Are you thinking of moving to Vancouver Island? As someone who has lived on Vancouver Island pretty much my whole life I’m used to answering questions about what life is really like in Nanaimo and beyond. While everyone moves to Vancouver Island for different reasons I answer a lot of the same questions over and over again.
What is it like living in Nanaimo, British Columbia?
Nanaimo is a wonderful small city, located on central Vancouver island. Having been raised on Vancouver Island I love Nanaimo. Questions I often get asked are, will I like living here? Will the lifestyle suit me? And what can we do here?
Well, first of all, Nanaimo has many wonderful schools, including private schools, french immersion and english speaking public schools. We have Vancouver Island University which has grown exponentially over the years. For people who prioritize living close to a hospital, Nanaimo is where you want to be. We have great facilities, doctors and dentists and other specialists all located within Nanaimo.
How can I travel to the Island from the mainland and beyond?
If you’re relocating here to Nanaimo from a bigger urban area, particularly the mainland, one of the concerns I hear is will I still have access to my regular amenities that I’m used to? The answer is yes and no. What I love about Nanaimo is we have lots of ways to “get off the rock”, as the locals say.
Flying from Nanaimo to the mainland from our main airport is very straightforward. Nanaimo BC Airport (YCD) recently underwent a major renovation.
Harbour Air & Sea Air seaplanes
Taking a seaplane is only a 20 minute flight to downtown Nanaimo from Vancouver. You can take the seaplanes to downtown Vancouver and directly to YVR. This is one of the most convenient and fastest ways to get to Vancouver.
For more information on taking a helicopter, click here.
The ferries operate out of 2 ports in Nanaimo. One is in Departure Bay and travels into Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver. The other is from Duke Point and travels into Tswwassen, ( a great route if you’re heading to Washington State on a road trip).
The B.C. Ferries give us an option to drive your car on or you can walk on. If you’re walking on the Departure Bay ferry you can catch an express city bus to downtown Vancouver for about $2.50! My favourite part of any ferry ride is heading up the top deck to enjoy the gorgeous views of the ocean. Sometimes you can even see a pod of dolphins or whales!
How long will it take me to commute to the Mainland from Nanaimo?
YCD-YCR 30 min
Seaplane/Helicopter downtown Nanaimo - Downtown Vancouver 20 min
Seaplane/Helicopter downtown Nanaimo - YVR 20 min
B.C. Ferry from Departure Bay to Horseshoe Bay 1 hr 35 min
B.C. Ferry from Duke Point to Tswwassen 2 hr
Is island time a real thing?
I think what I love the most about Nanaimo is the lack of hustle culture. We work really hard but we live a great life. My friends and I are dedicated to our careers and yet we still have the ability to go on great hikes, go swimming, learn a new skill like paddle boarding, it’s just an amazing way to live. I have cultivated great friends who are also career minded and there are a variety of industries here, including a tech sector!
One thing I found interesting after moving back to Nanaimo after working and living downtown Vancouver for many years is, everything is slower and easier here in the best way possible. I can easily set out to run a few errands and I never have to worry about timing it with traffic or parking. The parking is almost always free and the parking spaces are even bigger than the ones downtown Vancouver!
Want to find a house on Vancouver Island? Let’s talk!
I’m Carly Carey, I’m a mid-island waterfront real estate agent and a lifelong resident here on Vancouver Island. I love helping people determine what is the best waterfront home and community for them. If you would
like help finding a waterfront home on mid-Vancouver Island please reach out.
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