Columbia. Order now...
Frommer's British Columbia & the Canadian Rockies by Bill McRae, Shawn Blore. June 2000, Paperback, 3rd edition, 432 pages, (guidebook). Readers can take their pick of sunny coastal resorts, misty islands, lush temperate rain forest, rugged mountains with world-class ski slopes, alpine meadows, verdant wine country or the neighboring Banff and Jasper national parks. Order now...
Kayaking Vancouver Island: Great Trips from Port Hardy to Victoria by Gary Backlund, Paul Grey. Paperback - April 1, 2003. Using a guidebook format with journal-like entries from their own travels, the authors cover detail on launch sites, lunch sites, currents, tides, local mythology, folklore and history, local conditions, charts, marine weather and coastal regulations.
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